Building envelope consultants provide the expertise and creative solutions to create sustainable building enclosures for new construction and retrofit. Building envelope engineers apply structural engineering, materials science, physics, construction, and architecture principles to solve building envelope problems.
Building envelope consultants also help remediate issues within the envelope, (e.g. water or air leakage problems). The consultant determines the need for repair, obtains bids, oversees the repairs, and provides construction management services.
A poorly designed or maintained building envelope can quickly lead to water and air leaks, increased energy use, diminished occupant comfort, and can cause structurally damaging and unhealthy mold.
Call a Sto building envelope expert today at (800) 221-2397 to assist or answer any of your questions on constructing a high-quality tight building envelope for commercial and residential buildings.
What is the Building Envelope?
Simply put, the building envelope should keep the weather out and the interior climate inside by balancing internal (safety, security, and tasks) and external environmental forces (rain, snow, wind, and sun). The building envelope includes all of the following:
1. Above-grade exterior walls: structural and nonstructural
2. Below-grade walls
3. Fenestration: windows, doors, and metal/glass curtain walls
Building Envelope’s Functions
The complex design of a high-performing building envelope must balance the following functions cost-efficiently in order to ensure the project’s financial success:
- Weather Protection: Water, air, condensation-resistant
- Energy Efficiency: Resist thermal transfer through convection, conduction, and radiation
- Fire Resistance: Should resist smoke, flames, and heat
- Durability: Provide functional and aesthetic characteristics for a long time
- Constructability: Provide adequate alignments, clearances, and sequencing to integrate numerous components during construction with available labor and materials
- Structural: Building envelope must support its weight and transfer lateral loads to the building frame
- Movement: Accommodate differential movement (caused by structural movement and moisture, seasonal or daily temperature variations)
- Sound: Reduce sound transmission
- Maintainability: Allow access to components for straightforward maintenance, restoration, and replacement
- Security: Protect occupants from outside threats
- Aesthetics: Achieve all functions and look attractive
Six Reasons to Hire a Building Envelope Consultant
The building envelope represents 20 to 25 percent of the total building cost, higher if specific design criteria include storm or blast resistance features. Hiring a building envelope consultant will ensure the success of this significant portion of the building.
A building envelope consultant engineer will evaluate both the short and long-term costs to simultaneously achieve design, budget, and performance targets for any construction project without prioritizing budget over quality.
1. Review Construction Plans
Building envelope consultants collaborate with architects, contractors, and building owners to review and share the building plans in order to maximize the building’s performance. They will provide information to help you select the best materials and methods to ensure a tight building envelope that can protect and withstand the structure from the environment’s exterior elements.
2. Ensure a Continuous Building Envelope
The building envelope accounts for about 30 percent of the energy consumed in commercial and residential buildings. Hiring a building envelope consultant can ensure that your design effectively integrates continuous air, water, vapor, and thermal barriers throughout the entire building envelope, to provide a dry and comfortable thermal indoor environment.
Furthermore, a consultant can offer clients cost-effective solutions to integrating continuous air, water, and thermal barriers that will save money in the long term on operational, maintenance, and repair costs.
3. Test and Assess Envelope Performance
The building envelope consultant will inspect and test the building envelope’s performance construction and identify potential problems. The assessments will determine the need to repair or remediate the envelope and offer reasonable assurance against problems and pitfalls before, during, and after construction.
4. Minimize Litigation
Deficiencies in a building envelope represent more than 50 percent of construction litigation. Building envelope consultants can minimize this risk by implementing quality waterproofing methods and materials into a building envelope design.
5. Independent Representation
Independent, third-party building envelope consultants work for the building owner, not the contractor or manufacturer, to ensure proper installation of all building envelope systems in accordance with design documents, code requirements, manufacturer specifications, and industry standards.
6. Protecting a Building’s Integrity
A building envelope consultant can help sustain the building’s integrity through periodic assessments, to ensure early detection of envelope problems to avoid severe damage before a minor issue escalates to larger, catastrophic issues.
Why Hire a Building Envelope Consultant?
Building envelope consultants can make the difference between a drafty and leaky structure and a dry, energy-efficient, and comfortable building. In addition, a building envelope consultant has the engineering expertise to understand the latest advancements in building envelope technologies and help you avoid costly repairs or damage in the future.
Contact Sto today at 1 (800) 221-2397 for more on the benefits of hiring a building envelope consultant.