Construction Specifier E-book on Protecting Against Water Intrusion

Construction Specifier's e-book on protecting against water intrusion is a must read for industry professionals.

With Hurricane Michael having just left the Florida Panhandle a wet mess — pummeling the built environment and everything in its path with wind and rain — it seems timely to mention a valuable e-book that Construction Specifier has published on water intrusion.

The primer — Protecting Against Water Intrusion— is part of the publication’s “Best of Series” and features four sections. The first outlines the seven “Ps” for successful rainscreen design and execution. Those “Ps” would be: product selection; penetration in the air vapor barrier; perimeters; parapets; pre-installation preparation and testing; positive drainage and of course… performance.

In the next section — “Put Penetrations to the Test” – two architects discuss the effect of cladding attachments on air and water barriers. They note that building enclosure design involves balancing the demands of air and water protection with the thermal requirements.

Chapala One luxury condominiums in Santa Barbara, CA needed a reliable waterproof enclosure to eliminate water intrusion on both vertical and horizontal surfaces.

They conclude that available guidelines for detailing and testing the installed AWB with the cladding attachments can be scarce, and installation practices are not consistent from project to project. They argue for a need to develop installation methods that will provide durable and resilient solutions, as well as consensus on test standards to validate the air and water tightness.

The third section — “There’s More Than One Way to Skin a Building” — offers practical considerations for combining face-and concealed-barrier walls. It presents design concepts for incorporating face-barrier elements into primarily concealed air and water barrier systems, as well as noting some of the construction challenges characteristic of these combination façade systems.

Liberty High School in Renton, Washington installed a high-build vapor barrier to minimize the risk of water damage.

The title of the final white paper — “The Perils of Moisture” – echoes a truism that comes as no surprise to professionals in the built environment: moisture intrusion can be nasty and costly. The piece provides a thorough overview of how air barriers can prevent moisture intrusion. Authored by Karine Galla, a product manager at Sto Corp. who has over 16 years of experience in the EIFS, stucco and AMB business, the article advocates for an impermeable air barrier system, applied continuously throughout the exterior of a building structure.


Architectural Photography Award Finalists Announced

Sto has been a major sponsor of the prestigious Architectural Photography Awards since their inception in 2012.

The shortlist for the prestigious Architectural Photography Awards has been published and, as always, it includes an eclectic collection of breathtaking images.

Turkish photographer Omer Kanipak photographed children peering through Wolfgang Buttress’ installation, The Hive, at the Royal Botanic Gardens in England.

Hundreds of photographers from 47 countries entered in the competition which included four main categories — exterior, interior, buildings in use, and “sense of place” – all intended to showcase the artistry of architectural photography. The 20 photographs chosen as finalists will be exhibited at the World Architecture Festival in Amsterdam from November 28-30, where the winners will also be announced.

Italian photographer Marco Tagliarino entered an image of the historic Piazza Duomo designed by Italo Rota into the Sense of Place category.

The 20 stunning photographs chosen as finalists include a seashore chapel in Qinhuangdao, northeast China, as well as an abandoned power station in Budapest, the timber-clad lobby of Bloomberg’s European headquarters, and a provocative shot of swimmers wading into waters where the Yangtze and Jialing rivers meet in Chongqing, China with the site of a modern new building complex by Safdie Architects looming in the background. Two of the final photos were inspired by the same architectural wonder — The Hive in London — and both images could not be more disparate.

British photographer James Newton captured ‘The Vortex’ — a timber lobby in Bloomberg’s European headquarters in London.

An expert panel of judges will select winners in the four categories as well as in two additional areas: Portfolio and Mobile. The new Portfolio category asked for 46 photographs of one architectural project and the Mobile category (as you no doubt surmised) called for photographs taken on mobile devices.

Since its inception in 2012, the Architectural Photography Award program has grown in global stature. Thanks for this go to the World Architecture Festival and to Sto – a façade and interior system manufacturer; Sto has been an ardent supporter and sponsor of the competition from the very beginning.


Sto Products Showcased at CONSTRUCT Expo

Sto products and wall systems will be featured at the CONSTRUCT conference in Long Beach, California this week.

As the three-day CONSTRUCT Conference & Expo gets underway this week in Long Beach, California, Sto will be in the thick of it all at the convention center there, showcasing the company’s state-of-the-art building materials and systems to professionals from the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industries.

The University of Florida Health Facility is one of Sto’s many projects where exterior insulation and finish systems were put to good use.

Sto’s new generation of Exterior Insulation Finish Systems (EIFS) will be featured, including wall systems with StoGuard air and moisture barriers, and StoTherm ci continuous insulation options. You can also experience Sto’s wide range of exterior finishes that can ensure a project looks as good as it performs.

The CONSTRUCT expo is a national show bringing professionals in the AEC industry together to gain real-world, practical knowledge for improved building success. It’s a great venue for staying up-to-date on the latest trends, for continuing education and for experiencing first- hand a wide range of building solutions and systems.

Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School in Oswego, Oregon is a study in Sto air and moisture barrier technology.

Come by and visit the Sto technical experts at CONSTRUCT this week – Booth #850 — at the Long Beach Convention Center. Learn how smarter building envelopes can boost a building’s performance or learn all about Sto’s robust Hurricane Impact Systems. Constructing a tighter, better building envelope can make a big difference. After more than 100 years of doing business worldwide, Sto knows.

Inspira Medical Center in Vineland, New Jersey, added two-floors to their acute care facility in “record” time thanks to Sto panel technology.

A global leader in integrated exterior wall systems, Sto offers a broad range of next-generation building envelope solutions and coating systems for building construction, maintenance and restoration. You can get to know them better at CONSTRUCT.


Sto Werkstatt Launches Pop-Up Exhibitions & Speaker Series

Sto Werkstatt in London which has been a resource for architects and builders the past 5 years, is taking their show on the road with pop-up exhibitions, speaker events and other forums for industry leaders.

What are the next generation of architects and designers thinking these days? Stay tuned and look for an upcoming Werkstatt program in your virtual neighborhood.

After five successful years of hosting events at the Sto Werkstatt studio and materials library at Clerkenwell in London, the company has closed its studio and is taking its programs on the road. Starting earlier this year, they launched a new “nomadic” program of exhibitions, talks, project consultations along with their Sto Materials sample service.

The first such program of “Sto Werkstatt Presents” was in July of this year in London, with David Thulstrup, a Danish master in the composition of material, color and form, and Ellie Stathaki, Architecture Editor of Wallpaper* discussing “Designing for Wellness & Wonder”. This first pop-up speaker program organized by Sto Werkstatt revolved around an earlier exhibition in Milan at Salone del Mobile where Sto showcased their StoSilent acoustical panel system. Thulstrup discussed how the sensual qualities of materials and design can contribute to comfort and livability within the built environment as demonstrated at the Milan salon.

These Sto pop-up installations in the U.K. will continue to be a valuable resource for architects and the building industry, providing inspiration and knowledge. The rest of us will be able to tap these global trends online. The goal for Sto is to work closely with design professionals — offering specifications, details and advice that is tailored to a project’s geographical location and environmental requirements.

For more information on Sto Werkstatt standard and bespoke materials library as well as upcoming exhibitions and events —


Hurricane Restoration and Planning for the Next One

Condominum complex damaged in hurricane argues for resilient design solutions to mitigate damage from storm winds.

Hurricane force winds are relentless and, as we’ve learned, they do not differentiate or discriminate. Any structure in the storm’s path may be at risk, and while no building is entirely safe, some are more resistant to damage than others due to resilient design and construction.

So, in the aftermath of a devastating storm, it behooves property owners to carefully assess damaged structures and consider restoration and repairs that will mitigate future storm damage. Whether the plan is to repair, restore or rebuild a storm-ravaged building, there are many solutions today that can help withstand high winds and water damage in the future. In many cases, a relatively small up-front investment can result in big future savings based on losses avoided.

The weather’s not getting better, but builders are getting smarter

Hurricane protection used to be limited to building on pillars to elevate a structure above the flood zones, using wind-resistant concrete block construction and putting up hurricane shutters. Well, we’re a long way from Kansas Toto, and the art of hurricane protection for the built environment has come a long way since then.

New high-performance materials and components and improved construction methods offer much greater resistance to the forces of nature that cause damage. Builders who adopt the best technology for resilient construction and restoration — before and after a hurricane — can help ensure that commercial structures better withstand nature’s fury

Today’s state-of-the-art building materials can help fortify structures against hurricane hazards: winds, flying debris, and flooding from rain or storm surges. Cost-effective, hurricane-resistant building materials and technology do exist and can help the built environment withstand these extreme weather events.

When windows burst from high winds, buildings can pressurize as wind rushes in, popping off the roof. New roof attachment methods can add strength, and spray-foam adhesives (which are applied on the inside of the house’s roof and double as insulation) are rated for higher wind speeds. To deal with flooding, hydrostatic vents can allow water into the home but stop floodwaters from accumulating, potentially degrading its walls and foundation.

A few basic structural upgrades can make for improved performance and help keep coastal structures safe including: properly designed footings, pilings and flow-through designs, a continuous load path to resist wind uplift; strong lateral bracing (or engineered shear walls) to resist the sideways pressure of wind; hardened or protected windows and doors to resist penetration by wind-borne debris. There are also exterior cladding options to protect against storm winds, water intrusion, and wind-borne debris — the leading causes of building envelope failure in hurricanes.

Most of these systems can be installed economically on a variety of construction types, including metal frame with gypsum sheathing, wood or steel frame with plywood sheathing, or concrete masonry. Improved watertight and water-shedding exterior insulation systems that resist rain penetration in storms are also available and come in a variety of decorative and protective wall finishes, offering aesthetics as well as protection against some of the most severe weather conditions in North America.

Lessons Learned – Invest Now for Future Savings

South Florida is the heart of hurricane country and the area where many wind-resistant structural solutions have been introduced, developed, and proven in the field. After Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Florida codes were the first in the nation to toughen up. And in the heavy hurricane years of 2004 and 2005, Florida’s tougher building practices paid off: newer structures in the state suffered less damage from storm winds than older buildings did. In the Miami-Dade County, Florida area, NOA has established stringent construction criteria for impact resistance, air and water infiltration, and wind load resistance

Building codes are the baseline defense against hurricane damage. Improved building codes in Florida (the most stringent in the nation) after Hurricane Andrew required installing impact windows, using stronger ties between roofs and walls, and securing roof shingles with nails instead of staples. And indeed, newer buildings built to code fared better during Hurricane Irma.

Strong, enforceable building codes play a huge role in prompting architects, engineers and contractors to embrace the concept of resilient design. Texas state officials, with the support of the local building community and regulatory agencies, announced a $61 billion plan to rebuild after Hurricane Harvey devastated the southeast area of the state with wind, rain and floodwaters, and resilient measures are part of the plan.

FEMA has actually proposed policies to incentivize states and municipalities to take a more proactive role in mitigating damage—which will also mitigate recovery and restoration costs. FEMA has also developed publications and guidance on coastal construction in hurricane prone areas published by FEMA’s Building Science Branch.

In addition, the U.S. Green Building Council has adopted a new resilient construction standard called RELi. The new certification system includes some LEED practices and gives property owners points for adaptive design features which mitigate the impact of extreme weather.

National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) study recently determined that for every federal grant dollar spent on disaster resiliency and mitigation, the U.S. can save an average of six dollars. These are impressive numbers to keep in mind.

Another plus: NIBS also projected that implementing resiliency measures and building to stricter codes could create 87,000 new long-term jobs and increase the use of American-made construction materials by 1%.


Skyscrapers Reach for New Heights

According to a recent study, skyscrapers are going to continue reaching for the stars and with this high rise building trend, the value of prefab, insulated wall panels will increase.

As reported in Durability & Design a new study looking at socio-economic trends over the next 30 years suggests that the construction of skyscrapers will continue to climb. Estimates are that around the globe there will be 6,800 skyscrapers per 1 billion people compared to 800 skyscrapers per 1 billion people today.

The recent study by Jonathan Auerback and Phyllis Wan also predicts that future skyscrapers will stand 50 percent taller than those towering above us today. This forecast is not startling if you consider increasing population density in urban centers. After all, going “up” is about the only option for accommodating more people in the same amount of ground space.

 AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili

According to the study, the construction and average height of skyscrapers has increased steadily over the years. In 1950, they tended to average close to 500 feet tall (or 40 floors); those numbers have gone up 8% every year since then, and the average height of a skyscraper today has doubled. If this pattern continues, the number of skyscrapers will outpace the 2 percent annual growth of urban populations, and by 2050, an additional 41,000 skyscrapers will have been constructed.

There are some really tall buildings out there now, such as the Burj Khalifa (828 meters tall in Dubai), and there is every indication skyscrapers will continue reaching for the heavens.  The Jeddah Tower (Saudi Arabia) which will be finished in 2020, will be 1,000 meters tall.  The other interesting statistic that emerged from the study is that as the height of skyscrapers increases, the number of floors tends to decrease as the floor heights expand. So, in 2050, skyscrapers will be 50% taller than today,  but will not have 50% more floors.

Urban planners and architects acknowledge that as the global population continues to increase, vertical growth can be used to accommodate the additional density. This vertical momentum will also drive trends in the construction and building material industries, trends which are already emerging today, such as prefab panelization.

Hi-rise construction and buildings towering at great heights will require structural building solutions such as the manufactured, insulated exterior wall systems entering the marketplace today.  Durable and lightweight systems with continuous insulation can install in less time with less manpower and can require less maintenance once in place, while also providing more energy efficiency and durability.  Working at high elevations can be complicated and dangerous; prefab panels can help minimize these risks, simplify the installation process, and expedite building times while ensuring quality.

As our buildings collectively reach for the clouds, emerging technologies will continue to revolutionize the construction industry. Clearly, prefabricated panel solutions will play an important role in this evolution.


Baha Mar: A Sto Showcase In The Bahamas

The Baha Mar Resort & Casino in the Bahamas is a signature Sto project showcasing the versatility and resiliency of the company's exterior insulation systems and finishes -- products that which were used extensively and exclusively throughout the 1,000 acre mega-project.

The Baha Mar Resort & Casino on the island of New Providence in the Bahamas opened last year with great fanfare and has been a showcase for Sto products used in its construction. Located on Cable Beach, outside the city of Nassau, the new resort was heralded as the largest hospitality project ever built in the Caribbean.

The property covers over 1,000 acres including half a mile of prime beach frontage. The sprawling tropical megacomplex which cost a reported $3.4 billion to build, includes three world-renowned luxury hotel brands: Grand Hyatt, SLS and Rosewood (2,300 rooms in all). It also boasts a conference center and casino (150 tables and 1,500 machines), a spa, racquet club and 18-hole signature golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus. There will ultimately be a total of 11 pools, 42 restaurants and bars, and 60,000 square feet of retail with luxury purveyors such as Tiffany’s, Bulgari and Rolex. Oh, and let us not forget the 250 palm trees.

The world-class destination resort is an imposing and impressive landmark on this small Caribbean island. It encompasses three million square feet of construction, 6,000 tons of structural steel, 500,000 sq. ft. of glass, and an abundance of StoTherm exterior insulation (more than 16,000 bags of basecoat alone) and Sto finish products including Stolit® Milano.

The project initially called for stucco exteriors, but when Baha Mar consultants visited the nearby Atlantis resort on Paradise Island and saw the aesthetic caliber and versatility of the exterior insulation finish system (EIFS) used there, as well as the weather- and moisture-resistant properties of EIFS, the specs for Baha Mar were recalibrated. The competition between building material suppliers vying for the job was fierce, but in the end Sto prevailed.

The general contractor CSCEC (China State Construction and Engineering Company) and the project owners were impressed with the personal involvement of Sto’s management team and the company’s tailored solutions. According to Jorge Angel, the Bahamian contractor and applicator who worked on the project for over 5 years, “Sto was chosen due to the quality, versatility and range of their EIFS product line, but also due to their strong presence and reputation worldwide, as well as the caliber of their personalized, hands-on customer service.”

“Having Sto as our allies on this project was the key to our success. They were a tremendous resource” said Angel. His company, KHS&S-iLand (a joint venture between KHS&S contractors in Tampa, Florida and iLand Applicators in the Bahamas), had a huge challenge taking on such a large project on a small Caribbean island. They were working with Chinese, Colombian and American management crews talking in three different languages and all working for the largest construction company in the world (the Beijing-based CSCEC).

“Choosing Sto was the best decision we made,” recalls Angel; “the company’s experience and large presence in the Caribbean and Latin American markets was the right combination we needed. Every time we had an issue, the Sto team proved quick to adjust, responding at the highest level from beginning to end.” Angel also noted that in addition to the exemplary Sto service provided, the Sto exterior continuous insulation system and finishes have withstood the test of time and adverse weather including the harsh tropical heat and two horrific hurricanes (Matthew and Irma).

The StoTherm® ci and StoGuard® waterproof air barrier system have done what they were designed to do — provide protection against moisture intrusion and promote improved energy efficiency. Baha Mar has withstood 100 mph winds; its cladding, decorative architectural features, and multi-colored finishes have fared well in the tropical climes.

The StoTherm systems and finishes have proven to offer so many advantages and benefits – resiliency, efficiency and beauty –that they will be used again in the restoration of the adjacent 700-room Melia hotel – a companion property to the Baha Mar that will tower above a tourist-pleasing eco-water park.