Investigation of large-scale building envelope leakage

February 27, 2013
Publication: Proceedings of the ICE - Forensic Engineering, Volume 166, Issue 1

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. Defining the problem and understanding the ultimate deliverable are necessary to performing an effective investigation. Keeping the owner and occupants informed throughout the process is important during investigations that can take weeks or months, depending on the extent of problems and number of buildings involved. In litigation situations, coordination with other parties is also required. Visual surveys are an important first step in establishing locations for detailed testing. Water penetration testing, in accordance with industry standards, is a useful tool in diagnosing causes of leaks. Investigative openings show as-built construction, condition of building components and leakage paths. Synthesising and reporting the data from a large-scale investigation can involve spreadsheets, graphical displays on building drawings and sketches showing precise leak paths.