The Interface

Tuesday, May 10, 10:30am – 11:00am

Today’s building construction must overcome complex building materials, multi-layer construction / multiple trades, limited on-the-job training, higher expectations, schedule, and are generally cost sensitive. In the past, building systems were simpler with fewer layers, there were many master tradesman, apprentice training, with less building performance expectations. Building occupants now require more for the interior environment; precise temperature and humidity control, no tolerance for condensation or mold, indoor air quality, energy efficiency and more. This cannot be achieved without a well designed and constructed building enclosure. We rely on performance published in material and assembly product data sheets to achieve these expectations, but without well thought out transitioning, termination and flashing at the interface of the materials and assemblies, there intended performance is diminished or be negated altogether. Performance criteria (water air, vapor, and thermal) is readily available for most building enclosure materials and assemblies that are commonly used in the building construction industry today. However, performance criteria for the interface of materials and assemblies is not clearly defined or published and is often missed or misunderstood. Continuity of the environmental control layers is most vulnerable at the interface of building enclosure components. Without the proper interfacing, we cannot expect to achieve the laboratory tested performance of the materials and assemblies selected for the project, which greatly impacts building performance holistically. The relationship between components and trades that is required to ensure continuity of the environmental control layers may not be immediately apparent or intuitive if the contract documents are unsuccessful in presenting the building enclosure as a contiguous and cohesive assembly, composed of inter-related parts. Furthermore, if the contract documents fail to clearly represent the building enclosure’s environmental control layers and trade relationships, the related subcontractor’s obligation will be limited to the installation and performance of their system alone. This presentation will briefly touch on the history of building enclosure design and performance and the evolution of the materials and assemblies used in construction today. Typical assemblies and common interface details will be reviewed while discussing and comparing with case studies, computer modeling, laboratory certification testing and field performance testing. The discussion will also overlay the affects building enclosure material and assembly interfacing has on construction sequencing and schedule and overall building performance. The closing of the presentation will include a brief review the ABAA Curtain Wall Guideline and ABAA Roof to Wall Transitions Guideline documents.

Learning Objectives:

  1. History of Building Enclosure Design.
  2. Common Building Enclosure Interface Details and Caste Studies including wall opening details for window, storefront and curtain wall; roof to wall transitions, overhang/canopies, etc.
  3. Laboratory certification testing, computer modeling, field performance testing and construction sequencing.
  4. ABAA CW White Paper and ABAA Wall-to-Roof Transitions Guide.
Level of content:

Adam Ugliuzza, P.E., CPHC


Adam has 13 years of engineering experience, where his focus has been in building enclosure consulting and commissioning. He has worked across the United States providing professional building enclosure consultation in both commercial and residential construction in most North American climate zones. Adam is also active in many industry associations including Air Barrier Association of America (ABAA), Passive House Institute US (PHIUS), Building Commissioning Association (BCxA), and more. Through this industry work, he has co-authored numerous technical papers, guidelines and standards such as the ABAA, Standard Method for Building Enclosure Airtightness Compliance Testing. Additionally, he manages the Mid Atlantic team of Intertek’s Building Science Solutions group, where they strive to continue as industry leaders in building enclosure design consultation and testing.