Building Envelope Design, Peer Design Review, Technical Consulting, and Application Monitoring

Repair and Retrofit Design

Each potential repair or retrofit design project offers a unique set of challenges and considerations. BET&R's design team provides a comprehensive range of retrofit design services, from preparation of simple scopes of repair to complete retrofit and repair project manuals, including technical specifications and detail drawings. BET&R's repair and retrofit design projects benefit from the same thoroughness and detail-oriented approach we bring to our new construction projects. Among BET&R's available retrofit design services are preparation of project design documents, RCW 64.55 compliance services, preparation of comprehensive maintenance manuals, and assistance in prioritizing each project's unique scope of work.

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New Construction Design

BET&R provides expert design services to Clients seeking assistance in assembling conservative, high-quality, long-term performing exterior envelope systems for new construction projects. BET&R's technical experts bring real-world experience, industry standard-setting technical ability, advanced graphics production capabilities, and specialized knowledge of building envelope systems and their applications to each design project we undertake. Our in-house design team features licensed architects, highest-quality CAD isometric graphics, sustainable building specialists, and experts in building envelope technologies. From preliminary system selection to design and application monitoring of even the most complex systems, BET&R's willingness to work hand-in-hand with the architect, Client, and Project Team helps bring the best of our combined skills to every project.

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Design Consulting Services

BET&R provides peer-review design services to owners, developers, and other design professionals to assist them in preparing technically sound and complete building envelope-related technical specifications and detail drawings. BET&R's roofing, waterproofing, cladding, and fenestration design experience is derived from hands-on, real world knowledge, as well as the latest industry and materials research and development. BET&R's peer-review services often provide benefits not only to the success of the project, but to other parties involved, assisting designers, owners, contractors, and project managers in more thoroughly understanding and addressing the long-term building envelope needs of their unique projects.

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Construction Administration and Application Monitoring

As a follow-up to our design services, BET&R provides contract administration and construction administration to guide Project Teams through jobs beginning with pre-construction conferences to close-out meetings. Application monitoring of building envelope systems is a critical tool in the design completion and adding quality control to the construction process. Quality monitoring helps to ensure the long-term, successful performance of a project's exterior envelope. Application monitoring provides the Client with hands-on, interactive oversight as their design becomes reality, and provides the contractor or installer with a valuable technical resource for addressing conditions as they arise in the field. BET&R's team of roofing, waterproofing, cladding, and fenestration Monitors are experienced, knowledgeable additions to any Project Team, working with each party to help see that the project is carried out in compliance with the design documents, manufacturers' requirements, and good industry practice. Application monitoring can also provide RCW 64.55 (“Condo Act”) compliance as required by Washington State Law for many multifamily residential new and rehabilitative construction projects.

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Historic Restoration

BET&R provides comprehensive, technically innovative consulting services for the restoration of historic and landmark buildings. From the initial survey to finished design, administration of the bid process through to monitoring of the restoration work, each historic restoration project's needs are as unique as the community and history they bring with them. BET&R takes pride in working with our Clients to preserve and restore the beauty and functionality of these architecturally, historically, and culturally significant buildings, whether they have been damaged by the elements, natural disaster, or simply by the passage of time. Our technical experts are experienced in navigating the complex requirements of landmark preservation boards, striking a balance between the use of classic methods and materials and the most recent advances in the field of envelope science.

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RCW 64.55 (Washington State "Condo Act") Compliance

With the passage of Washington State's "Condo Act" Law (RCW Chapter 64.55), the prevention of water intrusion through proper design, product selection, detailing, and quality installation is more important than ever for multi-family residential new and rehabilitative construction projects. The design and application monitoring services provided by Building Envelope Technology & Research can provide our Clients with the tools that they need to conform to RCW 64.55, from the design stage through to the Certificate of Occupancy.

For more information on RCW Chapter 64.55, click here.

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When making product and material recommendations, BET&R utilizes the latest research and information regarding building envelope systems available in order to maximize energy efficiency for heat gain, heat loss, infiltration, and occupant comfort, while also utilizing our experience with proper building envelope design and installation. BET&R also has the capability and equipment to conduct energy audits on existing buildings. BET&R is committed to facilitating sustainable building practices. Our professional staff includes LEED®-Accredited Professionals along with Green Roof Design and Construction Certification. BET&R is committed to designing practical and functional building envelope systems that can assist with increasing energy efficiency, without compromising our commitment to durability, weather-tightness, and quality. BET&R is a Seattle 2030 District Professional Stakeholder, which is part of Architecture 2030 challenge to reduce the nationwide carbon footprint by 50%. As such, we are providing building envelope consulting services, pro bono, on a pilot project in downtown Seattle.

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Building Envelope Surveys, Condition Evaluations, Failure Analysis

Building Envelope Surveys

Building envelope surveys provide a sound basis for our Clients to understand the existing conditions and useful service life of their project’s envelope components, and to make informed, cost-effective decisions for the future of their facilities. BET&R provides surveys for roofing, waterproofing, cladding, and fenestration individually, in combination, or for the building envelope as a whole. Evaluation services range from simple verbal reports outlining survey findings and recommendations to comprehensive written evaluations, complete with laboratory testing data, analysis and recommendations for problem areas, illustrative photo documentation, detail drawings, and schematic cost estimates. Whatever the project need, BET&R’s envelope survey, condition evaluation, and problem analysis services can provide a clear understanding of the options available.

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Moisture Intrusion Investigation

Moisture intrusion issues can be a frustrating and challenging problem for even the most experienced of building Owners, facility managers, and property managers. BET&R provides among the most technically thorough and innovative moisture intrusion investigation services in the industry. Our investigation work has ranged from leak investigations of single residences to hurricane and wind damage investigations at luxury, multi-building five-star resort facilities. No matter the scale of the project or the complexity of the issue, BET&R endeavors to provide the most comprehensive service available in locating, analyzing, and providing remediation solutions for moisture intrusion issues.

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Suspended Surveys

Suspended Surveys make it possible to survey and evaluate the conditions of a building's exterior cladding and windows that are inaccessible by ladder, man-lift, or scaffolding. BET&R has several Building Envelope Technologists that are certified by the International Masonry Institute to conduct suspended surveys and have experience diagnosing issues on a variety of building types. BET&R has invested in the equipment and training which allows us to conduct condition evaluation and water intrusion surveys on some of the most deficient building exteriors.

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Failure Analysis

When a building envelope system is presenting major problems or evidencing catastrophic or severe failure, whether due to construction, design, or material defects, natural disaster, or other causes, a forensic investigation of building envelope components may be necessary to thoroughly diagnose and properly design remediation for building envelope problems. BET&R’s failure analysis services include moisture intrusion investigations, water testing, laboratory microscopy work, destructive and non-destructive testing and sampling, photographic documentation, and comprehensive presentations of findings. Failure analysis is often a preliminary step in litigation support and dispute resolution projects, as well as in projects involving disaster relief and federal government or insurance coverage negotiations. Failure analysis also often proceeds comprehensive repair and retrofit design work. Whatever the Client’s next step may be, failure analysis provides a sound, detailed understanding of the issues from which to work.

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Due Diligence Surveys

BET&R’s due diligence surveys provide a streamlined survey of building exterior components to assist prospective purchasers in both assessing the current condition and needs of the building, and projecting long-term life-cycle needs of the exterior envelope, including repair, replacement, and maintenance, and their associated costs. Due diligence surveys are of value to Clients in planning and projecting for both immediate and future building needs. BET&R also provides schematic cost estimates for prioritized work items, which can be a valuable tool to Clients in considering and negotiating real estate investments.

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Flooding and Damage Mitigation Consulting, Planning, Design, and Monitoring

The increasing institutional, commercial, and residential development in flood plains throughout the Pacific Northwest Region and across the country has created a growing need to protect buildings from flooding and damage. For many active businesses, progressive corporations, and individuals, relocating business activities during times of imminent flooding, clean-up, and reconstruction is simply not an option. As such, Building Envelope Technology & Research utilizes our waterproofing and construction technology expertise to design and help Clients implement mitigation measures to minimize the damage caused by flood water intrusion and debris impact on the outer walls of a building. BET&R provides design, consulting, construction administration, and construction monitoring of temporary and permanent barriers and waterproofing measures to help keep flood waters out of the building and minimize damage from debris impact.

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Testing and Analysis Services

In-Situ Testing

In the field, BET&R's in-situ analysis and diagnostic testing services include; moisture analysis including electronic moisture meter, Vaisala, calcium chloride, and numerous other testing services. BET&R also conducts cladding and fenestration pressurized water testing services following ASTM- and some AAMA- standard protocols for window, door, and skylight water testing. Other types of testing BET&R conducts as part of moisture intrusion investigations and building envelope evaluations include RILEM testing, electrical resistance and electrical capacitance testing, and infrared thermography. BET&R can accommodate and provide a wide variety of ASTM compliant testing services.

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Infrared Thermography

Infrared thermography is a powerful, non-invasive tool for surveying the underlying conditions of a building’s assembly, components, and building envelope systems. Because moisture has a marked impact on the thermal characteristics of many building materials, variations in the thermal signature can be used to efficiently identify potential areas of water intrusion and water retention within the building envelope. BET&R’s team of Certified Infrared Thermographers and building envelope experts are trained and experienced in using this advanced technology to detect anomalies in the heat signature of the building envelope, and to diagnose underlying and contributive causes of moisture related issues.

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Air-Leakage and Air Barrier Testing

BET&R utilizes the Retrotec Q4E Blower Door System including the 3300-series fan and DM-2 Digital Manometer and performs air-leakage testing per: ASTM E779 Standard Test Method for Determining Air Leakage Rate by Fan Pressurization. ASTM E2357 Standard Test Method for Determining Air Leakage of Air Barrier Assemblies, and ASTM E1827 Standard Test Methods for Determining Airtightness of Buildings Using an Orifice Blower Door. Please note that energy codes in many jurisdictions are now requiring new buildings be tested for air leakage and for the exterior wall and roof assemblies to include a continuous air barrier. Testing for assurance that the required criteria are being met is also now written into the new energy codes. BET&R is capable, trained, qualified and has the equipment for the types of testing required. The Washington Energy Code, effective date January 1st 2011, requires that the whole building be tested for air leakage per ASTM E779, or similar approved test. The Seattle Energy Code, effective date January 1st 2011, states, "air leakage control shall be considered acceptable when tested to have an air leakage less than 0.00030 Specific Leakage Area (SLA) when tested with a blower door at a pressure of 50 Pascals (0.2 inch w.g.)." BET&R utilized the Retrotec Q4E Blower Door System including the 3300-series fan and DM-2 Digital Manometer and can perform testing per ASTM E779, and also per: ASTM E2357 Standard Test Method for Determining Air Leakage of Air Barrier Assemblies, and ASTM E1827 Standard Test Methods for Determining Airtightness of Buildings Using an Orifice Blower Door. If our testing indicates that air-leakage exceeds the required maximums, BET&R locates and identifies the problem/deficiency utilizing one or more of the many diagnostic tools at our disposal, including infrared thermography used in combination with building pressurization, and then provides expert technical consulting for mitigating the air leaks efficiently and effectively.

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Laboratory Testing

BET&R provides an array of in-house laboratory and in-situ testing and analysis services to enhance our basic building envelope services to Clients. Our laboratory services include microscopy work, material compatibility testing, and accelerated materials testing simulating weather and environmental effects.

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Dispute Resolution and Technical Support for Litigation

Dispute Resolution

BET&R is experienced in dispute resolution and believes that prompt resolution of disputes or misunderstandings relating to construction projects can lead to the best outcome for all parties involved. We take pride in our history of assisting Clients involved in construction disputes in reaching fair and equitable resolutions to project problems prior to proceeding with costly and stressful litigation. BET&R's unbiased, pragmatic, and technically accurate approach to dispute resolution can be a valuable resource in achieving a satisfying resolution to a contentious situation.

Technical Support for Litigation

For Clients involved in or considering becoming involved in litigation regarding building envelope issues in construction defect-related cases, BET&R's staff can provide technical support and expert witness services in support of litigation. BET&R's litigation support efforts are based upon a thorough investigation of the source of complaint as well as analysis of cause, responsibility, remediation costs, and other factors. BET&R technical staff have acted as expert witness during mediation and trial for numerous construction defect cases, on for defense and plaintiff cases, as well as neutral expert projects with settlements reaching into the hundreds of millions of dollars. BET&R represents integrity, honesty, and fair-mindedness in our approach to litigation support and provides our Clients with recommendations and services based on accurate analysis of building envelope conditions and their causes. Among firms BET&R has provided technical support for are:

  • Carney Badley Spellman
  • Perkins Coie
  • Glaser Weil Fink Jacobs Howard Avchen & Shapiro, LLP
  • Scheer & Zehnder, LLP
  • Steefel, Levitt, & Wiess
  • Salmi & Gillaspy, PLLC
  • Stafford Frey Cooper
  • Covington & Burling, LLP
  • Lane Powell
  • Forsberg & Umlaf, P.S.
  • Holmes Weddle & Barcott
  • Leonard Street & Deinard
  • Cozen O'Connor

Material Research and Product Analysis

Material Research and Product Analysis

BET&R is continually involved in materials and application research, testing, and analysis. Jim Carlson, Technical Director of BET&R, serves as the Technical Advisor to the Western States Roofing Contractors' Association (WSRCA) and our staff are actively involved in industry standard setting through WSRCA, Roofing Contractors' Institute (RCI), American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), National Research Council of Canada (NRCC), Seattle Building Envelope Council (SeaBEC), and other professional industry organizations. Among BET&R's current research projects are conducting year seven of a ten-year, full-scale research project on weathering affects on TPO roof membranes in various climates, in association with WSRCA; collaborating on PVC roof membrane research with the NRCC; and evaluating the use of OSB in the building envelope field with results to be published by the ASTM and WSRCA.

Among joint research projects to which BET&R staff have contributed are:

  • WSRCA TPO In-situ Testing and Research (1997 - on-going) Program
  • WSRCA PVC Roofing Survey Research Project (2007 – pending)
  • MRCA Roof Coatings Research (1997 - 2005)
  • APP Weathering Farm, an NRCA project in conjunction with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (1991-1996)
  • ARMA/NRCA Underlayment Research Program, a lab and in-situ research project (1993-1995)
  • MRCA/NRCA Field Study of APP & SBS Modified Bitumen Roofs (1993-1995)
  • Phenolic insulation and steel roof deck corrosion study (1993-1994)
  • Perlite insulation study, worked jointly with Dick Baxter and other team members (1993-1995)
  • National Roofing Foundation, Field Study of Sprayed Polyurethane Foam Roof Systems, involving direct field work (inspection, sampling and evaluation) with Rene Dupuis (1995-1996)

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Industry Technical Advisory and Training

Technical Advisory

BET&R technical staff have served in an advisory capacity to numerous industry associations, and are actively involved in industry standard setting through the Western States Roofing Contractors' Association (WSRCA), Roofing Contractors' Institute (RCI), American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), National Research Council of Canada (NRCC), and other professional industry organizations. Jim Carlson, BET&R's Technical Director, currently serves as Technical Advisor to WSRCA, assisting member contractors with material and compatibility questions, resolution for problem jobs, system recommendations, and other technical items.

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Technical Training

BET&R provides technical training regarding building envelope components and their proper use, repair, and maintenance to help established firms, growing companies, public maintenance personnel and individuals learn more about roofing, waterproofing, and building envelope technology. BET&R's Technical Director Jim Carlson often serves as a guest lecturer or speaker at industry technical events and BET&R staff have conducted training sessions for maintenance personnel under various public entities to assist them in better upkeep, understanding, and planning regarding their exterior envelope systems.

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Professional Writing and Seminars

Professional Writing and Published Works

BET&R's technical staff are often involved in research and technical projects which result in technical manuals, technical bulletins, research papers, or technical articles. Among completed research projects for which BET&R has delivered papers are the Midwest Roofing Contractors' Association Roof Coatings Analysis, Western States Roofing Contractors' Association's (WSRCA's) Polyisocyanurate Rigid Insulation Study in conjunction with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and WSRCA's TPO Roof Testing and Research Project in conjunction with the National Research Council of Canada. BET&R is currently working with WSRCA's Waterproofing Committee in authoring the industry standard-setting Principals of a Successful Waterproofing Project. BET&R staff have also contributed numerous articles to Voices of the West and Professional Roofing magazines.

Among published works to which BET&R staff have contributed as authors, co-authors, or designers are:

  • The NRCA Roofing and Waterproofing Manual, Fourth Edition
  • The Handbook of Accepted Roofing Knowledge (HARK), the Low-Slope Text and The Steep Roofing Manual
  • The Low-Slope Membrane Roofing Construction Details Manual (Fourth Edition)
  • The Metal Roofing Manual, the Sprayed Polyurethane Foam-Based Roofing Manual, and the "Low-Slope Roofing Specifications"
  • The Waterproofing & Dampproofing Manual and The NRCA Energy Manual.
  • Tthe NRCA/SPRI Manual Roof Inspection, Maintenance, and Emergency Repair of Single-Ply Roofing Systems
  • The ARMA/NRCA/SPRI Repair Manual for Low-Slope Membrane Roof Systems
  • The WSRCA Roofing Details and Applications Manual
  • The Tile Roofing Institutes TRI/WSRCA Concrete and Clay Roof Tile Installation Manual for Moderate Climate Regions.
  • The WSRCA's Principles of a Successful Below-Grade Waterproofing Project
  • Roofing Consultants Institute (RCI) 21st International Convention paper titled: "Performance Evaluation of Unexposed and Field-exposed Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) Roof Membranes" – 2006; by Jim Carlson, Ana H. Delgado, Ernie Rosenow, K.C. Barnhardt, and Ralph M. Paroli
  • 12th International Roofing and Waterproofing Conference, paper titled: "MRCA Roof Coatings Research" - A Progress Update - September 2002, Orlando, Florida; by James D. Carlson
  • 11th Conference on Roofing Technology paper titled: "Underlayment for Steep-Slope Roof Construction," September 21-22, 1995; Gaithersburg, Maryland; by James D. Carlson
  • 10th Conference on Roofing Technology, "Problems: Issues and Answers" paper titled: "Field Performance Research of APP Modified Bitumen Roof Membranes and Coatings", April 22-23, 1993; Gaithersburg, Maryland; by James D. Carlson
  • Conference of American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the Building Thermal Envelope Coordinating Council (BTECC), and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) paper titled: "In-Situ Thermal Performance of APP-Modified Bitumen Roof Membranes Coated with Reflective Coatings," December 7-10, 1992; Clearwater Beach, Florida; by James D. Carlson

Seminars and Presentations

Building Envelope Technology & Research (BET&R) is frequently invited to participate in local and national industry events. Among presentations recently given by BET&R are:

  • Waterproof Membranes Conference: Trends and Technical Developments in the International Industry held in Düsseldorf, Germany (October 2009)
  • Montana Roofing Contractors Association's (MRCA) Convention and Trade Show (January 2012 and 2009)
  • American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Symposium on Repair, Retrofit and Inspection of Building Exterior Wall Systems (Atlanta, Georgia, 2006):
    • Presented presentation titled, Evaluation and Repair of Earthquake Damaged Historical Building Façade: A Case Study Including Stabilization, Evaluation, Historical Restoration, Life Safety and Hazard Mitigation, and Coordination with FEMA.
  • Roofing Contractors Association (RCA) of Nevada Luncheon (February 2009)
  • Colorado Roofing Contractors Association Luncheon (November 2008)
  • 7th Annual Hawaii Roof Consultants Institute's (RCI) IV Winter Workshop (January 2007)
BET&R has prepared annual presentations for the Western States Roofing Contractors Association (WSRCA) for the past 12 years, and is frequently invited to present seminars to local contractors regarding building envelope issues that may impact their businesses, some of these presentations include:

  • WSRCA TPO 10th-Year Report and Debut of WSRCA's New TPO Repair and Maintenance Guidelines Document (May 2011)

  • WSRCA's Western Roofing Expo 2010, Las Vegas, Nevada (June 2010):
    • Above-Grade Waterproofing Technology - Deck Coating and Reinforced Waterproofing Membranes: What You Need to Know
    • How the 2009 IBC Affects You and the Roofing Industry
    • Issues with Shingles Specified on Lower Slope Roofs
  • WSRCA Convention and Trade Show (June 2008)
    • WSRCA Convention and Trade Show (June 2008
    • WSRCA Convention and Trade Show (June 2008
  • WSRCA Convention and Trade Show (June 2007):
    • Principals of a Successful Waterproofing Project
    • Low-Slope Roofing Design

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