Onsite Water Testing


Onsite Water Penetration Testing

There has been an increased focus in the role and importance of the building envelope over the last several years with testing of building facades and facade components becoming more frequent as a means of verifying compliance with the New Zealand Building Code (NZBC)

Field testing of building exteriors for water penetration, frequently called “water testing,” is essential for identifying manufacturing and construction defects in windows, doors, skylights, and other openings in the building envelope. For example, a window might leak due to the use of incorrectly sized glazing seals or unintentional errors or omissions during the manufacturing process. Water ingress can also occur as a result of defects during the installation process, particularly in relation to perimeter sealant details and air seals. Even events occurring between shipping and installation of window components as well as environmental influences can have a negative impact on component and system performance

All Facade Services provides a range of field-testing procedures to evaluate the performance of installed windows, doors, storefronts, curtain walls, sloped glazing systems, skylights, and exterior building facades to provide quality assurance for new construction and to provide diagnostic services to determine the cause of water ingress on both new and existing construction. We encourage facade engineers, architects and contractors to engage with us early in the construction programme as identifying issues early in the process can help contractors and building owners avoid costly, more complex issues and repairs when the building is occupied, and scaffold has been removed.

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How it’s done

Water testing measures penetration by applying water to the outdoor face and exposed edges of the tested assembly with a static external air pressure higher than the pressure on the indoor face. Not only will it determine resistance of assembly components themselves, it can also reveal leakage between those assemblies and the surfaces in which they are installed. While a manufactured component or window unit may successfully meet the water penetration test criteria it is not uncommon for testing to reveal water ingress at the window/cladding interface which is often unable to detect once the building is complete however water leaking into the building itself can lead to degraded performance and premature failure of building materials and structural elements.

​When to test

Water testing may be conducted any time between initial assembly installation and construction completion. However, earlier and repeated testing is advisable for multiple reasons. Tests conducted upon initial installation provide easier inspection of interior surfaces for penetration and to identify the precise point(s) of penetration. More importantly, with early testing, fabrication and installation problems can be discovered at a time when corrections are more easily made and at much lower expense since no interior wall components must be removed and replaced and scaffold is usually still available for exterior access.

While building code may not require it, every new construction project should be water tested regardless of size. No project is too large or too small. Many smaller projects don’t incorporate water testing simply to keep construction costs lower. Any financial advantage disappears, however, if windows or doors start to leak and water testing reveals hidden problems. The cost of water damage and remediation can greatly exceed the cost of early testing and consultation.

The ideal time to start water testing is when the first few glazing systems are installed. Not only are problems more easily detected, design and potentially recurring issues can be corrected going forward. Contractors and owners who rely on one-day water testing only when the project nears completion may be unnecessarily adding risk and cost to their construction projects.