Case Study: Considerations for Re-Cladding Highrise Panelized EIFS Buildings

considerations-for-recladding-high-rise-panelized-eifs.pngAn eight year old, highrise building in a Canadian cold climate zone was diagnosed with systematic water penetration through the Exterior Insulation and Finish System (“EIFS”) building envelope.This building utilized a factory-manufactured, modular panelized cladding system for the exterior walls that included EIFS building envelope components. The original panel design had some components intended to perform as a “drained” system which, when coupled with a factory controlled manufacturing environment, is normally considered a lower risk, good practice approach.

Nevertheless, there was water penetration into the interior, with resulting water damage and related environmental problems to panel structural components and interior finishes.

This building has undergone a large-scale exterior re-cladding in the affected areas. The repair involves the removal of all exterior wall building envelope components, a re-design of the building envelope system that includes the use of a new drained EIFS approach, and the installation of the new wall system on the building. All rehabilitation work was completed while the building remained operational.

This paper describes the methods used to re-clad the facility while maintaining the mandated original appearance. Key discussion will focus on how the new EIFS system was designed, and how it was constructed to address reasonable durability expectations.

Content will also focus on how designers and builders can improve the actual performance of these systems “as installed” to reduce the risks commonly associated with highrise EIFS.

The benefits of this paper to the reader will hope to include; discussion of real-world application of panelized EIFS design concepts, identification of factors not always considered in the design and installation of these systems, practical advice on methods for improving performance while managing potential risks, and considerations for the application of this approach on other projects.

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