Investigating Large Scale Building Envelope Leakage: Ten Practical Tips for Litigation Projects

November 29, 2012
Publication: Forensic Engineering 2012: Gateway to a Safer Tomorrow - Proceedings of the Sixth Congress on Forensic Engineering, Oct 31 - Nov 3, 2012, ASCE

Abstract: One of the most common complaints about buildings is water leakage through the building envelope. A well-planned investigation can efficiently uncover the root causes of water leaks, a critical step in designing effective repairs. Investigations for litigation often involve special protocols and coordination with more parties than for non-litigation situations. A successful investigation begins with a clear problem definition and a clear understanding of what the ultimate deliverable will be. Reviewing available documents, having a sound basis for testing, and understanding the requirements specific to the project will help the investigation run smoothly. Communication protocols will keep all parties informed of the planned testing activities. Understanding the ultimate deliverable will ensure that sufficient data is collected during investigation. For large scale investigations, coordinating efforts among a team of engineers is necessary to maintain consistency in documentation, which will translate easily into a report afterward. Clear reporting includes providing all information upon which conclusions rely, separating facts from opinions, and illustrating quantitative information graphically where appropriate.