Engineering the Future
Water Testing: Friend or Foe?04:08:00 PM on 08/31/2010
Based on the title, you probably already know which side of the aisle you fall on. Architects, building owners, testing labs and consultants love water tests that shine a spotlight on any hidden defects that could pose future problems for a structure. Contractors, glaziers and even some product designers rue the day of water testing. Okay, so maybe both of these stances are exaggerations, but for some they aren’t far off.
Why do we get all worked up over water testing? Simple - it is a critical path item on most every project nowadays whose outcome can propel or hinder a project. What we in the industry must realize is that water testing is necessary, but not necessarily bad. The key is to understand the testing purpose, methods and procedures, as well as what is permitted within the scope of the test.
Unfortunately water testing procedures are sometimes misunderstood or flat out not followed. I have seen garden hoses used in numerous AAMA (American Architectural Manufactureres Association) 501.2 tests with no water pressure gauge, AAMA 502 tests performed in high wind conditions and even a fire hose being used in lieu of ASTM E1105 test.
Even when procedures are followed correctly and proper equipment is used, leaks in the field - can and do, still occur in fenestration products that have already been lab certified. How could this be? After all field tests are supposed to be more generous, allowing more air/water penetration to account for field conditions. Construction oversights and deficiencies in the adjacent construction to the fenestration account for much of the leaks observed. However, when true fenestration leaks do occur, having a good plan in place allows you to solve these issues quickly and correctly.
The following steps will make sure water testing is your friend:
So while water testing can reveal leaks and deficiencies, take heart in knowing that revealing those now, will prevent you from seeing the effects of those leaks down the line. Allowing water testing to be your friend will make for a better project now and in the future.
Trivia – In what year was AAMA (American Architectural Manufacturers Association) formed?