Contact a Professional Before You Tackle That Leak

Old or new, no building is perfect. Water leakage at windows, roofs and exterior walls is fairly common. When this happens, often the first reaction of a building owner, property manager or association board is to immediately reach out to a contractor to fix the problem.

While this might seem like a sound solution, in many cases what you think is a permanent fix is actually only a band-aid covering the real issue.  Before a leakage problem can be fully resolved, one must first understand WHY there is an issue–Is the joint sealant failed and aging? Is there missing flashing, open mortar joints, cracked or deteriorated concrete? Are there tears in the roof system? Or, was the window just left open during a rain storm?

Although, a water leakage may seem relatively harmless, it can cause significant damage to your building. If not properly treated, water leaks can result in structural failures and harm building components. Poor water management within an exterior wall system can cause masonry wall ties to corrode and no longer provide the lateral support needed for the wall system. This can result in a collapsed façade wall–ending in fines, costly repairs or even injury to the general public.

A firm with expertise in areas that encompass structural engineering, architectural engineering/design and roof consulting is better qualified to ensure that your leakage problem is correctly diagnosed. Because of their multi-disciplinary expertise, this type of firm can also recommend the most effective, and permanent, resolution to your issue based on the cause (roof weakness, structural erosion, etc.). Depending upon the severity of the problem, a four-phased approach may be utilized:

  1. Investigation
    During this phase, the firm will assign a professional to review available construction drawings and reports pertaining to the existing conditions. The leakage areas will be visually evaluated to determine the extent of the reported problem. Testing may be necessary to confirm the findings and/or recreate the leak. In some cases, additional exploratory services may be required (i.e., removing building components to examine the structural framing and any deterioration to building components).
  2. Construction Documents
    One of the firm’s professionals will develop repair documents, consisting of drawings and specifications, to define and quantify the scope of work required on the building interior or façade. These documents will be used by contractors to prepare their bids.
  3. Bidding
    Bidding documents will be prepared to solicit bids from a pre-qualified bidders list. An expert from the professional firm will be available during the bidding process to answer bidder questions, provide clarification, and prepare addenda. Once the bids have been submitted by the contractors, the professional will prepare a bid summary for the client to review. For more extensive or problematic repairs, the presence of one of the firm’s structural engineering, architectural or roof consulting professionals may also be necessary at contractor interviews to ensure that the contractor’s bid meets the owner’s timeline and budgetary requirements for the job.
  4. Construction Administration
    Once the contractor has been selected, the professional firm will draft a contract (AIA A101 Agreement between Owner and Contractor) and request a construction schedule from the contractor. During construction, the firm will evaluate the contractor’s work during site visits and endeavor to guard the owner against defects in construction. The firm will also review certificates for payments, submittals, changes in the work, and projected completion of the work.

When work is substantially complete, the firm’s professionals will review and issue a Certificate of Substantial Completion. The certificate commences the warranty period and contains a punch list of incomplete work items. Once the punch list is complete, a final review of the project will be conducted prior to approving the contractor’s final application for payment.

K2N Crest offers expert diagnostic professionals who can help ensure that your building leakage issues are addressed accurately at the source of the problem. They also can provide valuable guidance and oversight to any construction repair work needed to repair building leaks or other structural issues.

K2N Crest is a full service Structural / Architectural Engineering, Architectural and Roof Consulting firm. With our origin as structural and architectural engineers, we have specialized expertise in diagnostic investigations, remedial design, and repair to all types and ages of buildings and structures. For over 25 years we have provided our clients throughout the United States with solutions to resolving problematic issues.