A building envelope is the exterior structure of a building that protects it from external forces like weather and other natural elements. A more systematic definition is the arrangement of engineering and architectural elements comprising the ventilation, structural, temperature control systems. They come together to form one cohesive system. And when this system fails, it is known as buildingcompletes the investigation, it is hard to pinpoint the failure’s exact cause.
What’s Considered Failure?
- Moisture penetrating the envelope and walls during construction
- Glass elements failing over time, leading to fatal consequences.
- Pure structural damage to support systems like arches, pillars, and others
All of these are the results of failure. There could be many reasons, but here are the top 4 reasons why building envelops fail-
This occurs when the contractor, engineer, or any other person involved in the project makes design choices that are not appropriate. Altering the weight, density, or any metric against the manufacturer defined limits, will bring results that were not intended.
Materials have certain criteria for structural change, resistance, or penetration. Altering these values will only lead to performance degradation.
The material itself can have problems from the start. There could be a change in the required performance levels due to inadequate storage facilities or manufacturing defects. These are mostly inescapable if not dealt with in time.
Most worksites that bring in lots of construction material never plan out their storage. When these materials remain in contact with natural elements for prolonged periods, a physical build-up change occurs. The results will deviate from the manufactured defines specifications.
These are human errors caused by poor training or skills, lack of proper supervision, or lack of communication among involved parties. Most of the business envelope failures are the result of poor workmanship or human-caused errors. It may happen that many structural components were not installed according to the manufacturer specifications, or there was an alteration of the directions. Even worse, there could be no directions or instructions provided by the supplier.
Natural Elemental Issues
It is easy to build a house, but it is difficult to build a house that can stand against natural elements’ ruthlessness. No matter how perfect the installation is or how perfect the manufacturing was, it will change the structural properties when a storm, hurricane, or flood arrives. Strong natural elemental changes like extreme cold or heat, unanticipated moisture, or extreme weather can lead to all of the above-mentioned causes. It can create deltas between design and implementation, alter the material properties and affect human installations. Even though this sounds serious, most business envelope failures are not caused by natural elements. Human and design flaws still constitute the majority of problems. So it is important to inspect and supervise all the construction and hopes it survives nature.