Protect Your Investment by Proper Building Envelope Maintenance

In terms of protecting the normal operations of a building facility, the building envelope plays an integral role by providing the highest level of defense against all types of outdoor elements. The modern day building envelopes comprise of several components and all these components function in tandem to create a protective barrier for the building. Therefore, problems with any specific part of a building envelop may impact its overall function. This is why it is extremely important to have a comprehensive building envelope maintenance plan.

Purposes of a Building Envelope:  These days, building envelopes are designed to serve a wide range of purposes. Each of these is critical to preventing the building from potential issues that may affect its operations and indoor environment of the living space.

  • Prevention of unwanted air flow: Flow of air entering and leaving the building can seriously affect its overall efficiency. While proper ventilation is essential for getting rid of fumes, odours, and poor air quality, accidental leakage of air has its own negative impacts. Any deviations from the planned air exhaust from the building can result in increased heating and cooling load. This leads to unnecessary waste of energy and an increased HVAC system cost.
  • Prevention of moisture penetration: Moisture is one of the foremost concerns for any facility manager as it can cause numerous serious issues. With a properly functioning building envelope, the building is safe from moisture during thunderstorm, snowfall, and rainy weather. It also prevents internal condensation along the roofs, doors, windows, and walls. Watertight building envelopes also prevent the formation of mold and mildew on building components and wet insulation materials.
  • Prevention of sudden loss of temperature: Building envelopes also help control the indoor temperature so that the optimal working environment can be maintained. This is why a well maintained envelope system is the cornerstone of an energy efficient building that puts minimum strain on the heating and cooling systems.

Results of Inadequate Maintenance: Unfortunately, it has been observed that building envelopes are often overlooked from a maintenance perspective. Over a period of time, this reluctance may lead to costly consequences. Without proper and adequate maintenance, many different problems may develop. Some of those problems include, but is not limited to

  • Formation of spalling or efflorescence on masonry and brick surfaces.
  • Serious damage to the window and door frames as well as other appendices due to rusting
  • Weatherstripping, damage to the building sealants and caulking
  • Weep holes clogged with debris
  • Split seams on the parking and garage roof
  • Formation of cracks on masonry and concrete that can enlarge in the long run due to the freeze thaw cycle.
  • Water infiltration into the wall system
  • Damage to the interior finishes and fenestration components due to unwanted condensation.

When any of these problems go unnoticed for a long time, the deterioration of building components in inevitable. With a periodic maintenance program, it is possible to increase the service life of the building envelope and avoid future restorations or replacements that can be extremely expensive.

Condition Assessment: Before undertaking a maintenance plan for a building envelope, a thorough condition assessment is essential to determine the nature and causes of visible deterioration and deviations in performance. Without this assessment, there is a high probability that the maintenance and repair activity may fail. The extent of assessment depends entirely on the objectives of your maintenance and repair activity. Some of factors to consider during this assessment are serviceability, appearance, cost, economic service life, performance, structural integrity, and safety.

Building Envelope Maintenance Program: A comprehensive program for building envelope maintenance is critical to extending the service life of the building and its facilities as well as reducing and controlling the operational costs. Mentioned below are some of the elements that must be a part of your envelope maintenance program.

  • Prepare an annual budget for building envelope maintenance
  • Carry out regular assessment of building conditions
  • Proactive maintenance on a yearly basis
  • Routine inspection after severe weather conditions

If possible, try to integrate the maintenance funding for the envelope into the overall annual budget.

Detailed Inspections: There are numerous components of a building envelope that demand a detailed inspection on a regular basis.

  • Drainage components and fittings
  • Verify the integrity of exterior sealants, caulking, weatherstripping, copings and flashings
  • Doors, windows, jambs and sills, soffits, and all other fenestration components
  • Cladding components such as precast concrete panels, brickwork, glazing panels, metal siding, exterior drywall, wood siding, etc.

Exterior Signs: Mentioned below are some of the exterior signs that must be addressed by your building envelope maintenance plan.

  • Presence of rust marks at imbedded steel locations.
  • Cracks in masonry or concrete
  • Rusted window and door frames
  • Efflorescence or spalling on bricks
  • Condensation on glass surfaces including the windows.
  • Expansion joints with incomplete or compressed building sealants
  • Clogged weep holes

At CGS Façade Group, we provide end-to-end service for all your building envelope related requirements. Be it building envelope maintenance for you existing facility or creating a new facade from the scratch, our experts can do it all for you. Please contact us today to discuss your upcoming project.