When a Perm Isn't a Perm
Contributed by Roy Schauffele
One of my favorite movie lines is “you’re killing me, Smalls”, from the baseball movie, 'The Sandlot'.
Well in today’s world, especially specifications for air barriers, the construction industry is killing me. I have written about this item before on #FixConstruction, but to no avail. One of the technical data points I hear design folks dig their feet in on is the “perm rating”. Permeance is a measurement of water vapor transmission through a material, often based on testing performed in accordance to ASTM E96, either Procedure A (dry cup or desiccant) or Procedure B (the wet cup). Big note here, the IBC (International Building Code) in Chapter 2, only references Procedure A.
For the record, I love good reproducible usable data, but the ASTM E96 method of testing leaves me flat. At this moment, I’m sitting here looking at the same material, tested by two different accredited laboratories and there is a 300% difference between the two labs between both two (2) Procedure A samples and two (2) Procedure B samples. With that type of difference, how can one rely on this type of data?
The ASTM E96 standard itself states, in part, “A permeance value obtained under one set of conditions may not indicate the value in another set of conditions”. Based on a round-robin testing effort, ASTM reports E96 has about 20% lab-to-lab variability. I bet you are going to have to think fairly hard about another part of your project manual where you’d allow a 20% variability in testing data.
Permeance data is not an evaluation criterion for ABAA (Air Barrier Association of America). The data is listed by ABAA because the design community has requested it.
Going back to the code definitions, the language used in the air barrier business is constantly changing as the industry and technology evolve. Nowhere is this more evident than in Building Code language, which now fully defines Vapor Retarders and Vapor Permeable in Chapter 2 of the 2015 & 2018 IBC (International Building Code).
Bidding An Apple Against an Orange
Contributed by Russell Harrison
As product reps, most of us have it pretty easy in our day-to-day lives. Sure, there are long days walking, driving, or even flying from meeting to meeting. And don’t forget the many nights in hotels!!! But overall, our jobs aren’t too difficult.
Well, except for the one thing that we don’t have control over. When the drawings and specifications don’t agree on a project. This is always a difficult spot to be in for a product rep. I won’t even start to cover what happens at the subcontractor level, as that’s a blog post unto itself.
Has anyone ever wondered what happens when a manufacturer’s rep is asked to provide a bid in that instance? Many things happen, and not necessarily all of them are good! To give you a background on what products I cover as a rep, I handle aluminum composite materials (ACM), plate, and honeycomb panels in the Pacific Northwest. Our products are specified on a regular basis. A good number of projects we end up working on are handled via substitution request.
Typically, when a subcontractor gets an invite where one of our products are being used (material, not necessarily manufacturer specified), we’re forwarded some, or all of the information we need to get started on providing a material bid. As reps, we get to go through the details and specs to make sure they work together and there aren’t any issues. In the last month, I’ve had eight or ten projects come across my desk where the specs and details did not agree, even to the point of ACM rainscreen panels being specified, but the drawings calling out honeycomb barrier panels. That, kids, is an apples and oranges conversation and very difficult to negotiate at the architectural level without ruffling feathers!
The first thing that I do when providing a subcontractor request is to annotate the project spec and note where our proposed substitution is an equal or comparable, but I always include notes where there was a “miss” on the part of the architecture team to either make sure the spec was clean or where the details don’t match the specs. Unfortunately, because my notes are on the spec, it always seems that I’m picking on the specifier, but I’m not. Regrettably, it’s a feature of the substitution request process, since they are typically based around the specifications.
For She's a Jolly Good Fellow
Contributed by Eric D. Lussier
By definition from the Construction Specifications Institute, Fellowship is one of the top two honors given by CSI. Fellows of the Institute are chosen by their peers. Nominees must have been members in good standing for not less than five years and have notably contributed to the advancement of construction technology, the improvement of construction specifications, education, or by service to the Institute.
I've known my friend and Let's Fix Construction co-founder, Cherise Lakeside, for just shy of seven years. Relatively fresh off of joining CSI, we met at CONSTRUCT, when it was held in Phoenix in September of 2012 by happenstance. In those seven years that I've known her, I've watched her give, give and give some more. Always selfless. Never asking for anything in return. Seven years of continually making up for the lost time of not being involved in CSI earlier in her professional career.
Cherise and I are friends. Friends talk. When she knew she would be nominated for Fellowship, she had her doubts. "I haven't been doing this long enough". "I haven't done enough". "I won't be selected". All thoughts that she uttered to me in private conversation. "You're full of it", I would respond. "I know of nobody else in CSI who has given more in seven years".
Even I was shocked on just how much Cherise has done for CSI and the construction industry in seven short years. I read a draft of her Fellowship submission and even I was in awe. CDT classes. Specs 101 presentations. Let's Fix Construction workshops. Dozens of blog posts. The list went on and on.
When I was on the shortlist of those that were asked to write a Letter of Endorsement for her earlier this year, I wondered to myself where I was going to start and where I was going to end. I've never met anyone who has said "I haven't done enough", but turns out has done a bit of everything. It turns out I had to stop myself at 1,500 words, and I felt that I only scratched the surface on describing what Cherise has done.
I submitted my Letter of Recommendation with little doubt of what the end result would be. I concluded my Letter with "I’m honored to call her a friend and I’ll be even more honored to call her a Fellow." On August 2nd, the information trickled out and joining John T. Dunaway, CSI, CCS and Kermit Duncan, CSI, CCCA in elevation to Fellowship on Thursday, October 10th in National Harbor, MD at CONSTRUCT will be my friend, Cherise Lakeside, CSI, CDT.
Contributed by Eric D. Lussier
We've blogged about it, we've podcasted about it, we've mentioned it at our numerous Let's Fix Construction workshops.
CONSTRUCT is dedicated to bringing together all disciplines in the AEC industry. True to its history of breaking down barriers between the different players in the commercial construction process, CONSTRUCT attendees represent all disciplines in the AEC Commercial industry.
Today is the last day to save on registration and join us in National Harbor, Maryland from October 9th to the 11th. Prices go up at midnight and you'll still be able to register right up until the show on the 9th.
And what a day October 9th is! The fifth annual Emerging Professionals Day will be curated once again by Cherise Lakeside. If you are 35 and under, this is the true way to experience CONSTRUCT.
Also being held on October 9th is the brand new Product Rep University. We've been blogging quite a bit about this as I helped create this great event for building product marketers.
"Why did I help to create the Product Rep University? Because as a building product representative myself, I understand the important role that we reps have in the built environment. Knowing the phases of the project, who, when and how to talk to the project players and where to look for vital information in the project documents are critical components on becoming a trusted advisor and are all components covered as part of the Product Rep University."
Join me for my tenth consecutive CONSTRUCT in just two short months. I hope to see you there!
Let's Fix Construction is an avenue to offer creative solutions, separate myths from facts and erase misconceptions about the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry.
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