Forensic architects can serve multiple purposes throughout and after a construction job is complete. Most commonly, forensic architects are brought in to investigate the root cause of construction defects or building issues after a project is complete. However, forensic architects are also often hired onto a job during the design and construction phase to help identify any unforeseen issues that could be avoided. In these cases forensic architects are often hired as an unbiased 3rd party and act as an additional set of eyes based on the specialized experience they can bring to a job.
Did you know that stucco, also known as exterior plaster, has been used for many centuries? Historians suggest that the material has been used by multiple civilizations including the Babylonians, Greeks, Egyptians, and Romans, spanning over thousands of years.
Although evolved and changing, the use of stucco today is still growing in popularity despite various problems. The following is a short comparison of historic and new practices.
Historic structures still standing today indicate that “old” stucco material was used and its construction was “done right”. Its original composition and performance appears superior compared to its modern-day counterpart.
Energy conscious building systems and "green" buildings are terms that have been around for quite some time. In fact, there are numerous interesting articles one can explore relative to the implementation of energy conscious building systems. Building professionals continually seek new ways to harness energy and develop innovative approaches to improve our environment and offset energy costs. Recently, we have seen the tremendous interest and growth in solar power from residential to large scale applications. Other renewable energy sources are also constantly being explored, such as converting energy expended by humans into energy used to help power buildings.
Mold spores are everywhere in the outdoor and indoor environment as a natural part of our world and they cannot be eliminated. Certain conditions are necessary for the growth and proliferation of molds into a problem area within a building. Controlling indoor moisture and humidity levels are key to controlling indoor mold growth. Air conditioning equipment and duct systems are very common locations for the development and amplification of mold in commercial properties. Property owners and managers need to be vigilant in inspecting and maintaining these systems, to minimize the frequency and magnitude of any exposures to occupants from hidden sources of mold.
After 15 years of delays, set-backs, and challenges, construction has finally begun on Boston’s much anticipated Fenway Center.
Most roofs are not watertight all the time. Roofing systems, both low-sloped (flat) and pitched, will most likely eventually spring a leak, even with the proper recommended maintenance and inspections. But what about newly installed low-sloped roofs, can one expect those to be watertight? Typically, on a newly constructed building, any minor leaks that turn up during construction can be dealt with immediately by the installer. Also, newly installed roofs on new and old buildings will undergo inspections and sometimes specified testing of seams and components for issuance of the manufacturer’s and installer’s warranty of water tightness for a specified period of time. However, ensuring that your newly installed roof is absolutely watertight becomes more critical if it is being covered by rock ballast or a landscaped greenspace or if the roof protects valuable artwork or irreplaceable property. Determining the location, origin, and extent of wet substrates is also critical for existing buildings when trying to determine if repair or complete replacement is more appropriate.
An Adhered Masonry Veneer system (AMV) is defined as “masonry veneer of natural or manufactured stone, secured to and supported by the backing through adhesion” and are sometimes called “lick and stick” systems. The more typical masonry brick veneer system has a drainage cavity behind and the veneer is supported on itself and anchored with metal ties. Exterior AMV wall components can vary, but they are similar to a stucco system with a weather resistive barrier, scratch coat with embedded wire lath, and a finish coat of adhesive mortar.
The design and installations of AMV can be challenging since relevant building codes and industry standards are not well known or understood, and the system relies heavily on workmanship and selecting the right materials. This is particularly true when choosing a manufactured stone rather than costlier natural stone, and when used in freeze-thaw climates.
Buildings were once thought of as a means of shelter and protection. While this still holds true, buildings today have evolved to do so much more based on how the building is intended to be used, who is occupying the building, where it is built, and so on.
Construction Defect Litigation • Claims Investigations • Catastrophe Management • Building Evaluations • Consulting and Design
When plans for buildings are being laid out and constructed many parties are often involved including the owner, architect, general contractor, and sub-contractors. One of the key areas of planning is waterproofing the structure so that leaks do not occur. In many cases a rainscreen system is built and put in place.