Projects need a building envelope consultant because the envelope is the most essential part of a building’s structure. A properly designed envelope ensures that the interior of the building is completely protected from exterior elements such as air and water. Without a proper envelope, the building has a greater chance of being energy inefficient because of air leaking inside or to be damaged by water intrusion.
It is tempting to cut corners and not hire a building envelope consultant if you are only thinking of your short-term costs. But in the long run, skipping on this essential service can cost you much more than you would have spent on hiring a professional to help get the job done right.
Water intrusion is one of the most common and destructive issues for the structural integrity of a building. Having a qualified consultant to ensure that the building envelope is to the proper standards can prevent these largely damaging issues at several stages of the construction process. In order to best understand what a building envelope consultant can do for you, it is helpful to break down the components of the building envelope to better see all the ways in which the outside elements can seep in and ruin the interior of your building.
All modern, attractive buildings have several of these attributes and all of them provide a potential danger to the integrity and air quality of the building if not installed properly. The building’s envelope includes: exterior glass walls, such as the kind you see in storefronts; all windows and doors; roofs, including other features like skylights; balconies, such as the kind you see in hotels and apartment buildings; and the foundation including basements. At different degrees, all of these can create a potential nightmare down the road if they are not installed properly. Imagine the basement of a high rise condo flooding in the springtime. That’s a threat that can permanently damage the structural integrity of the building if not corrected in a timely fashion.
They work directly with the owners of the building, the developers and designers, and the builders and construction workers to ensure that the building envelope system is solid and not in danger of allowing external air or moisture to seep into the building. If you have an existing structure with air leak or moisture issues, an envelope consultant can help you re-design some of the components in order to seal the problem areas. They can help oversee the completion of these replacements.
More specifically, building envelope consultants offer design assistance when the project is still in the hands of architects, developers and general contractors. They can help develop the important components of the building envelope to ensure long term security. They can also help review existing plans and proposals in order to identify any components that may be problematic and recommend appropriate solutions. Prior to installation, the consultant inspects and tests construction materials for quality. If a project is further along, the building envelope consultant can work on identifying envelope problems, develop plans for repairs and oversee the completion of those repairs. They can also act as construction management in order to make sure that the work is being carried out in a way that ensures a high performance envelope. During the construction phase, the facade consultant oversees the installation of envelope systems, including windows and doors, to ensure that they are faithfully following design and code requirements.
In the long run, investing in a building envelope consultant can save you a lot of money. With their expertise, they can be a great asset to building owners and construction companies alike, ensuring that the building is energy-efficient and safe from the damaging elements of the outdoors.