Building envelope testing is the process of testing the physical separator between the interior and exterior of a building to determine if there are any air, water, or thermal leaks within the structure. The building envelope consists of all parts of the outer exterior that keep the building environment dry, heated, or cooled for climate control.
BUILDING ENVELOPE LEAKS & CONTAMINATION
Many different intrusions can result from an improperly built or maintained building envelope, such as air intrusion, water intrusion, and thermal intrusion. Many of these building code problems can be addressed by adhering to the standards established by the NIBS, the ASTM and the AAMA. Building envelope testing must also comply with standards for the LEED Green Building Rating System, which is a globally recognized symbol of upholding green building efficiency standards. The following testing practices are paramount to the testing of a building envelope.
- Moisture and Water Analysis
- Moisture control is imperative to maintaining a building’s structural integrity, as well as quality health and safety standards; therefore, waterproofing is necessary to prevent water damage to a building’s foundation.
- Temperature Testing
- Chemical, biological, and radiological safety (CBR) is essential for buildings because cracks and gaps in the building envelope can affect the overall health and safety of everyone inside the structure. Excessive temperatures, whether hot or cold, can result in problems such as excessive moisture, mold growth, excessive air infiltration, condensation, and water leakage. Inefficient heating and cooling can also result from faults within a building envelope.
- Building Forensics
- Building forensics techniques discover damage to a structure and determine possible causes using scientific processes. These tests investigate the materials, products, compounds, and structures that either fail or do not operate as intended.
The Ideal Building Envelope Testing Tool
Thermal imaging cameras, or infrared cameras, are used to inspect facilities and their components, including electrical panels and piping. A thermal camera will help identify moisture, leaks and other thermally-identifiable issues via a real-time infrared video feed, which is analyzed later to determine a facility’s structural weaknesses and assess safety hazards or code violations.