Forensic Investigations

Forensic Investigations

BSC began its practice and established its reputation in building science by investigating problems related to the durability and performance of buildings. Forensic investigations of performance problems such as mold, rot, decay, odors, uncontrolled humidity, and poor indoor air quality remain a critical part of our practice, especially with the increasing complexity of architectural designs and the continuous development of more advanced (and often more moisture sensitive) building materials.

Humidity Control Investigation

BSC was asked to investigate an 8-year old assisted care facility in a mixed-humid climate, which was experiencing interior humidity control problems, including interior dampness, mold growth on furniture and walls, and musty odors. BSC’s field work included examination of the building enclosure (shell) and measurements and analysis of the installed mechanical systems.

Window Leakage

BSC was asked to examine bulk water intrusion issues occurring at windows (and window-wall interfaces) in recently built residential construction. The residences were a modern design, with low-slope roofs, no overhangs, and multiple cladding types and colors; the exterior wall sheathing was either OSB structural panel or structural rigid foam, with the exterior surface taped as the water control layer (drainage plane). The client reported that the window leaks typically began to occur over time, after the first year of operation.

Multi-Tenant Retail Building

Complaints of intermittent sewer gas odors were reported in a two-story commercial building that included a restaurant and other tenant stores. BSC was retained by the building owner to help locate the cause of the odor. BSC testing to locate the odor included measuring pressure relationships between the building spaces under various conditions, reviewing a timeline of climate conditions during the time when the odor had been reported (wind speed, temperature, humidity, barometric pressure) and induced pressure differences to amplify the odor.

Precast Wall Warehouse

BSC investigated a 25-year old precast wall warehouse that was experiencing moisture and staining issues at the office space walls. The moisture issues originated at the exterior walls above the 2nd floor office ceiling, and were ascribed to seasonal condensation/frosting issues that then melted.

Mixed-Use Building

BSC investigated floor issues at a 4 year old wood frame mixed use building (office and residential) in Climate Zone 5A. This work was prompted by severe subfloor rot at areas above a slab on grade. BSC was asked to determine the cause of the damage, ascribe responsibility, and provide recommendations for build-back in a moisture-safe manner.

Coastal Massachusetts House

BSC investigated a house under construction in a coastal Massachusetts location; although dry-in and cladding had been completed, rainstorms consistently resulted in water leakage to the interior, with visible pooling on the floor. BSC was asked to determine the source of these water issues, and provide recommendations for addressing this leakage before building interior completion.