building envelope engineeringDepending on how much you know about the engineering industry, you may or may not have heard of building envelope engineering. However, it is a very important part of the engineering process, and involves the three basic components of a structure: the foundation, the walls and the roofing. If these parts of the building are not structurally sound, then the building itself is unstable and not fit for human use. It turns out that all three of these building components have one uniform purpose. The purpose of this article is to educate you on what they are, and how they’re a significant part of what structural engineers have to think about when they plan out an engineering project.

Buildings should have safeguards against unwanted moisture.

This is perhaps one of the first rules of structural engineering. If a building isn’t built well, any moisture that drips onto the building—whether from precipitation or other means—becomes a liability. An improperly sealed structure can potentially allow moisture inside of it, which spells trouble for the structure by way of mildew, rotting and other unpleasant side effects of moisture left to sit for too long a time. Most buildings are built so they dry out when exposed to moisture, especially since it is an inevitable fact that moisture will get on (and sometimes in) a structure. This is most often accomplished through careful placement of insulation, especially in roofing.

Structures should protect against unwanted air leakage.

Any place where the parts of a housing structure meet run the risk of air leakage. Specifically, this would be where the roof and walls, walls and floor, and floor and foundation all meet each other; however, there are other places in structures that possess this same risk. Commercial building design typically relies upon sealants to protect against this potential issue.

The ideal commercial building should have temperature regulation.

You don’t want to pay for temperature control methods, such as air conditioning or heating, only to have your office undermine it by either allowing its insides to get too warm or too cool. For structural engineers, the solution to this is, again, proper insulation techniques. Insulation is meant to help with air and temperature by locking in the air you want and keeping out the air you don’t. Another common component for this purpose are windows.

Water and buildings do not mix.

The materials that the surface of every building are made from are meant to be water-resistant. No water is supposed to get through, and if it does, structural engineers make sure that there is something there to keep it from getting too far into the structure. This usually translates to asphalt and/or a well-made drainage system, the latter being especially relevant for commercial buildings with basements or underground storage.

For new and existing commercial structures, these factors of building envelope engineering all apply. If you suspect there are any problems with your building in these four areas, contact us to submit an inquiry. We can inspect your commercial space and make sure it’s in tip-top shape!