The Metal Building Manufacturers Association (MBMA) released “Metal Building Systems: Best Practices to Comply with Whole-Building Air Leakage Testing Requirements,” a guidebook authored by Robert Zabcik, PE, LEED AP, of Z-Tech Consulting LLC, Katy, Texas. It was produced in partnership with the Door and Access Systems Manufacturers Association (DASMA) and the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA).
The guide identifies practices for metal building manufacturers and contractors to improve the ability of having metal buildings pass whole-building air leakage testing requirements.
“Whole-building air leakage testing is specified in the latest energy code updates,” says Tony Bouquot, general manager at MBMA. “As more and more states and municipalities adopt these codes and testing requirements, this new guide will help manufacturers, builders, and owners to meet these demands by following some basic steps.”
The best practices specified are drawn from air leakage testing performed in the field, which has shown that certain parts of the building need special attention. These are as follows:
- Dissimilar material interfaces, such as wall bases, doors, and windows.
- Intersections/changes in air barrier configuration, including wall-to-roof interfaces and wall corners.
- Penetrations, including canopy framing members, mechanical (HVAC), electrical, and plumbing.
The guide describes these concerns and outlines practical steps to take, both before and during metal building construction. In addition to many detailed drawings and images throughout, it has appendices that include a project checklist, overhead door specifics, applicable codes, test methods, and material requirements.
“MBMA, in partnership with DASMA and NAIMA, has tested a number of metal buildings over the past several years,” says Vincent Sagan, PE, senior staff engineer at MBMA. “We’ve been able to identify problem areas, find out what works best and what steps can be taken to pass the tests. Now builders and owners can benefit from our work, saving time and money in the process, with this new publication.”