Designing building enclosures

February 27, 2011
Publication: Consulting-Specifying Engineer
Author(s): Totten, Paul E. Pazera, Marcin

Also published in Plant Engineering, Jan/Feb 2011|Abstract: Modern building enclosures separate occupied space from the outdoor environment through a complex integration of various building systems and components. The building enclosure functions, in part, to control bulk water infiltration, vapor diffusion, air flow, and heat transfer. With various climate and project-specific considerations that need to be addressed from schematic design through construction, designing and delivering a reliable and durable building enclosure can become a very challenging endeavor.|The authors discuss two case studies; the first, a newly constructed building that required remedial work on the building enclosure fairly soon after construction, and the second, a rehabilitation project that had challenges of retrofitting new windows into an existing historic mass masonry wall. The case studies highlight how insufficient considerations of both liquid and vapor moisture and thermal control short circuits through the building enclosure led to condensing windows and water intrusion to the building interior.