Methodology for Designing Exterior Wall Assemblies: What to Look For

Track 2: Design Professionals

Wednesday, March 27, 2:15 – 3:15pm

Building envelope consultants and designers are often called upon to redesign existing exterior wall assemblies.  As code requirements become more demanding and designers seek to push the envelope of both performance and appearance, the task of redesigning exterior walls for becomes more complex. Selecting and locating the best products for a redesigned wall assembly can be an overwhelming task for an architect already burdened with many other responsibilities. Constructability concerns add yet another level of complexity. The presenters will review a practical approach for designing building envelope exterior wall assemblies that will help avoid confusion, improve results in the built environment by reviewing how to identify common pitfalls during design. Applicable building codes and pertinent specific requirements, as well as accepted industry technical standards, will be discussed. The presenters will explain how to use this information during the design process, and will review the structured decision-making process, or “wall assembly check list”, that is used alongside project-specific criteria to create successful designs.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify building codes and industry standards that guide existing exterior wall design and form the foundation of the peer review process.
  2. Select materials and identify sequencing for an appropriate air barrier and drainage plane location based on project-specific criteria.
  3. Identify common constructability pitfalls associated with exterior wall components and assemblies and give examples of ways to resolve the issues.
  4. Create a structured decision-making process and a customized wall assembly “check list” to select an appropriate assembly based on project-specific criteria.
Level of content:
Basic; Intermediate
Design Professionals
Testing & Inspection

Sarah Krawiec

Gorman Richardson Lewis Architects, Inc.

Sarah Krawiec is a technical engineer with the Gorman Richardson Lewis Architects (GRLA) Building Envelope Sciences Group and a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Lowell with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering. Sarah performs evaluations of failed and deteriorated building envelope systems, diagnoses issues, and designs repairs. She is familiar with the latest materials and techniques used in building envelope construction, and has worked successfully with universities, corporate facilities, and condominium associations. She also provides building envelope consulting and peer review services for new and existing construction to other architects and engineers. Sarah is a Board member of the Boston Building Enclosure Council, a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to provide a forum to share and promote the pursuit of excellence in the design, construction, or other technical aspects of the building enclosure by sharing knowledge, experience and information through panels, presentations and discussions.

Robert Gutmann

Gorman Richardson Lewis Architects, Inc.

Robert Gutmann is an Assistant Project Manager in the Building Envelope Sciences department at Gorman Richardson Lewis Architects (GRLA) in Hopkinton, Massachusetts. Robert holds a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering and Master of Science in Construction Management from Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, MA. Over his career, Robert has worked on variety of projects ranging from residential condominium projects to public educational and civic facilities. At GRLA, Robert has been involved in the planning and fabrication of testing equipment that abides by ASTM standards for testing of facades and roof systems.