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|One of eight primary systems in a building.
enclosure (also known as the building “envelope” or "facade") separates
environment from the interior environment of the building. It is analogous to the
skin on the human
The enclosure system has the following general attributes:
Physical analyses of the systems can be found at:
Some of the primary assemblies in the enclosure includes assets such as:
The photographs to the right show some of the different facets of the enclosure system.
Listed below are some sample questions that are utilized in a facility condition assessment:
Risk management is about identifying the undesirable things that could happen to the organization, to the people who live and work in the building(s) and the things that must be done to avoid (or to lessen) the negative impact.
Some of the primary risks that are to be avoided or mitigated through management of the enclosure system are as follows:
Operations is about the day-to-day activities in the building that must be coordinated amongst different people with a variety of skills. Listed below are some of the things that should be considered in estimating the level-of-effort to directly operate (or indirectly care for) the enclosure assets and the composition of the team that will be required.
Maintenance is work done to preserve the enclosure assets over their useful service lives, without unforeseen repairs or major renewal. Included below is a summary of the things to consider for ongoing maintenance and periodic repairs of the different components of the enclosure system.
Many of the enclosure assets do not lend themselves well to time-based maintenance strategies and are better suited to condition-based maintenance. Essentially this means that the frequency and scope of maintenance of the enclosure is dependent on exposure conditions and weather conditions. This makes it difficult to set up regular maintenance schedules (as in the case of the electrical and mechanical systems). Included below is a few examples of maintenance activities on enclosure assets:
One of the most significant signs of distress in the enclosure system is water leaks into the building. Repairs to the enclosure system can be very expensive. Also, managers must be careful to steer clear of cheap solutions that will not last. Since the enclosure system is comprised of many layers, it is often difficult to trace the source of the problem and affect the correct repair. A specialist should be engaged for all enclosure repairs.
Capital planning is about making appropriate financial preparations as each of the enclosure assets approaches the end of their respective service lives. As assets get beyond a certain age, maintenance is no longer sufficient to stop their physical deterioration (or slow down their obsolescence) and plans need to be made to replace and/or upgrade some (or all) of the components.
The building enclosure system contains some of the most expensive assets that will ever need to be replaced. Typical projects include roof renewals (see figure below), balcony and deck membrane replacement, exterior re-cladding and re-glazing.
Listed below are different types of capital projects in the enclosure system:
Financial analyses of the systems can be found at:capital load of the enclosure system generally overshadows all the other systems.
Energy Management Considerations
The enclosure system presents the most significant opportunities for improved energy efficiencies in buildings, such as the installation of new thermally improved windows. Since projects in the enclosure system are some of the most expensive that the building will ever face, occur infrequently and can have the most dramatic energy paybacks, they are sometimes referred to as “deep energy retrofits”. These types of deep retrofit projects can be undermined by a lack of a holistic approach to energy efficiency.
For example, it may be advantageous to the organization to coordinate the replacement of walls and windows. It is important to recognize that improvements to the energy efficiency of the enclosure system can reduce the load requirements of the mechanical and electrical systems inside the building. Energy modeling should therefore be done by a qualified consultant to guide the organization as to appropriate scope of work and review of the different energy efficiency options.
Fig. Windows and glazing systems are generally long-life assets and form part of the enclosure (envelope) system..
Fig. Human physiology as an analogy to illustrate the importance of system interaction and comparing the enclosure system to the dermatological system.
Fig. Distribution of short-life, medium-life and long-life assets within each of the eight primary physical systems.
Fig. Samples of different types of roofs, which are predominantly medium-life assets with service lives ranging from 20-30 years. The single exception is this set is the sloped metal roofs which are a long-life asset.
Fig. The capital load distributed across the eight primary physical systems for different types of buildings.
Fig. Some examples of long life assets within the building enclosure system.
Fig. The 10-year tactical plan for a building that indicates the impact of the enclosure system on the capital load, which is significantly higher than the other systems.
Fig. Cedar shingle roof retrofitted to asphalt shingle.
Fig. Wood siding is an example of one of the building enclosure assets, which falls into the walls sub-system.
Fig. Polyurethane roof (12 year life) replaced with upgraded SBS roof (20 year life).
Fig. Conceptual representation of the interconnected systems in buildings.
Fig. Seasonal maintenance program represented by system. The building enclosure requires maintenance predominantly in the summer and fall seasons.
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