Finding Closure: Detailing Air/Water Barriers at Fenestration Rough Openings

Track 1: Air Barriers

Wednesday, May 11, 1:00pm – 2:00pm

Modern fenestration systems and façade design preferences are complicating the air/water barrier flashing systems and present an ever increasing need for coordination between the work of multiple trade contractors, mockup construction review, and understanding of the unique project conditions. The integration between the windows and walls has always been a point of focus for water and air barrier continuity, but the increase in cavity insulation requirements often requires a complex system of closure flashings to terminate the cavity and achieve air and water barrier continuity. Commonly, the flashing system consist of a series of metal and/or synthetic closure elements that integrate with the backup wall membrane and extend out to support the sealant joints around the window, doors, and curtain walls. While certain design strategies have proven effective, these closures must be customized based on the project-specific conditions and can become overly complicated, which leads to misunderstandings during construction and performance issues.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Define the scenarios that require closure flashings and understand common performance requirements that the flashings may need to achieve.
  2. Identify the coordination issues that must be resolved during preconstruction and mockup review to yield an effective integration between fenestration and the exterior wall water and air barrier.
  3. Anticipate the common issues that may occur during construction, both prior to and during the flashing installation, that can impact the flashing system performance, if not addressed.
  4. Learn strategies for preparing design documents and reviewing shop drawings that address the common issues with closure flashings and set the field installers up for success.
Level of content:

Brian Rose, P.E.

Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, Washington, DC

Brian Rose is a senior member of the Building Technology group at Simpson Gumpertz & Heger and is experienced with new design enclosure consulting, rehabilitation, and investigation projects for a variety of owners, architects, and general contractors. He received his Bachelor and Masters of Architectural Engineering from Pennsylvania State University. Brian has consulted and provided building enclosure commissioning on a wide array of commercial, residential, government, and institutional projects in the mid-Atlantic region and has worked closely with subcontractors to resolve complex detailing transitions with a variety of air barrier materials.

Charles Ho, P.E. (VA)

Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, Washington, DC

Charles Ho is a member of the Building Technology group at Simpson Gumpertz & Heger in the Washington, DC office. He received his Bachelor of Applied Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Waterloo. His experience includes investigating air barrier failures of existing buildings and developing creative rehabilitation designs for owners, architects, and general contractors. Throughout dozens of projects, Charles as worked side-by-side with air barrier installers to review quality control measures, simplify construction, troubleshoot mockups, and resolve unforeseen conditions.