Water Penetration Testing

Building Diagnostics Group, Inc. (BDG) performs field-testing procedures to evaluate the performance of installed windows, doors, storefronts, curtain walls, sloped glazing systems, skylights, ribbon windows, and exterior building facades for new construction quality assurance and diagnostic services to determine the cause of water intrusions.

Quality assurance water penetration testing is quickly becoming standard on most new construction projects. BDG testing professionals use only the highest quality testing equipment available to complete testing in accordance with written industry standards and testing protocols from either the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) or American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). Understanding the differences of each testing standard can be a daunting task. Our knowledgeable staff is ready to guide you through your next project to meet your product testing needs.

An independent testing firm is generally used to validate that windows, doors, storefronts, and curtain wall assemblies are installed to meet project specifications and product manufacturers’ installation requirements. Field testing for water penetration will determine the quality of subcontractors’ work, providing  accountability and ensuring that proper specifications were followed during the construction process. Typically these services are for quality assurance or new building commissioning. On new buildings, we perform baseline water testing to determine if fenestrations (windows/doors/penetrations) are properly flashed and sealed to prevent water infiltrations, typically testing 20% of the fenestrations at a property.

Our specialty is water damage cause & origin investigations. We use specialized calibrated water spray rack equipment to recreate reported water intrusions and accurately identify failure points in the building envelope. We recreate a simulated rainfall event in a controlled manner to find the exact source of the water infiltration, a procedure sometimes referred to as forensic water infiltration testing. This systematic approach is the only recommended method, as many times the actual source of water infiltration may originate from the surrounding construction. This information will be accurately documented so proper repair procedures can be executed. Once we identify the cause of the water infiltration, a scope of work can be written. Following the repairs, we typically retest the areas to determine if the repairs were performed correctly and verify that the water intrusion has been repaired. Our testing equipment is highly portable, so we can perform this service anywhere.

Below are the types of tests and links for additional details to the various performance specifications:

ASTM E 331 – Standard Test Method for Water Penetration of Exterior Windows, Skylights, Doors, and Curtain Walls by Uniform Static Air Pressure Difference 

ASTM E 547 – Standard Test Method for Water Penetration of Exterior Windows, Skylights, Doors, and Curtain Walls by Cyclic Static Air Pressure Difference

ASTM E 783 – Standard Test Method for Field Measurement of Air Leakage Through Installed Exterior Windows and Doors

ASTM E 1105 – Standard Test Method for Field Determination of Water Penetration of Installed Exterior Windows, Skylights, Doors, and Curtain Walls by Uniform or Cyclic Static Air Pressure Difference

ASTM C 1601 – Standard Test Method for Field Determination of Water Penetration of Masonry Wall Surfaces

ASTM C 1715 – Standard Test Method for Evaluation of Water Leakage Performance of Masonry Wall Drainage Systems

ASTM E 2128 – Standard Guide for Evaluating Water Leakage of Building Walls

AAMA 501.2 – Quality Assurance and Diagnostic Water Leakage Field Check of Installed Storefronts, Curtain Walls, and Sloped Glazing Systems

AAMA 502 – Voluntary Specification for Field Testing of Newly Installed Fenestration Products

AAMA 503 – Voluntary Specification for Field Testing of Newly Installed Storefronts, Curtain Walls, and Sloped Glazing Systems

AAMA 511 – Voluntary Guideline for Forensic Water Penetration Testing of Fenestration Products

Additionally, BDG performs modified versions in general accordance with the above tests, utilizing our high-resolution infrared camera equipment to identify water intrusions non-destructively. Although this does not meet many of the static pressure type standardized testing listed above, we never exceed the design pressure of a product or building component during these tests. The modified versions can be used to identify potential failures without expensive destructive testing, as most of the standardized testing requires disassembly of the building components. We generally use the modified testing procedures in all non-litigation projects. Read our published white paper, “Water Infiltration Testing Using Infrared Thermography.”

An in-depth evaluation of the building envelope enables the architect/engineer to develop accurate specifications for contractor bidding that are also used during construction. The quality of the initial field evaluation directly affects the quality and performance of repairs, as outlined in the specification documents. A thorough investigation also promotes an efficient design specification, thereby reducing the possibility of increased costs via change orders due to unforeseen conditions.

The time and expense of performing an initial, well-focused evaluation will save the building’s owner money in the long run and identify repairs that extend the service life of the building.

Give us a call to discuss your next project.