Building Diagnostics

Moisture Management in the Built Environment:

The failure to control moisture in the built environment can result in building product damage, possible structural failure, and poor indoor air quality. Water and moisture related insurance claims top all other insurance loss claims and may equal more than 80% of total claims. In addition, approximately 80% of construction litigation involves moisture and water related building issues.

Controlling moisture penetration and moisture accumulation in building assemblies before, during, and after construction can be a daunting task and many times it is overlooked. Moisture damage typically occurs when the rate of moisture entry into the building assembly exceeds the rate of moisture removal.

The building systems involved in moisture management include:

  • The Foundation
  • The Walls
  • The Roof
  • The heating, ventilating, & air conditioning system (HVAC system)

Moisture control strategies should be developed during the initial design stage and should consider the three basic strategies:

  1. Control of moisture penetration
  2. Control of moisture accumulation (avoiding the use of water sensitive materials in areas most likely to get wet is also helpful)
  3. Controlled drying of the building assembly and/or moisture removal

The most important sources of moisture affecting our buildings are:

  • Rainwater
  • Ground water
  • Air transport
  • Vapor diffusion

Water Intrusion Diagnostics:

Water testing or water intrusion diagnostics are primarily performed to establish cause and origin of water intrusion through the building enclosure. In addition, it is often performed to validate that assemblies have been installed to meet project specifications and manufacturers installation guidelines prior to building commissioning. The SEBS team is an industry leader in forensic water testing methods often identifying conditions that others overlook. We perform this service on wall systems, windows, doors, roof systems, and foundations for Architects, Engineers, Law firms, Manufacturers, Contractors, and building owners. Upon identification of the cause or causes, a written scope of work can be generated. Upon correction, the areas can be re-tested to confirm the repairs were effective.


Water intrusion diagnostics are generally performed in accordance with ASTM Standards.

Building Envelope/Water Intrusion Diagnostic Procedures:

  • ASTM 2128-01 “Standard Guide for Evaluating Water Leakage of Building Walls”
  • ASTM 1105-00 “Standard Test Method for Field Determination of Water Penetration of Installed Exterior Windows, Skylights, Doors, and Curtain Walls, by Uniform or Cyclic Static Air Pressure Difference”
  • ASTM F1869-04 “Standard Test Method for Measuring Moisture Vapor Emission Rate of Concrete Subfloor Using Calcium Chloride”
  • ASTM F2170-09 “Standard Test Method for Determining Relative Humidity in Concrete Floor Slabs Using in situ Probes”

*Note that certain test procedures may be modified, as required, for field conditions and/or other conditions.