Importance of maintaining the building envelope in healthcare facilities
Maintaining and preserving the building envelope is an important part of a successful operational program, especially for facilities with significant interior spaces.
The building envelope represents the critical boundary between the outside environment and the air-conditioned interior, maintaining isolation from the environment and avoiding problems related to durability, water intrusion, and indoor air quality. To do so, we need to control and respond to environmental stress effectively.
By fully understanding architectural concepts and implementing effective maintenance programs in line with product manufacturer warranties, facilities can maintain performance, identify problems early, and extend the life of hull materials and components. increase.
Healthcare professionals have a basic understanding of how building envelopes are designed and constructed to ensure isolation from the environment, especially when trying to fix problems or disorders. is needed. For example, a common mistake facility maintenance personnel make is caulking or placing caulking where it should not be.
If you observe a drainage hole and an internal leak intended to drain water from the assembly, it seems intuitive to simply plug that hole. However, sealing the drain can make the problem worse. A proper understanding of how wall systems work and are constructed can help you avoid mistakes like this.
In general, envelope systems designed as barrier assemblies require and facilitate more maintenance than buried layers in cavity assemblies. Confidential materials are inaccessible and must be permanent. However, if the hidden control layer is not properly manufactured or installed, the problem can be costly to solve as the external or internal coating must be removed to access the material.
Facility Maintenance and Inspection
Due to the high demands on residents and overworked operational staff, aggressive inspections of building envelope may seem like a waste of time if there are no obvious problems, but they are not.
Sometimes envelope errors have already occurred and you don't notice them. For example, water can enter the building through a leaky roof. There, the building material deteriorates through mold and rot, which is not noticeable with freshly applied paint. A checking program could have caught this error before it became a serious problem. This early detection may make hospital rooms that would otherwise be closed available. Maintaining the hull, identifying problems, and minimizing large capital expenditures are some of the benefits of a successful maintenance program. It is widely recognized that an effective building envelope maintenance program is part of high-performance buildings, especially medical facilities.
Building owners can design a building envelope maintenance program in a number of ways. However, creating a comprehensive maintenance log is often the first step in implementation. Most logs include original or completed design documents, warranty records, and facility maintenance checklists. Checklists typically include a list of systems to inspect, such as roofs and sealants, and a list of things to look out for.
Many manufacturers provide building owners with maintenance checklists, so this is a good place to start. The checklist should summarize typical failure or emergency mechanisms but should also leave room for explanations of issues not included in the checklist. Documentation helps analyze repair strategies and predict replacement parts.
Most building envelope maintenance problems and failures often occur at the interfaces between systems. The inspection checklist should include items related to individual systems and focus on system interfaces. Hospital complexes usually consist of multiple buildings constructed at different times in the asset's useful life. Each building consists of a separate building envelope system standard during the facility's expansion period. It has been. This ongoing construction will lead to transitions between many different hull systems.
Transitioning between different building envelope systems usually requires maintenance or repair. Transitioning between the solid masonry walls of the 1930s and drainable cavity walls of the 1980s can be more prone to failure than transitioning between two similarly constructed systems. The connected lot also has several expansion joints through which the envelope moves while maintaining airtightness and water tightness.
The review should not rule out parking structures common to many hospitals. Park structures are unique in that their components are exposed to the elements and require similar considerations when constructing the envelope components of occupied buildings.
Inspection plans and schedules are then identified. Most roof manufacturers recommend inspecting your roof system at least twice yearly, usually in late fall and early spring. Degradation of building envelope components can often be attributed to exposure levels and levels of motion. B. Thermal or Structural. Therefore, the frequency of inspections may be based in part on the expected degradation rate and associated risks. Since vertical sealing joints are not exposed on the roof, they do not require frequent inspection cycles, and he recommends performing envelope inspections at least twice a year. Inspection may be required even in bad weather.
Most visual observations of the building envelope are made externally and do not affect facility operations. However, you should be careful to keep everyone involved informed of your work, no matter how trivial. Security personnel should be aware that more than one person is taking pictures of the property. While performing these tasks, the privacy of hospital tenants and staff should be verified with the appropriate personnel. Communicating before embarking on research work will help avoid unnecessary stress. Of course, maintenance personnel should fully understand the safety requirements before conducting any inspections.
After proper training and preparation, you can start testing. Depending on access and building geometry, binoculars may help provide the necessary magnification to detect defects. An elevator or slewing platform may be required for a more detailed investigation. Some processing systems can be complex. If you suspect something is wrong, document the condition and investigate later. Inspecting right after it rains may be helpful to see how the system is draining. For example, standing water next to a roof drain may indicate a clogged drain or improper slope. Photographs taken during the inspection document the condition and help identify changes during future inspections.
Building envelopes are often considered static, durable systems that require little or no maintenance. This is less and less true as many new facilities are designed and built with lower budgets, tighter schedules, and more complex materials.
Building owners are becoming increasingly sensitive to the facility maintenance of existing buildings, the costs associated with power outages, and energy consumption. Residents are also becoming more sensitive to healthy buildings and indoor air quality.
It has never been clearer that an effective building envelope maintenance program is a critical component of operating a high-performance healthcare facility.
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