Industry News


Efficiencies in Building Enclosure Performance BEC provides 5.25 learning units of HSW continuing education for designers

Increased awareness of the way energy is used by, for and in buildings demands closer attention be paid to the efficiency with which buildings are enclosed and perform. To this end, the Building Enclosure Council of Greater Detroit held its 5th annual day-long symposium. Experts from the US and Canada presented the latest information on topics driving industry best practices, codes and standards.

Understanding Air- Tightness in Buildings Lee Durston, senior building science consultant with Morrison Hershfield in Minnesota, explained the air tightness performance requirements for The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) as well as provided the history and learning curve of architects and contractors involved in this aggressive implementation of a performance-verified requirement.

Since 2009, the USACE has implemented an air tightness requirement in all new construction and building enclosure renovation projects. A whole building air leakage test and infrared survey are conducted at completion of construction to verify the constructed air barrier system’s performance. The current Air Leakage Test Protocol for Building Envelopes, developed by ERDC-CERL, the Air Barrier Association of America (ABAA), and other industry partners, published in May 2012, is in the final stages of becoming a formal ASTM.

The presentation included results of air tightness tests before and after new requirements were established and updated results for air leakage tests of more than 285 newly constructed and renovated large buildings. Durston provided a performance analysis of the design and construction process, air barrier materials, build ing use and construction types. He shared important lessons learned in design and construction QA/QC illustrating the importance of holistic envelope consulting. Data analysis clearly displayed the fact that requirements for air tightness in commercial construction, coupled with whole building air leakage testing to verify performance, is warranted. These data support decisions regarding air tightness levels to be adopted for commercial buildings on national and international levels.

Passive House in the US Bill McDonald, certified passive house consultant with Phoenix Home Performance and president of the Michigan Chapter of the Passive House Alliance explained that passive house is a strategy successfully adapted for commercial structures.

Passive House (Passiv Haus) has been thriving in Europe for more than 20 years. The standard focuses on building buildings so well and air-tight that they use no more than 20% of the heating/cooling energy of a traditionally built building and generate that energy from solar gain and internal loads like people and equipment, rather than mechanical systems. Passive House strategy includes items such as increased insulation, minimized thermal bridging in the envelope, building orientation, thermal mass and energy recovery ventilation.

McDonald also explained how Passive House principles could be applied to a retrofit using tools like WUFI, THERM and PHPP.

NFPA 285 – Use and Applications Jesse J Beitel, senior scientist and principal at Hughes Associates in Maryland, explained that NFPA 285-tested systems reduce potential for vertical flame spread by exterior walls. NFPA 285 performance has been verified by actual fire performance of exterior walls. NFPA 285 Standard Fire Test Method for Evaluation of Fire Propagation Characteristics of Exterior Non- Loadbearing Wall Assemblies Containing Combustible Components is used by the International Building Code (IBC) to evaluate the use of combustibles in noncombustible exterior walls of Type I – IV construction. This fire test evaluates vertical and lateral flame-propagation potential of wall systems containing combustible components such as: • Foam Plastic insulations – any height wall – §2603.5.5 • Combustible Veneers for use over 40′ – Metal Composite and Aluminum Composite Materials – §1407.1 – High Pressure Laminates – §1409.10 – EIFS – §1408.2 – Fiber Reinforced Plastics – §2612.5 • Water-resistive barriers for use over 40′ – §1403.5

The applicability and use of the NFPA 285 test results were discussed and several important points covered, including that the test applies to any exterior wall assembly where required by Code, is a test of a complete wall assembly, applies only to the tested construction (similar to ASTM E119) and appropriate extension of tested configurations is possible, within limits. Addition ally, substitutions of materials, addition of combustibles (insulation, WRBs, etc) and changes in configurations (air gaps, attachment systems, etc) may or may not cause different test results. Finally, a wall system made from a number of ASTM E84 Class A materials or made of a number of previously NFPA 285 tested materials does not ensure a successful NFPA 285 test.

IBC requirements for water-resistive barriers were discussed. Several exceptions to the basic requirements that have been adopted for the 2015 edition of IBC were highlighted.

Insulating Existing Loadbearing Masonry Buildings John F Straube, PhD, PEng, is a faculty member in the Department of Civil Engineering and the School of Architecture at the University of Waterloo, Ontario and a senior building scientist at Building Science Corporation who has been deeply involved in the areas of building enclosure design, moisture physics and whole building performance. Loadbearing brick and terracotta masonry buildings are an important part of many urban areas’ existing infra structure, especially in important regrowth areas such as downtown cores and brown fields. Whether historic or just plain old, such buildings often need to be repaired and modernized, which includes the possibility of insulating walls.

An overview of choices for saving energy and providing comfort in such buildings, before focusing on assessing and managing the risks of moisture damage, especially for interior insulation approaches was featured. New laboratory testing techniques, field experience and case studies from cold humid climate zones were highlighted and occupancy types considered.

TMS to solely sponsor TMS 402 and TMS 602

At the request of The Masonry Society (TMS), the American Concrete Institute (ACI) and the Structural Engineering Institute of the American Society for Civil Engineers (SEI/ASCE) have released their rights to future editions of TMS 402/ACI 530/ASCE 5 and TMS 602/ACI 530.1/ASCE 6 produced by the Masonry Standards Joint Committee (MSJC). This will allow TMS to develop and solely sponsor future editions of the standards provided TMS retains its accreditation by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

TMS has had the goal of being the foremost organization to develop masonry codes and standards since its formation in 1977. TMS produced standard 401, Standard Building Code Requirements for Masonry Construction, which in 1984 was adopted by the Uniform Building Code as its masonry provisions but TMS couldn’t be adopted to US Codes, as it was not an ANSI Accredited Standards Developing Organization. The MSJC was eventually formed, being sponsored by ACI, ASCE and TMS, with the first edition being released in 1992.

For nearly a decade, the Committee operated under the rules of all three organizations.

In late 2005, TMS became an ANSI Accredited Standards Developing Organization (SDO) and was identified as the lead sponsor of the pro visions. Since then, TMS has served the role of lead sponsor, which has required oversight of the provisions and support of the Committee, promulgating the standards at the Inter – national Code Hearings and other standards forums (such as ASCE 7 and BSSC) and publish ing the standards upon their approval.

TMS will now solely sponsor these standards and will publish and identify them simply as TMS 402 and TMS 602, Building Code Requirements and Specification for Masonry Structures. ACI and SEI/ASCE will continue to resell the standards in the future. In addition, representatives of ACI and SEI/ASCE have been invited to serve on the TMS 402/TMS 602 committee and to be involved in the develop – ment of future editions of the standards.

TMS, ACI and SEI/ASCE will continue to col la bo rate on many other activities in the future. For example, ACI and TMS work together on the development of fire resistance provisions for concrete and masonry in their ACI 216.1/TMS 216 standard. Likewise, ACI and TMS also have a joint committee on the energy efficiency of concrete and masonry structures, and are developing certification programs for masonry testing technicians, utilizing strengths of both organizations. Leaders in TMS hope that by the increased recognition TMS will gain as sole sponsor, TMS will be able to grow and become a stronger resource for the masonry community and a better partner to ACI and SEI/ASCE on areas of common interest.

TMS Annual Meeting

WORK COMPLETED AND CONTINUING ON MANY PROJECTS The Masonry Society (TMS) met in October to advance numerous projects, while providing a variety of educational opportunities for attendees. TMS is a professional organization dedicated to the advancement of knowledge on masonry. TMS Committees develop codes, standards, guides, seminars and other resources to assist those who design, construct or evaluate masonry.

TMS Annual Meeting provided an opportunity for attendees to learn more about the latest masonry research, design, codes and product innovations from knowledge – able professionals. A few highlights include: • The newly formed 2016 TMS Committee 402/602 (formerly designated as the Masonry Standards Joint Committee) met for the first time to begin revisions to 2013 Edition of Building Code Requirements and Specification for Masonry Structures. The Committee, lead by Dr Richard M Bennett of the University of Tennessee, is targeting completion of revisions to the Standards in 2016. • TMS Board of Directors approved the Design Practices Committee revisions to the Direct Design Handbook for Masonry Structures (TMS 403). A new edition of the Standard will be published this winter. The Direct Design Handbook provides a straightforward and relatively simple procedure to design single story masonry structures. The current edition of the Standard is referenced by the 2012 International Building Code (IBC) as an acceptable design method. This new edition will be referenced by the 2015 IBC. This new edition has been updated to be based on ASCE 7-10 which provides minimum loads to be applied to buildings. • TMS BIM-M (Building Information Modeling for Masonry) Committee met for its second time. The Committee is working to provide a structure for implementing and maintaining BIM for the masonry industry. • A seminar on Masonry Testing debuted, and served as a refresher to laboratory and field technicians who took the pilot ACI Certification for Masonry Testing Technicians, which TMS has assisted with for a number of years. Based on the results of that Pilot Program, the program is being refined and another pilot is expected in early 2014. • TMS presented its Special Inspection of Structural Masonry Construction Seminar. This seminar helps train potential inspectors preparing for the ICC/TMS Structural Masonry Special Inspectors Certification Examination. It also assists contractors, building officials and field engineers in under – standing critical aspects of masonry construction. This program, which has been presented in over two dozen cities, has been updated to comply with the 2012 IBC, 2011 MSJC and related standards. A similar seminar will be presented by TMS on January 22, 2014 in Las Vegas in conjunction with the World of Concrete/World of Masonry.

Many TMS volunteers were also recognized during the meetings for their outstanding contributions including: • David T Biggs received the Haller Award • John G Tawresey was the recipient of the 2013 President’s Award • Wolfram R Jaeger received the Scalzi Research Award • John Chrysler, Dennis Graber and Bill McEwen received 2013 TMS Service Awards • Najif Ismail received the Outstanding PhD Dissertation Awards • Rashid Popal received the Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award.

TMS is next meeting in Kansas City MO on April 22 – 26, 2014. The 2014 TMS Annual Meeting will be held in Phoenix AZ on October 9 – 14, 2014.

For more information TMS activities, visit If you would like to learn more about how to join a TMS Committee, become a member of TMS, or take advantage of one of TMS educational programs, call 303-939-9700 or email

Brent Nixon Named President/ CEO of CTLGroup

W Brent Nixon, PhD, PE, to take over responsibilities of President and Chief Executive Officer currently held by Timothy Tonyan, who has served as Interim President and CEO since June 2013. Dr Tonyan will serve as Senior Vice President, where he will report directly to Nixon and will focus his attention on business development, project management of multidisciplinary teams, promoting CTL Group’s expertise within the industry and managing of major client accounts.

Nixon will lead this global expert engineering consulting and material sciences firm into the future with the pursuit of technical excellence, client satisfaction and corporate performance. A 30-year engineer and military veteran in the construction industry, he brings executive management, operational and business development expertise with highly technical professionals and mission-focused teams in operational, professional service and academic organizations.

In the past 11 years as a Corporate Officer and VP of Science and Engineering at Environmental Chemical Corporation (ECC), he was instrumental in the evolution of ECC from a small remediation company into a global design-build, disaster response and remediation firm of 600 employees with annual revenue of $700 million.

He earned a PhD in Civil Engineering at the University of South Florida, a MBA from Barry University School of Business and a BS in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Cincinnati. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in Ohio, a Qualified Environmental Professional and a Designated Design-Build Professional.

Brampton Brick Acquiring Atlas Block Assets

Brampton Brick Limited has entered into a purchase agreement to acquire the assets of Atlas Block, including its state-of-the-art facility in Hillsdale ON.

Brampton Brick is Canada’s second largest clay brick manufacturer, serving Ontario, Quebec and the Northeast and Midwestern US from its manufacturing plants located in Brampton, ON and Terre Haute, IN. To complement the clay brick product line, Brampton also manufactures a range of concrete masonry products. The acquisition of Atlas Block will allow Brampton to add production capacity and take advantage of cost-saving synergies by consolidating production of similar items resulting in greater economies of scale. Enhanced technology at the Hillsdale facility supports initiatives to expand Brampton’s product portfolio and better service its masonry products customers.

Angelus Block Releases EPD

Angelus Block, manufacturer and supplier of concrete masonry products in Southern California, is the first US CMU producer to release an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD). It includes a substantial set of 69 individual mix designs for products from each of their seven CMU manufacturing locations.

An EPD communicates environmental impacts of a product in a scientifically recognized and compact format as a way to achieve product transparency “labels” akin to the nutrition information found on food products. EPDs have contributing roles in green rating systems such as LEED v4.

The initial release is an internally verified report. A Type III, third-party verified report is planned and pending a CMU-specific Product Category Rule (PCR) currently in development.

CSI hosting free webinars in January

Log in for continuing education at no cost in January, thanks to the Construction Specifications Institute. CSI’s education programs focus on teaching the roles and responsibilities of each team member, what the project manual really says and how products and materials interact.

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