What you should know about Building Envelopes
Are considering the purchase of a strata property? Does the words 'building envelope' both scare and bewilder you?
Most major condominium repairs are required because of a failure or poor craftsmanship of the exterior shell of the building. Here is an honest explanation of what a building envelope is, and what can be done to remedy the problem.
What It Is
The performance of the building envelope is impacted by a number of sub-systems, such as heating, cooling and ventilating equipment, plumbing and electrical systems. The interaction of the sub-systems with the components of the building envelope, as well as certain activities of the occupants, can affect the performance of the building envelope.
What It Is Supposed to Do?
The building envelope should keep out:
Additionally, to maintain durability, the building envelope should not permit weather elements to be trapped inside the walls. This may cause wall components to deteriorate and continue to decay. In the early stages, it can usually be remedied relatively inexpensively. As time progresses, costs increase exponentially.
Maintenance and Inspections
Some maintenance guides suggest the exterior of the building does not need much attention in the early years. The numerous failures of building envelopes in the coastal climate zone of BC suggests that it is wise to have an inspection program that starts in the first year of the building’s life and continues annually thereafter. This should be done by an experienced professional.
If problems can be detected early, before obvious damage is caused, they can be remedied at much less expense and while warranty programs are still in effect.
A problem exists if there is:
or if there are:
These symptoms may not all be related to a failure of the building envelope: