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Building Envelope Pre-Construction Meeting

A building envelope coordination meeting is an important part of the pre-construction phase that aligns all project team members prior to the start of construction. Typically organized by the general contractor, the meetings will cover a range of building envelope topics. It helps establish expectations upfront for the installation and subsequent warranties of the components of the building enclosure. Team members can proactively discuss any issues that may occur during construction and align on countermeasures. 

In the pre-construction meetings, the team:

      • Opens lines of communication and identifies key contacts
      • Communicates quality controls & safety reviews
      • Establishes construction phase procedures
      • Studies project drawings & system specifications (e.g., wall system tie-ins, transitional details)
      • Confirms product compatibility & warranties
      • Reviews change orders & submittal processes
      • Discusses mock-ups (e.g., mock walls)
      • Sets expectations regarding future meetings & site visits during product installation staging

Additional considerations specific to the building envelope:

      • Provide drawings or scopes of work in multiple languages to accommodate likely field crews (e.g., English and Spanish)
      • Coordinate with multiple trades prior to construction including the framing, air sealing, insulation, and HVAC subcontractors
      • Inform trades to limit penetrations cut into blocking and other air barrier details
      • Use photos for technical assistance and to ensure compliance with the Thermal Bypass Checklist

Who Should Attend

All professionals involved with the building envelope should be at the meeting: the architect of record, the general contractor, the envelope consultant, the owner’s rep, product manufacturer reps, and of course, the installing contractor. Having the right folks present can help ensure everyone is aligned with product installation sequencing, and wall system tie-ins – all of which are installation elements that can potentially impact project timelines.

During this meeting, you can also clarify the owner’s expectations and discuss the plans for inspections and testing, ensuring that the design/build team, as well as the trades and manufacturers, are all on the same page. This meeting can mitigate significant miscommunications and issues during construction and should be a requirement in the front-end specifications.

Product Compatibility

A properly designed and installed building envelope is truly greater than the sum of its parts. Effective integration of all components – the waterproofing, air barrier and roofing systems – is critical to achieving a continuous building envelope system. The contractor will review each step of the construction process and review trade sequencing and any potential overlap.

Beyond design and proper installation, it’s equally important that all components are chemically compatible. There are a variety of choices when it comes to the components that make up a building envelope system. Preventing incompatibility issues should be as simple as reading and following the manufacturer’s product guidelines and installation instructions. But even if you’re confident that mixing and matching products from two different manufacturers is OK, you should still test compatibility before installation. Testing compatibility should be part of the pre-construction meetings as needed since this could impact the project timeline.

A mock-wall assembly provides an extremely helpful visual model showing how all building envelope elements interact and affect buildability. Ultimately, reviewing a mock wall can help answer any questions that wouldn’t otherwise come up until air barrier installation is underway - including questions about compatibility - thereby preventing unnecessary timeline delays during construction.

Early Communication to Avoid Issues

When the project team communicates early and often, problems that could become costly are identified early and efficiently resolved. The pre-construction meetings can help uncover any design or compatibility issues early in the process – this will save time and money after construction begins. Ultimately, initiating pre-construction meetings early in a project creates a collaborative team relationship where the benefits outweigh the costs.

Henry® Can Help

Before you begin your next project, consult with the experts at Henry. Informed by 80+ years of expertise, Henry building envelope experts can help you select the system that best meets your project requirements, from foundation to wall to roof, and be on-site to support pre-construction meetings.

Contact a Henry weatherization expert for advice and support on your next job.