The Colorado Trust Fund Statute: Background and Case Law
Monday, July 30th, 2012
SBSA’s corporate counsel, Dana Mohr, was published in Colorado Construction & Design. His article, The Colorado Trust Fund Statute: Background and Case Law, discusses some legal considerations when a General Contractor fails to pay its sub-contractors. Turn to pages 40-41 of the article for the full story.
Infrared Observation Helps Fix an Aging Building
Monday, July 30th, 2012
By Megan Danner, LEED AP
Multi-Family High Rise
Failing Barrier EIFS, northern flicker woodpeckers (Colaptes auratus)
Barrier EIFS failure allowing moisture intrusion and delamination of façade
Remove barrier EIFS system and replace with a hard coat stucco system.
After an EIFS panel fell off the uppermost floor of a senior housing high rise, SBSA’s staff was called out to investigate.
The original masonry building was constructed in 1965, and extensively remodeled in 1994, which included installing barrier EIFS cladding on approximately 30-percent of the building façade. Due to moisture intrusion behind these panels, they had become delaminated, which is why one of them fell off the building. In order to determine where this moisture was behind the EIFS cladding, SBSA performed an infrared analysis. Anomalies that appeared in the photos indicated a thermal differential around fenestrations, at woodpecker holes and at floor lines. SBSA concluded the thermal differentials were likely a result of moisture intrusion—indicating that the barrier system had failed.
The building envelope needed to be repaired, and SBSA was hired as the design professional of the design-build team with a general contractor, who provided construction for the repair of the building envelope. SBSA determined that replacing the current system with a moisture-managed EIFS system would solve the moisture intrusion problem, but not the woodpecker problem.
To stop the woodpeckers, a hard-coat stucco system—in lieu of EIFS—was installed, along with new windows, sheathing and weather-resistive barrier. SBSA considered the thermal loss from removing the EPS insulation and the risk of the future cladding material failing from woodpecker damage. The new windows provided a tighter assembly, which helped offset the heat loss through the cladding. At each floor line, SBSA incorporated weep mechanisms to direct any incidental moisture to the exterior of the system over shorter distances rather than allowing moisture to travel more than 10-stories before exiting.
Upon completion, the woodpeckers did return to test the new cladding system, but were immediately disinterested with the lack of the hollow sound.
Re-roofing Project Resulting in Mold in Attic
Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012
Mold growth in attic
Attic vents covered during reroofing
Remove and replace affected portions of roof sheathing. Reroof with adequate ventilation.
When the homeowners had noticed dripping water and mold growth in the attic, they contacted SBSA for an evaluation of the cause and conditions.
Built in the 1970s, the original wood shake roof of the house had been recently replaced. SBSA performed the observation of the home on a clear and warm January day (65° F); the relative humidity outside the home was approximately 15%. Inside the attic, the relative humidity was as high as 67%.
At such a high relative humidity, the dew point—the temperature at which water condenses—was 54° F. When the temperature inside the attic got below 54° F, condensation formed and was causing the drips and mold that the homeowners reported. How did the attic get so humid?
Common household activities such as cooking, bathing, cleaning, and even breathing introduce water vapor into the air.
This water vapor permeates through holes and cracks in the ceiling and into the attic. The homeowners were not using humidifiers in the living space below, and the ventilation in the attic wasn’t adequate.
The attic ventilation had been sealed over when the new roof was installed, and no new ventilation was provided. Although the roof was not actually leaking, the vapor condensing on the inside left the roof sheathing dripping wet and mold was growing. Because this ventilation issue was detected within months of the roof replacement, structural damage to the wood framing was not yet an issue.
However, the roof sheathing needed to be replaced and extensive mold remediation of the framing was required. The brand new roof had to be removed and the roof rebuilt to include adequate ventilation. This example illustrates how changes that are meant to be improvements can actually create new, unintended problems.
SBSA can help prevent such unintended consequences through peer design review, effective new design, and construction quality assurance.
Why Wood Should Not Be Buried Below Grade
Friday, May 11th, 2012
Issues: Unprotected wood below-grade
Repairs: Remove and replace damaged sheathing, apply fluid-applied membrane along concrete foundation wall
SBSA was contacted to observe repairs to a handicap-accessible patio home. The patio slab had been poured flush with the door threshold in order to make the unit accessible. But the concrete was blocking the weep holes in the door’s sill pan. Consequently, water was leaking into the unit, buckling the wood floor inside.
To perform the repair, the contractor jack-hammered out the concrete patio and removed the first row of hardboard siding. When the siding was removed, it quickly became apparent that this home was going to require more than a simple door repair and concrete replacement.
Buried below the concrete, the OSB sheathing, rim joists and sill plates were rotting away. One wall was covered in building felt below-grade, and the other had one layer of building paper for protection. The rim joists are part of the structure of the main floor. If they rot out, the wall that sits on top of them could fall down, creating a life-safety issue. Additionally, according to building codes, unprotected wood should not be in contact with grade.
To repair this condition, SBSA provided new details to the contractor to protect the vulnerable wood below grade. First, the damaged OSB sheathing and rim joists were replaced. Then a liquid-applied waterproof membrane was applied from 8-inches above the surface of the concrete to 6-inches below the top of the concrete foundation wall. The patio door was reset in a sill pan flashing that was integrated with the liquid-applied waterproof membrane. After backfilling, the patio was re-poured and the siding and stone were installed with a two-inch clearance to the slab. Galvanized flashing and counter-flashing provide an extra layer of protection above the surface of the patio.
Reserve Study Helps Homeowners Association Determine Immediate Repair Needs
Friday, May 4th, 2012
A reserve study was recently performed at a Homeowners Association that is 26 years old. During the observation, the following immediate concerns were noted.
A PVC roof system was used throughout the community. These roofs are 26 years old, and have exceeded their useful life. The seams have begun to fail, which can permit water to enter through the roof and potentially cause damage.
Repair: Replace roof, including underlayment and relevant flashings.
Estimated cost: $400,000.
The asphalt conditions throughout the community were also observed. Roads and driveways were experiencing distress, and needed to be replaced.
Repair: Remove asphalt, recondition the subsoils and to place a new asphalt system down
Estimate cost: $650,000.
The façades throughout the community are board and batten siding. The siding has become warped from moisture and needs to be replaced in order to continue providing a weatherproof exterior.
Estimated cost: $750,000.Repair: Remove board and batten siding, install new weather resistive barrier, install new flashings and install new siding.
Unfortunately, the association has roughly $500,000 in reserves and cannot cover these immediate needs. What are the Association’s options?
Option 1 – Defer the asphalt and siding projects and do the roof project.
Option 2 – Special assess the homeowners $1,200,000 at around $6,500 each and perform all of the necessary projects.
Option 3 – Pay for the roof project and have the association get a loan to cover the $1,200,000 needed for asphalt and siding project.
Option 4 (recommended) – Based on a risk analysis of the consequences associated with deferring any of these projects, the roof and the siding projects are necessary immediately. Moisture is penetrating into the buildings through the failed seams in the roof and areas of the façade. This is causing ongoing and progressive damage, as well as creating potential health risks. Therefore, SBSA recommend replacing the roof using the available funds, special assessing each homeowner $3,700—which is much more manageable—for the siding replacement, and deferring the asphalt until the funds are built back up to afford the asphalt.
SBSA’s Construction & Property Analysis department can help associations determine the importance of various repairs and the potential risks associated with deferring certain repair needs. We take into consideration the available funding of the Association, and balance that with the existing conditions of the property.
Need a reserve study from SBSA? Download our reserve study proposal request form here.
Mile-High Megamess: The True Story of an Epic Building-Rescue Mission
Monday, March 19th, 2012
The Beauvallon Condominiums in Denver started life in 2001 as one of the hottest addresses in the city.
But the upscale condos’ Wow Meter took a big plunge not long after the complex’s arrival on the Mile High cityscape.
The problem? Big-time water damage.
The Beauvallon’s descent into a waterlogged morass—and its rise, Phoenix-like, from multistory sponge to renewed inhabitability—made for one of the more interesting narratives at the RCI International Convention, wrapping up today (Tuesday, March 20) in Dallas.
The story of the Beauvallon, told by Ryan Barnes, a buildings forensics expert with SBSA Inc., Golden, Colo., offered evidence that buildings clad in EIFS (exterior insulation and finish systems) can fall victim to the same woes that plagued the technology early on in its 40-year history in North America.
Read the rest here.
Understanding Tile Roof Design and Performance
Friday, October 14th, 2011
Tile roofs may be made of clay, concrete, or manufactured material: strong, versatile, durable materials. For over a century, these roofs have been used successfully. They are now available in many architectural dimensions, adding an aesthetic appeal, be it American Colonial, Spanish Hacienda, or French Provincial. However, as with any moisture-managed product, the proper application of underlayments and flashing and integration with the building’s other weather-resistant systems are crucial. The key to the proper installation of the systems is understanding them and the need for their integration. Any product that has a life expectancy of greater than 50 years will require that the adjoining and underlying systems also meet this life expectancy. Sometimes an expert should be engaged to properly integrate these systems into a project.
Constructing a Better Building Envelope
Thursday, May 19th, 2011
Presented by Ryan Barnes at Habitat for Humanity’s Camp Colorado, “Constructing a Better Building Envelope” addresses issues such as proper installation, integration, and lapping of weather-resistive barriers, sealant joint construction, basic moisture-management systems and their components, as well as the damage that can occur if the building envelope isn’t constructed weather-tight.
View the whole presentation here.
Solutions: April 2011
Tuesday, April 19th, 2011
April’s issue of Solutions includes articles from Ed Fronapfel about Grading Certification, from Megan Danner about SBSA’s participation in the Lego Build competition hosted by Habitat for Humanity, and Colette Armstrong about Infrared Applications in Every Day Cooking.
The new issue of SBSA’s newsletter is now available online here.
The Winds of Change in Asphalt Shingle Specification and Application
Saturday, January 15th, 2011
By Edward L. Fronapfel, P.E., M.S.C.E., EDI, CBIE, CBCP
During the 1990s, asphalt shingles were not performing well during hurricane season. As a result, the industry changed codes and specification standards to help ensure that shingle blow-off and resultant damage was minimized by improved performance.
This article was published in RCI’s “Interface,” and can be read in its entirety here.