Cause & Origin Investigations 
Water Intrusion Inspections - Building Product Failure Inspections

  Building Product Inspections Product Installation Inspections

Conducting an Indoor Environmental Assessment and Building Envelope Inspections in Central Florida differs from many other areas across the Country. We have different construction methods than those applied in the north or even the mid west. The changes are reflected in the building envelope and the way in which we address the thermal dynamics of our region.
Florida Building Consultants, FBC, provides forensic building investigations that include

  • Water Intrusion Investigations
  • Stucco Failure Inspections
  • Exterior Insulation Finishing Systems, EIFS
  • Building Product and Product Installation Investigations
  • Crawlspace Ventilation and Odor Investigations
  • Spray Polyurethane Foam Insulation Investigations

Building Envelope Investigations

A building envelope is the separation between the interior and the exterior environments of a building. It serves as the outer shell to protect the indoor environment as well as to facilitate its climate control. Building envelope design is a specialized area of architectural and engineering practice that draws from all areas of building science and indoor climate control.

Building envelope design includes four major performance objectives:

  • Structural integrity
  • Moisture control
  • Temperature control
  • Control of air pressure boundaries

Control of air includes air movement through the components of the building envelope (interstitial) itself, as well as into and out of the interior space which affects building insulation greatly.  The physical components of the envelope include the foundation, roof, walls, doors and windows. The compatibility of materials, fabrication process and details, their connections and interactions are the main factors that determine the effectiveness and durability of the building enclosure system.

Common measures of the effectiveness of a building envelope include physical protection from weather and climate (comfort), indoor air quality (hygiene and public health), durability and energy efficiency. In order to achieve these objectives, all building enclosure systems must include a solid structure, a drainage plane, an air barrier, a thermal barrier, and may include a vapor barrier.

Moisture control is essential in Florida's hot and humid climate especially during the “dog” days of summer when it rains every afternoon. The Florida summer can really test a building's envelope.

Building Envelope Design

When we conduct a building envelope inspection we often find wall design errors which inadvertently create “double vapor barriers” by their assembly of non-permeable materials. This condition may interrupt the natural drying process of a home or buildings walls creating a significant accumulation of moisture and biological growth. 

The Cause and Origin of many Indoor Air Quality issues begins with a Building Envelope. Building envelope problems are some of the most common building problems encountered. Yet, they are still some of the least understood and can be some of the hardest to properly diagnose and correct. 

Until you can correctly and conclusively identify the Cause and Origin of your Indoor Air Quality problem and take the necessary corrective action, the Indoor Air Quality problem will remain.
Until you can correctly and conclusively identify the Cause and Origin of your Indoor Air Quality problem and take the necessary corrective action the Indoor Air Quality problem will remain.

The building envelope will protect you from the exterior elements and will allow you to maintain a comfortable and healthy indoor environment. If the building envelope fails you can and will have substantial indoor environmental issues when the exterior elements enter the building.

The building envelope is what separates the inside of a building from the outside. A typical building envelope consists of the foundation, exterior walls, windows, doors, and the roof. This sounds simple enough…but because of the many complex products and systems involved, the building as a whole can become quite complicated and finding the specific cause and origin of a building envelope failure impossible for many.

Building Envelope Investigations

Visual Inspection – This is an on-site inspection of the building to assess building conditions. Oftentimes a visual inspection is performed in combination with some form of non-invasive testing. Depending on the nature or complexity of the issue, the findings of this inspection can be used to create a detailed plan of action to diagnose and determine causes.

Non-Invasive Testing – This testing is used to support the findings of the visual inspection. Electronic moisture detection equipment, moisture measurement tools, permeability testing, borescope cameras, hygrometers, plus other equipment and test methods can be used to assess the building.

Invasive Testing & Analysis – Invasive testing is used to verify findings, determine if proper components were used in construction, verify if proper installation or repair techniques were followed, and to define the extent of a problem. Examples of invasive testing include the removal of various materials and claddings, sealant testing, and water testing.

Mold and Moisture in Your Home or Office

Not all moisture related issues are caused by moisture entering the building from the exterior.

What do you do when the moisture issue is created inside your building?

Or when both interior and exterior factors are contributing to a moisture issue?

Many factors can influence how moisture moves into and out of commercial buildings.  These factors include, building usage, zones, stack effect, wind, pressure differentials, and interior and exterior claddings; all of which make commercial buildings more complicated and therefore more difficult to properly diagnose than residential property.

Additional factors contributing to moisture entering the building from the exterior include building age and construction, poor building practices, improperly installed components, shoddy repairs, deferred maintenance, and environmental factors.

Combine all these considerations with internal issues such as ground water, condensation, humidity levels, air pressure differentials, and building functions; all of which contribute to moisture inside the building envelope. That makes for many, many ways for air and moisture to interact with the building and its components.