Lawyer Monthly - February 2023

What services does Fortress BEC offer in this area? Our firm helps with the design of the roofing, weather barrier (WRB for short), waterproofing and other components. We often help architects and owners to provide better designs, detailing and material selection on new projects. We also undertake design work as the prime firm on many renovations and remodelling projects. Testing during construction and observations for compliance are both important aspects of our services. We also provide condition assessments for building reviews as well as forensic and legal help when things go wrong. How can building envelope expertise aid in legal matters? According to the American Institute of Architecture (AIA) as well as other construction-related organisations, moisture-related issues are one of the main causes of litigation in today’s market. When water enters a structure, numerous problems can and will likely develop. These include everything from a minor inconvenience to more severe issues. Water intrusion into any building can, and likely will, damage the building components. This can result in a myriad of problems, such as a loss of R value within the building assembly, unsightly stains, mould, mildew and other biological growth as well as slip-and-fall hazards. A knowledgeable building envelope expert can help legal firms to determine the cause of the damage, the extent of the problems and pathways for remediation. What sort of matters are you generally engaged on? We continue to help in the design phase on both new construction and renovation/ replacement work for roofing, walls, waterproofing and more. Testing in the form of ASTM water testing methods of high and low voltage of roofs and plaza decks, infrared and capacitance scans and other procedures can be utilised. There remain significant challenges in the construction field due to labour shortages and a lack of proper training increases the need for project oversight. How have you witnessed the construction industry develop during your time in practice? Since we started in the mid-1980s, the building construction envelope has evolved dramatically. Building materials and construction practices have changed – some for the better, some not so much. We are asking for a lot more of our structures than we used to, mainly in the increased demand for energy efficiency. These demands have moved the market EXPERTWITNESS 69 Building materials and construction practices have changed – some for the better, some not so much.

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