Feature Article

Verifying Performance with Building Enclosure Commissioning

For a lot less than the cost of a lawsuit, BECx uses collaboration, design-to-occupancy reviews, and testing to ensure quality and high performance.

This field test (AAMA 501.2) of a storefront assembly uses pressurized water and a special hose nozzle to detect water leakage in already-installed components. It’s just one of many such tests that may be performed on mockups or installed assemblies as part of building enclosure commissioning.

Photo: Pie Consulting Engineering
It’s mist! It’s smoke! It’s a low-lying cloud!

In fact, the eerie fog pouring from under the soffits of a newly built elementary school on a U.S. military base was just the disappointing result of an air-barrier test. Although the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has required performance testing of air barriers in all its construction contracts since 2007, the final results are not always satisfactory. And with this particular school building, the stage was not set for success, explained Matthew Heron, P.E., department manager of Pie Consulting & Engineering’s building science group. That’s why consultants like Pie are increasingly offering—and owners like USACE and many contractors and architecture firms are increasingly seeking out—building enclosure commissioning, or BECx.

Published November 29, 2012 Permalink