Firm has vast experience, expertise in building envelope systems that ensure, enhance longevity, efficiency of structures
A chemical company hired architects and engineers to design a manufacturing plant when a fatal flaw came to light: leakage that prevented maintenance of temperatures and humidity levels in the narrow range needed to keep the chemicals stable. They were forced to halt production for weeks.
REI Engineers, the building enclosure experts, were called in to provide air infiltration testing and hydrothermal analysis. They determined the structure required additional insulation and air barriers, and designed modifications to existing walls that included those components. Renovation shut the plant down another few weeks.
The cost to remediate the problem was 10 times the cost of preventing it — which would have involved REI at the design phase.
Building owners, architects, engineers, property managers and others bring in REI Engineers at the design phase for their expertise in creating a continuous outer enclosure system. Many building issues occur at the intersection of dissimilar materials, like the exterior walls and the roof, and at openings in the enclosure, like the perimeters of windows.
Advances in materials have created an almost infinite matrix of combinations between walls and roofs, and other transition points. Even the best general construction engineers are challenged to remain current on all the possible solutions. That is where REI comes in.
REI Engineers has the specialized skills and knowledge to provide design or design review services for roofing, exterior walls and below-grade waterproofing of new and existing projects. When included at the design stage, their collaborations with architects reduce average energy use on existing buildings by 16%, and on new projects by 13%.
REI also helps buildings fulfill their expected life cycle. When structures designed to last decades suffer unwanted air and water infiltration after five or 10 years, it can dramatically reduce their life span.
Most architects, engineers, hospitals and schools are well aware of REI’s unique value early in the process. Municipalities have been slow to recognize it, perhaps because their new construction projects are generally more standard and include fewer architectural flourishes. Moreover, decision makers may be more focused on short-term, bottom-line savings, rather than on long-term sustainability issues. But municipal buildings require the same level of upfront attention to the structural enclosure to perform properly and last for decades.
The City of Charleston learned this lesson in its development of the new International African American Museum, slated for opening in 2022. REI was hired to test the installation of building materials and detected issues with the enclosure. By providing new designs that will avert any potential long-term problems before the construction phase, REI helped avert compromising the integrity of Charleston’s newest historic cultural landmark.