Complexity and Interconnectedness of Building Enclosure Components Drives Demand for Consultant Input

For those involved in the construction industry, there can be no doubt that buildings are getting more sophisticated. From a desire to improve sustainability or energy efficiency, to the incorporation of high-tech controls, commercial buildings are increasingly complicated. And the systems that comprise the building are more numerous and interconnected. This complexity has driven a number of changes that will continue into the future.

The construction team is expanding to meet increasingly more sophisticated projects

By Brian Pallasch, CAE

Pallasch Brian

A Need for Specialized Individuals on The Project Team: Consultants

Enclosure systems provide one or more functions for the building, such as assistance with thermal comfort, access to daylight, weatherproofing, structural load resistance, or aesthetics.

Orchestrating the interconnected functions of these varying demands requires expertise in client and project needs assessment, design, condition assessment, construction contract administration and asset management. All these requirements are almost too much to ask a design professional to manage, along with his or her normal responsibilities on a project. Thus, we see owners reaching out to specialty consultants to become part of and assist the project team in these specialized roles.

Checks and Balances: Commissioning

Not only are buildings more complicated, but building departments are more stretched when it comes to staffing and budgeting. So even when a local jurisdiction has adopted the latest and greatest codes and standards, it doesn’t always have the time (or expertise) to check that the building is built according to the owner’s project requirements. Commissioning has emerged to fill this void and to ensure the owner that its project requirements are being met and that callbacks are minimized.

Not only are buildings more complicated, but building departments are more stretched when it comes to staffing and budgeting.

Above-code programs, such as LEED; high-performance standards, such as ANSI/ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1-17, Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings; and codes, such as the 2018 International Green Construction Code (IgCC); also have recognized the value in commissioning for over 10 years.

The current version of LEED (v4.1) requires fundamental commissioning through one of its Energy and Atmosphere (EA) prerequisites. Per the LEED v4.1 Building Design and Construction (BD+C) Guide, the intent of the prerequisite is “to support the design, construction, and eventual operation of a project that meets the owner’s project requirements for energy, water, indoor environmental quality, and durability.” One path in LEED EA Credit: Enhanced Commissioning, expands commissioning requirements for building enclosures. Both the prerequisite and the credit reference ASTM E2947-16, Standard Guide for Building Enclosure Commissioning, and IIBEC sees this standard increasing in popularity in the commissioning of building enclosures in the future.

Chapter 10 of IgCC and ASHRAE 189.1 specifies the requirements for the commissioning process. In the 2017 edition of standard 189.1, an additional requirement was added related to commissioning of the building enclosure’s airtightness.

Specialized Individuals with Credentials: Building Enclosure Professional Registrants

As the need for specialized individuals expands, we anticipate that owners will increasingly require credentials for these individuals, obtained from independent organizations. The International Institute of Building Enclosure Consultants (IIBEC) (formerly The Roof Consultants Institute or RCI), fills this role of an independent organization, with over 3,600 professionals in the U.S., Canada and across the world. IIBEC members have established standards of qualification and practice in the building enclosure industry.

The foundation of IIBEC’s credentialing program is bolstered by its online and in-person education offerings, proof of knowledge through professional registrations, and adherence to ethical standards, elevating the industry and working toward protecting owners and occupants of our building enclosures.

There are currently six registrations offered through IIBEC:

  • Registered Roof Consultant (RRC)
  • Registered Waterproofing Consultant (RWC)
  • Registered Exterior Wall Consultant (REWC)
  • Registered Building Envelope Consultant (RBEC)
  • Registered Roof Observer (RRO)
  • Registered Exterior Wall Observer (REWO)

IIBEC is launching a new individual certification program in accordance with ISO 17024 for a Certified Building Enclosure Commissioning Provider (CBECxP). An individual with a CBECxP will be knowledgeable and capable of conducting all tasks required to carry out a comprehensive building enclosure commissioning process. We believe that this certification will fill a void in the industry.

IIBEC has undergone an extensive process of examining the role and practice of building enclosure consulting. The practice of each consultant has been defined in a role delineation that is used in preparation of the registration exams, and they include both technical and practical content for each registration offered. In addition, the IIBEC Manual of Practice: Roof, Exterior Wall, and Waterproofing Consulting and Quality Assurance Observation, provides best practice recommendations.

Brian Pallasch is the executive vice president and CEO of the International Institute of Building Enclosure Consultants. Prior to assuming his current role, Pallasch spent 20 years managing government relations and media relations, including the Infrastructure Report Card, for the American Society of Civil Engineers. To learn more about IIBEC’s programs, visit