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Protecting Your Building's Inside from the Outside

The old saying that “water finds its own level” may strike home with facility managers, especially when it creeps inside rather than staying outside a building’s exterior. When the weather does take its toll on the walls, carpet and more, the initial response is often to check the roof. However, it may take some real detective work to pinpoint the actual problem and the necessary solutions to keep that water outside.

Cale Prokopf, president of RoofTech Consulting Inc., knows that all too well. He detailed this in an informative program on Exterior Building Enclosures – A Case Study on What Goes Wrong. Nearly 60 members and guests attended Cale’s presentation on Feb. 19 at Woodard Cleaning and Restoration.

As part of its services, RoofTech provides third-party inspections, recommendations and scopes of work to protect exterior walls and waterproofing. Its experience in this field gives it a perspective on common problems and faulty repair efforts that affect a building’s exterior.

Cale demonstrated this by detailing a case study of improper wall repairs. Pinpointing the real issues required carefully reviewing the building’s design. RoofTech then found that repairs were limited to the building’s third floor only, and the repairs invited water into the space since it negated the original design.

Instead, RoofTech outlined repairs that dovetailed with the original design intent, reviewed and recommended additional work in several areas and then water-tested the repairs to ensure the problems were corrected.

Cale also outlined key ways for facility managers to protect their buildings:

  • Maintain accurate construction documents to understand the building’s design.
  • Get a clear picture of the building’s dynamics such as open vs. sealed, storefront vs. curtain wall.
  • Track the location and frequency of any water issues; don’t automatically think it’s the roof.
  • Use an expert that understands the design and functionality of your building. An annual inspection and assistance with any needed repairs go a long way in mitigating serious issues.
  • Make improvements to the design only when it fits the original design of the building’s system and properly addresses any issues.
  • Use professional testing – high-voltage leak detection, infrared thermography and water testing – before and after work. This is essential to developing the right course of action and then receiving assurance after the work is completed.

Many thanks to Cale and RoofTech for an excellent presentation and to Woodard for its generous hospitality.