Building Enclosure Commissioning (BECx) and Enclosure Consulting

According to Evan Mills, PhD, a researcher at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, building enclosure commissioning (BECx) should be viewed as “the single-most cost-effective strategy for reducing energy, costs, and greenhouse gas emissions in buildings today.”

Mills studied the benefits of BECx, noting that enclosure commissioning has a payback period of as little as 14 months. Savings associated with using BECx from both maintenance and energy savings average about 16% for existing buildings and 13% for new construction. The main benefit is that whole-building energy savings are guaranteed, thanks to the pivotal role of the enclosure in determining efficiency performance.

– BD+C, June 2013 Edition

HICAPS’ building enclosure experts perform Building Enclosure Forensics and Enclosure Consulting. Our Enclosure Consulting team consists of registered architects, Certified Building Enclosure Commissioning Authorities (CxA+BE), Certified Building Enclosure Commissioning Process Providers (BECxP), and Professional Engineers.

At a minimum, HICAPS performs enclosure consulting according to the National Institute of Building Science’s (NIBS) Guideline 3 as adopted by the USGBC for LEED. Depending on the Owner’s needs, HICAPS has developed an enhanced process that follows the following outline.

  • Review design documents during the SD, DD, and CD phases and work with the design team to develop constructible solutions for details that need improvement.
  • Devise a Plan early in the project cycle that describes mock-up requirements, inspection schedule, testing requirements, acceptance criteria, and documentation requirements.
  • Preside over a Coordination Meeting to go over the Plan with the Project Team and relevant trades contractors and to discuss sequence of activities and its role in weather barrier continuity.
  • Review enclosure-related submittals and shop drawings for overall performance, continuity of weather barriers, continuity of thermal barriers, potential for condensation, and constructability. Work with the GC Team, the Design Team and the trades contractors to resolve any identified issues.
  • Conduct observations on the job site as required for critical milestones in enclosure installation (e.g. field mockups, trades’ startups, detailing of transitions between enclosure systems, and field testing). Develop reports documenting performance for the Owner, Design Team and GC Team. Consult with all stakeholders about the reasons for test failures and plans for remediation.