The Risks of a Failed Building Envelope

A building envelope is like the skin or shell of a structure. It is an essential part of the building structure that helps protect against external forces such as the weather. The envelope offers the first impression of the building's aesthetic appeal. If this shell is exposed, the framing and structures beneath become vulnerable.

A failed building envelope can cause:


  • Reduced energy efficiency

  • Reduced durability

  • Reduced comfort

  • Reduced moisture resistance

There are construction products that can help prevent this failure. It is necessary to find out the risks of a failed building envelope.


Reasons for Building Envelope Fails

Several factors can lead to failed building envelopes. They include:


  • Design flaws or defects

  • Natural disasters during and after construction

  • Problems with materials failing to perform as expected

  • Failing to apply a whole-building approach when designing or building

  • Poor workmanship from using unskilled labor

  • Failing to hire an expert or qualified building envelope inspector


Affecting Structural Integrity

The building envelope includes the roof, walls, windows, doors, and foundations. A failed envelope can affect the structural integrity of the building. It also degrades the structure's aesthetic appeal.

Failures such as plywood and glass warping, delamination, and discoloring can affect the overall results. It can lead to increased energy use due to poor temperature control. Failure of the finishing materials affects the overall appearance and value of the building.


Poor Moisture Management

The building envelope helps protect the interior of the structure from outside elements. A poorly constructed or designed building envelope can lead to moisture problems. The failure allows moisture to enter the building during construction and after occupation.

Trapped moisture can affect the structure's integrity by encouraging mold growth. It can result in structural failure and open the door for future litigation.


Ways to Avoid Envelop Failure

One can take steps to avoid envelope failure. Daily inspections during the construction phase can help detect any potential issues. Routine inspections and maintenance after construction can prevent envelope failure and ensure long-term durability.

Failing to maintain their buildings or putting off repairs will result in costly future repairs. Dealing with issues in the early stages is essential and cost-effective.


Effects of Materials Used

A common reason building envelopes fail is the materials used. The environmental effect on the materials is a common cause of failure. Some readily available materials fail to achieve the service life expected. It increases environmental effects on replacement materials.

When choosing building materials, products that meet the design criteria are imperative. Buildings should be properly designed, following the set codes and standards to help reduce the risk of a failed building envelope

The actions taken in the early stages of construction can help prevent future failures. It can also affect serviceability or maintenance.

Consistent inspection and maintenance will help maintain the building envelope. A safe building will allow potential buyers and tenants to enjoy living or working in the building.

For more on the risks of a failed building envelope, visit Core Consulting Group Inc. at our San Diego, California, or Phoenix, Arizona office. Call 858.358.6400, 858.693.3008, or 602.272.0092 to schedule an appointment today.