We solve building envelope problems. That is the core of our service and we stay focused on that goal. We want to make our clients’ lives easier by checking building envelope problems off the list of things to worry about.
Gotta love waterfront job sites.
Brookline Condo Trustees and Property Managers: Did you know that Brookline requires routine facade inspections for masonry buildings over 2 stories?
The Town of Brookline, Massachusetts Building Department requires periodic inspections for multi-family residential buildings in the town. The inspections are required every 5 years, and it is the …
In this post I share some lessons learned over years of working on building envelope projects with condominium associations. Check my story for the tips. #buildingenvelope #condominium #condominiums #buildingmaintenance
A few building science fundamentals can go a long way toward making better buildings. Thanks to the @bsaaia and @atelieretalia for hosting me yesterday to spread the word and speak to the Small Practices Network. Had a great time! Photo credit to @atelieretalia 🙏
Ponding water was a problem on this #roof so we lowered the drain bowl and used an extra large sump to help coax the water into the drain. #roofing #buildingenvelope #singleplyroofing #buildingscience101 #buildingenclosure #roofrepair #roofrepairs #flatroofrepair
Take a look at the difference in the limestone sills on the left and right side of this photo. Left is new and right is after almost 70 years of oceanfront exposure. Swipe left to see a closeup of the one on the right. Similar 70 year old limestone on the opposite side of the building (not facing the ocean) looks great. The direct exposure to salt-laden sea mist has caused this erosion of the limestone. #buildingenvelope #buildingscience #limestone #masonry #stonemasonry #stonemason #preservation #historicpreservation
Coming to @abxboston next week? Love making buildings work better? Come check out the Wagdy Anis Symposium for 2 full days of super building science content. #abx19 #buildingscience #buildingenvelope #bostonevents #buildingenclosure
I love how this detail specifically calls out the *functions* of the air and water control layers. This helps the installer understand the intent and install the entire system in a way that achieves the end performance goals. #airbarrier #waterbarrier #buildingscience #architecturaldetails #architecturaldetail #architectdesign #buildingenvelope #buildingenvelopesystems #builditbetter
I just can’t with this roof today
🤦♂️ Seriously though, I see vents and other obstructions (1) blocking drainage and (2) creating higher-risk details at the area of highest water concentration on the roof all the time. In re-roofs this is obviously challenging to deal with (i.e. costs more) so all you folks out there starting from scratch please try to avoid this situation :) Slope to drain and free unobstructed pathway to drain will make up for a lot of other ills. #roofing #hvac #hvaclife #roofinglife #roofingdetails #architectdesign #roofdesign #architectureschool #architecturedetails #architecturedetail #buildingenvelope #buildingenvelopesystems #buildingenclosure #buildingscience
Mechanically attached air and water barrier membranes with taped seams can work great, and often hit the appropriate cost threshold for a project. They can also be installed in a wide range of weather conditions. Careful inspection of the seams is key, though, as gaps in those taped joints can be sources of water or air leakage. Gaps are usually not obvious from a quick review at more than arms-length distance. Get up close and look carefully. #buildingenvelope #buildingenclosure #buildingscience #builditright #builditbetter #builtright #airbarrier #exteriorwalls #residentialarchitecture #residentialconstruction
Wind uplift forces in action on this formerly-adhered EPDM roof membrane. Notice this is at the edge of the roof - wind forces are higher here than in the field (during design keep in mind special requirements for things like insulation fasteners and edge metal attachment). Most of the field of this roof remains adhered and is not fluttering. The roof membrane and seams are deteriorated with a history of leaks, so water infiltration may also be contributing to adhesive degradation here. #rooftop #roofing #epdmroof #buildingscience #buildingenvelope #buildingenclosure #betterbuildings #architecturaldetail #architecturestudent #architecturestudents #architecturedetail #architecturedetails #technicalarchitect #builditright #builditbetter
This black stuff is an air and water barrier membrane that is made to be stable in ultraviolet light (i.e. sunlight ☀️).
That’s important because most membranes and house wraps are sensitive to UV and will degrade over time if they’re left exposed.
This isn’t just an issue for the construction phase. A lot of finished cladding assemblies, intentionally or unintentionally, leave portions of the underlying materials exposed to sunlight.
Being aware of this potential vulnerability allows us to choose appropriate materials to mitigate the risk when needed.
#airbarrier #buildingscience #buildingmaterials #constructionmaterials #buildbetter #betterbuildings #housewrap #buildingenvelope
Got this question today, related to the Perm-A-Barrier self-adhering membrane in this window sill flashing sketch: “Does AVB = air vapor barrier? What does that entail in this context?”
Yes, AVB = air vapor barrier. Think of those terms ('air barrier', 'vapor barrier') as functions, in other words, the material controls the flow of both AIR and WATER VAPOR. It also controls LIQUID WATER, which is not explicit in "AVB" but I haven’t yet seen an AVB that doesn’t also control liquid water.
In building science we're usually trying to control one or more of: liquid water, air, heat, and water vapor. Usually in that order of importance. We use a variety of materials to do this. Sometimes you use different materials for each function, sometimes one material does double/triple/quad duty.
In this case, the Perm-A-Barrier is intended as a liquid water control layer. The fact that it's also impermeable to air and water vapor is important to know, but those functions are not needed in this case. You can sometimes get into trouble by controlling these things in the wrong location, but in this case it's OK. We can talk more about why sometime.
In the section, the green line is the Perm-A-Barrier. It's a backup liquid water barrier to the stainless steel pan flashing just above it (if water gets thru the stainless steel, the P-A-B will stop it and direct it out of the wall). In this situation we're worried about liquid water that gets into the wall from above (say through joints between pieces of limestone).
CopelandBEC Principal Matthew Copeland will be presenting all day on November 6 at the Wagdy Anis Symposium at ABX Boston.
We’re really honored to be part of this special tribute to one of the icons of our industry!
Wagdy Anis Symposium includes access to four Wednesday workshops (WWA, WWB, WWC, WWD) in the Wagdy Anis track, the Expo Hall, the Welcome Party, the Learning Zone, and the Educational Lounges.
Protip: Don't buy "replacement" windows.
If you need new windows, ask your contractor for "new construction" windows.
Yes, it will cost more. That's because "replacement" windows don't actually replace your existing window. They get installed inside of it. The old, often failed, window frame is still there (still leaking if it did before). "New construction" windows are actually... wait for it... new windows.
This is especially important advice for condo owners (at least here in MA where unit owners own their windows). Here's why...
Your association may decide to replace the siding at some point. When that happens it's going to be really difficult to re-use your new "replacement" windows that you just paid for.
There's a good chance you'll be encouraged/required to pony up for new windows all over again, and throw your "replacement" windows into the dumpster.
Building science cartoons! Heading up camping this weekend and got thinking about how building science principles apply. Plus I see my kids drawing all the time and wanted to get in on the fun. 🏕🎨
The tent is the “building”. It has air (tent body) and water (rainfly) control layers. The rainfly is often vapor impermeable, or at least less permeable than the tent body. There’s really no heat control at the tent. There’s often a vented panel in the tent body that allows more airflow than the main body fabric.
The occupants are the source of heat and moisture. Bathing, cooking (often sources of moisture in a real building) all usually done outside the tent. No mechanical heating or cooling.
All thermal control is at the individual person level... clothing, sleeping bag etc.
Ever see water droplets on the bottom of the rainfly? It’s moisture from the air inside the tent (generated by the occupants), transported mostly by air leakage, condensing on the relatively impermeable/cool fabric.
... I am quite sure my kids are better artists though... maybe I’ll have them draw the next one.
Corroded steel expands. A lot. This formerly 5/16” thick angle is now 5/8”+ and has pushed the stone lintel out, taking surrounding brick with it. Protect steel embedded in masonry (this is a place where it will get wet) with flashing AND use corrosion-resistant steel (hot dip galvanized, perhaps even stainless in certain circumstances).
An important new industry reference recently released by AAMA https://www.usglassmag.com/2019/08/aama-releases-new-curtainwall-manual/ #curtainwall #buildingenvelope
The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) has developed a new manual providing guidelines for the design of curtainwalls. Publication of AAMA CWM-19, the “Curtain Wall Manual,” marks the culmination of efforts by volunteers from AAMA Curtain Wall/Storefront Council member compa...
Repair shingle blow-offs right away. Especially in high wind coastal areas this type of damage happens pretty frequently, even with properly installed roofing. Avoid costly leaks and damage to roof components below by repairing the shingle damage promptly.
#roofing #roofingrepair #asphaltroofing #buildingenvelope #buildingenvelopesystems #oceanfrontproperty #propertymaintenance #thatview #thatviewtho #buildingmaintenance #facilitiesmanagement #facilities #facilitiesmaintenance
We're condo experts.
Is your condominium association looking for a building envelope consultant? We are condominium building envelope experts.
Nail the basics.
People in our industry get really excited about super high performance, passive house, net-zero and other great ideas.
The fact is that we can make a much bigger difference right now by nailing the basics. We see basketball-sized holes in air or water barriers (or no barrier at all), backwards lapped flashing (or no flashing at all) and other fundamental goof ups all the time.
These things are easy to teach, easy to implement and cheap. Let's nail the basics.
"Your help was invaluable." -CopelandBEC client
Copeland Building Envelope Consulting is an engineering consulting firm specializing in the building envelope. But we're more than engineers and specialists. We're here to make your life easier.
First - what's a building envelope? Basically, it keeps the inside in and the outside out. Here's more: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/whats-building-envelope-engineer-matthew-copeland-p-e-/
We solve all kinds of building envelope problems for our clients. But lots of people are pretty good building scientists, though. What sets us apart?
"Your direct, honest and low-key non-confrontational approach was a breath of fresh air." -CopelandBEC client
We'll help you understand what's causing your building envelope problem and what to do about it. We'll use normal human words and explain things in a way that makes sense.
Learn more about us or get in touch here: https://copelandbec.com/
We solve building envelope problems.
Copeland Building Envelope Consulting's cover photo
Copeland Building Envelope Consulting
234 West Acton Road
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We’re reinventing building envelope consulting.
Copeland Building Envelope Consulting embraces technology and innovation to deliver exceptional service to our clients.
We bring extensive experience to the table, but also have a healthy level of skepticism about “the way things are done” and we’re dedicated to tirelessly re-engineering the process of building envelope consulting. We want to improve the experience for our clients, contractors, and other stakeholders in building envelope construction.
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