ASTM 2128

The ASTM E 2128 (Standard Guide for Evaluating Water Leakage of Building Walls) describes methods for determining and evaluating causes of water intrusion of exterior walls. It’s the “unofficial” field guide for exterior wall consultants.

The standard defines the “wall” as a system; therefore, it includes the exterior cladding, structural components, fenestrations (windows and doors), and interior finish systems.

The ASTM E 2128 covers a variety of investigative techniques, including intrusive, disruptive, destructive, and non-destructive ways to determine the cause and origin of water intrusions. The appendix section contains specific information about sealants, masonry, windows and glass/metal curtain walls, Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS), cement stucco and tile systems, wood and manufactured wood-based siding systems, fiber-cement and cement bonded particle board siding systems, and precast concrete panels.

ASTM E 2128 references many other ASTM and AAMA standards, including the ASTM E 331, ASTM E 514, ASTM E 547, ASTM E 631, ASTM E 1105, AAMA 501.2, AAMA 502, and AAMA 503. Someone that is not familiar with the above standards should not use this guide, as it is the responsibility of the investigator to establish limitations of use, to identify limitations of the building components, and to anticipate and advise of the destructive nature of some of the guidelines.

The standard is a guide to provide building professionals with a comprehensive methodology for evaluating water intrusions.

It addresses the performance expectations, service history of a wall system, various components of a wall, and the interaction between these components and adjacent construction. The guide provides methodology for a systematic approach to an evaluation, including providing details on the initial evaluation, reviewing the service history, identifying the physical symptoms, visual inspecting reported intrusions, developing a hypothesis, recreating leaks while simulating normal rainfall, tracing and correlating intrusions, verifying the hypothesis, providing a final analysis, and accurately reporting through documentation.

We cannot express the importance of this practice.

Far too often, almost on a weekly basis, we receive inquiries that describe ongoing water intrusions that have been repaired repeatedly, but the building still leaks. Many consultants and repair contractors fail to accurately identify the root cause of an active water intrusion and recommend unnecessary repairs as a result. This can lead to multiple costly repairs. The time and expense to perform an initial, well-focused evaluation will save the building owner money and result in repairs that extend the service life of the building.

BDG specializes in forensic water intrusion investigations. Our systemic approach, proven techniques, and attention to detail have made us a recognized leader in forensic water intrusion investigations. BDG has extensive knowledge of most building systems and has be called upon in 50+ litigation projects ranging from residential, to high-rise condominiums, to multi-family apartment homes, to large industrial projects. When you really need to know … Call BDG!

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