By George H. DuBose, CGC; Charles Allen, Jr., AIA; Donald B. Snell, PE, Cert, Mech. Contractor, CIEC; and Richard Scott, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP

Sign up for our free March 6 webinar on “A Project Peer Review: The Single Most Important Factor in Reducing the Risk of a Mold and Moisture Lawsuit in Your Next Project”.

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Figure 1: The water-based mastic stayed wet (tacky to the touch) for weeks because the covered ductwork did not allow the mastic to dry, resulting in mold growth.

Those involved in the development of most sustainable green buildings typically use innovative products and implement new design and construction approaches.

The intent of these new materials and procedures is to achieve a structure with reduced negative environmental impact, both during construction and throughout the building’s life. These ambitions have now become a part of the International Green Construction Code (IgCC), but have their origin in early green rating systems and in early versions of codes like CalGreen.

While the IgCC has been adopted in some jurisdictions as an alternative measurement for sustainable buildings, rating systems such as LEED® v4 have become more widely used. Both approaches, however, have had a similar influence on design, product selection, and construction means and methods. Continue Reading Innovation Isn’t Always Better: The Impact of Low-VOC Mastics on Mold Growth and Corrosion in Ductwork

The emergence of #modular construction as an option for new construction is becoming mainstream. The reasons have been reported on well. However, what has not been reported is that the modular construction industry has had mold and moisture problems, especially, when used in a warm and humid climate like the Southeast US. Both wood frame and steel frame modular construction have experienced problems with crawl space, marriage wall, and ceiling to floor cavity, condensation problems that have not only resulted in deterioration of the wood, corrosion of metal floor pans, deteriorate wallboard and mold.

 

The greatest risk of modular construction failures has been seen to be when this type of construction and delivery is used for hotels, student housing, senior living, soldier housing, type facilities. In general, facilities that are domicidal or multi family in nature. This is because these types of facilities have inherent similarities in a living unit that requires both an individual cooling/heating unit, bathroom exhaust, and some sort of central HVAC make up air system. In addition, there are many more modular “boxes” in these kinds of buildings increasing the number of marriage wall interior cavities and ceiling to floor cavities that otherwise might not be required in other types of modular construction. The nature of modular construction makes it difficult to repair once it is found to be damaged. Sometimes, the damage can be such that the modular building has to be deconstructed to remove damaged materials and then re-designed and re-constructed using conventional methods. This essentially makes the modular construction advantages dissolve away as the building gets converted to a traditional “stick” building.

Continue Reading Deja Vu All Over Again: Risks for Moisture and Mold Problems in Modular Construction

The immediate future looks bright for South Florida as it basks in a revival of new construction. But Florida-based Liberty Building Forensics Group (LBFG) cautions designers, engineers, and contractors not to let history repeat itself.

 

A significant number of condo projects built in Miami in the early 2000’s ended in litigation due to building failures such as new product failures, humidity and mold problems, air conditioning failures, and even falling stucco off the building. Despite being a lengthy, costly, and hostile learning method, litigation is unfortunately construction’s only true form of feedback.

Continue Reading What’s to Prevent a Repeat of 2006 Failures in South Florida’s 2016 Construction Boom?

Three major changes will impact the success of construction in Florida over the next decade. These changes began as trends during the last decade and have now evolved into requirements for construction professionals. This requires one to consider the risks of potential moisture problems and determine how to mitigate against these risk on the project. These risks are due in large part to changes in building code and how the industry is viewing the products that are being used in “green construction.”

 

  • There is a drive to certify products as “green” and this has substantially increased the risk of moisture problems when certain products are used. Knowing the anatomy of these products will help the construction professional alleviate this risk.
  • Green initiatives have become codified and are required now by code these for projects. It is a critical skill to be able to know the parts of the code that result in the greatest risks for causing moisture problems.
  • As the construction industry shifts from primarily a USGBC LEED® rating credit system to other rating systems like Green Globes there is a risk that comes from the introduction of confusion in the “green” marketplace and the construction industry. This confusion affects the contractor’s’ ability to communicate the needs and costs of green construction. This lack of communication can lead to budget and schedule overruns that are costly. The skilled professional will need to know which rating systems are critical for projects in humid climates and how to communicate the requirements of those rating systems to clients.

Continue Reading How to Avoid Moisture Problems When the Requirements and Practical Applications of Green Collide