Construction Management Services Articles

You have heard the adage:, “The carpenter’s house is often the most in need of the services of a carpenter.” HICAPS discovered how true this statement is during a building assessment using specialized air barrier equipment. This process, also referred to as building envelope testing, or air leakage testing, is a standard requirement for new federal construction and is gaining popularity with building owners in state, municipal and private arenas. Air barrier building diagnotics testingmeasures the amount of air that leaks into or out of a building. The test determines whether a building has unusually large gaps that allow warm air to escape in the winter or warm air to neutralize cool, conditioned air in the summer.


All buildings have some degree of leakage; this test finds whether the leakage is extreme. During a recent trial run of newly purchased equipment at HICAPS main office, we expected some air leakage due to some unfinished office space. However, we were surprised by the “whistle” in the corner office. The smoke pen kept getting blown out by the rush of air coming through the window frame.Closer examination showed that the window glazing had pulled away from the window frame and a visible quarter-inch gap was easily seen—if one looked in the proper direction. This situation was not present six months earlier when a building inspection was conducted. We suspect the earthquake on August 23rd racked our building and caused the windows to shift in the frame. Everything appeared normal in our building after the quake, but the air barrier testing showed us new areas to inspect, and that window repairs are needed.


How would your building rate if an air barrier test was conducted? We can tell you! This test performs a quantitative and qualitative evaluation. At select exterior doors, a “blower door” is inserted that contains powerful fans that exhaust the air from the building. Air from the outside will be sucked into the building through the often invisible gaps in the exterior. The fan speed is varied, with measurements taken of the volume of air being displaced from the building and the pressure forcing air to move through the building exterior While the fan is evacuating the air, the building envelope is studied, using various tools to detect air movement. Air moving through a narrow crack will “whistle” and is easily detected by the human ear. Additionally, a device that generates a fine smoke (like blowing out a candle) will indicate where air is moving near the building exterior. Most importantly, infrared photography is used to measure building surfaces that are difficult to access. The infrared images record by color bands the degree of temperature variation, giving an indication of the degree of leakage. And since each infrared image is a digital picture, building owners and contractors can see the exact areas where the building is leaking. What does air barrier testing mean to you as a building owner or someone involved with building operations? It identifies the lost energy during the heating and cooling seasons. It indicates where water may be leaking into your building, causing invisible damage if not detected and corrected. As we move to environmentally responsible building construction and operation, there are numerous small steps we can take to become better stewards of our environment—and air barrier testing is one of them.

To learn more please visit our Building Diagnostic Services page.

HICAPS first international contract provided site inspection services on more than 50 public safety communication sites located throughout South Africa. HICAPS’ site inspection services offer an evaluation of communications sites relative to industry standards established for public safety telecommunications systems. HICAPS’ Telecommunications Group has been providing communications site inspection services throughout the United States. The South Africa project represented HICAPS’ largest and most challenging site inspection work to date.public-safety-telecommunication-2

Don Whitney, one of HICAPS’ Certified Communications Site Installation Inspectors (CSII), took on the assignment and completed the site inspections. HICAPS’ Telecommunications has also been busy at work outside the continental U.S. with multiple 800 MHz rebanding projects in Puerto Rico. Rebanding of land mobile radio systems, mandated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), is required for many government agencies that operate public safety radio systems in the 800 MHz frequency band. The Telecommunications Group has been providing public safety communications implementation services, including project management, RF engineering and field support services associated with the FCC rebanding initiative, since 2004.

HICAPS is an unlimited Licensed General Contractor in Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia and Tennessee. HICAPS Inc. is a multi-faceted construction management services, building diagnostics, emergency services communications, RF engineering network services, P25 interoperability and is a SDVOSB qualified company.

For more information on how HICAPS can help you with your Public Safety Telecommunication Projects Contact Us

HICAPS provided consulting services for two now completed LEED projects at Fort Bragg, N.C. The first project, the new 118,700-square-foot Training Support Center, was one in which HICAPS furnished LEED administration services during the construction phase. HICAPS also supplied commissioning services, which included the fundamental commissioning of building systems per LEED standard (Fundamental Commissioning of the Building Energy Systems) and involved the HVAC, lighting controls and domestic hot water systems.

The project goal was LEED Silver; however, as the project neared completion, HICAPS recognized that the project was only one point short of achieving a LEED Gold rating. The team analyzed the point status and determined that the exemplary performance credits under Materials and Resources for three separate credits could be attained with no additional cost to the project, and thus LEED Gold was achieved. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has moved forward with project’s certification.

The second project was the 4th Brigade Combat Team’s 58-man barracks. HICAPS provided LEED administration services during the construction phase of this 26,000-square-foot, $10 million project. This was a SPiRiT/LEED project, which met its goal of achieving LEED Silver standards.

To learn more please visit our Government Construction Contractor page.