Design and Construction Amnesia: Liberty Building Forensics Group Says, “We Have Lost our Minds and it is Causing Catastrophic Mold and Moisture Building Failures.”

Sept. 8, 2017 – Not all buildings are created equal; some fail at alarming rates. Some failures occur at a high rate of frequency but result in minor, practically negligible consequences. Other building failures, on the other hand, while low in frequency, result in catastrophic results. This includes building failures from mold and moisture problems.

Liberty Building Forensics Group Book

There is an interrelationship between the HVAC and building envelope design and performance. In some cases, the combination of HVAC and wind induced outdoor air infiltration, planned or unplanned, can result in significant amounts of air entering the guest rooms, overwhelming the ability of the FCU to provide proper pressurization and sufficient dehumidification. This can result in moisture related mold issues.

A mold and moisture peer review is specifically designed to address these kinds of issues especially when architectural and mechanical designs are completed in silos, and construction is not able to identify key building performance problem areas before they result in building wide damage.

Consider the Hilton Kalia Tower which had a $60M mold and moisture problem that closed the Tower for nearly two years so that remediation and corrective measures could be performed. If this problem had undergone a peer review that targeted the potential areas of failure, these issues could have been prevented.

Additionally, buildings have become laboratories for product experiments by manufacturers that are clamoring to gain market advantage in the today’s climate change arena. A peer review mirrors the healthcare industry and inserts a subject matter expert into the design and construction process, who helps to make sure that the right people get the right information at the right time. There has been resistance in the design & construct community to peer reviews because it appears to be an unnecessary added cost. However, peer reviews in the D&C process have been shown to keep costs in check especially against the tendency of A&E practitioners that may take a “belts and suspenders” approach to assuring that their building design will not have mold & moisture problems.

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