Chamber to host talk on building envelopes

Randy Smith has observed a growing problem that can affect the health of buildings and their occupants.

Randy Smith has observed a growing problem that can affect the health of buildings and their occupants.

Engineering manager of building sciences with Williams Engineering Canada Inc., Smith said building envelope failures cost time, effort and money — but are easy to prevent.

The Calgary-based partner with Williams Engineering will share his expertise during a presentation at the Red Deer Chamber of Commerce office on Friday at 10 a.m.

He will discuss the proper design and construction of building envelopes, focusing on both new construction and existing buildings.

Smith said problems with building envelopes — which refer to the outer layer of structures that separate their living space from the outdoors — can be found in houses as well as high-rises.

An inadequate understanding of the importance of this feature by many designers and builders, as well as cost-cutting measures, are often to blame, he said.

Exacerbating the problem is air-tight construction that doesn’t take into account the resulting impact on the envelope, said Smith.

“As we move toward more air-tight, energy-efficient buildings, you’re basically moving away from the building being able to breathe — and that can create some environment and building envelope issues,” explained Matthew Cornall, a business development co-ordinator with Williams Engineering in Red Deer.

The results can include mould, with adverse health effects for occupants, and premature deterioration of building materials.

Cornall said Smith’s presentation will be of interest to owners of existing buildings as well as those who are planning to build.

Anyone interested in attending can register with the Chamber by email at dklooster@reddeerchamber.com.