Marry Me? Wait, Wait, … Are We Compatible?

Track 2: Building Enclosures

Wednesday, May 11, 2:15pm – 3:15pm

A building enclosure has many different materials marrying together to provide continuity of the control layers and help the enclosure achieve its best performance. Without successful marriages between different materials, the enclosure will not be able to perform at its best. Connections between different materials are critical to maintain continuity of the control layers such as the waterproofing, air barrier and vapour barriers. A building enclosure has many different transitions were different membranes are required to maintain these control layers, such as roof to wall transitions, window to walls, wall penetrations, and exterior wall to foundations wall for example. Marrying incompatible membranes together can have adverse effects on the air barrier and other control layers, leading to failure of the building enclosure assemblies. This article will discuss various types of transitions where membrane compatibility is a consideration to maintain continuity of the building enclosure, the difference between chemical compatibility and performance compatibility of membranes, issues of incompatibility of membranes experienced in the field, and concluding with possible solutions to reduce the risk of failures related to incompatibility of membranes.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Why membrane compatibility is important.
  2. Difference between chemical and performance compatibility.
  3. Things to avoid and solutions for best results.
Level of content:

Niall McCarra, BSc, CET, LEED® AP BD+C

RJC Engineers, Edmonton, AB

Niall is a Project Technologist in the Building Science and Restoration group for RJC Engineers in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He provides consulting services in the evaluation and restoration of existing building envelopes, as well as design and quality control for new building envelope systems.

Originally from Ireland, Niall arrived in Canada in 2012 and has since gained experience through a variety of different projects, within a speciality in Building Science and Restoration in Canada. Niall’s natural flair for construction and his ability to create practical solutions for challenging construction issues makes him a tremendous asset to the RJC’s Building Science and Restoration team.

Niall is a member of the Alberta Building Envelope Council North (ABECN) and is a Certified Engineering Technologist (CET) with the Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta (ASET).