Our building physics consultancy covers acoustic and thermal insulation, airflows and moisture movement in facades and roofs.
The facade separates a building’s interior from the world outside. In an increasingly densely populated Europe, proper soundproofing has become a must. IBS knows how to translate performance requirements into technical facade concepts and practical solutions. Our consultants will be there throughout the design and construction phases to help ensure that the building’s design can achieve comfortable sound levels. Making the right choices and preventing construction defects will help to reduce failure costs.
In recent years, thermal insulation standards have been raised considerably, helped by sustainability labels such as BREEAM and LEED. A number of our consultants have become specialists in this field to make sure IBS can keep abreast regarding the impact of these labels on facade design. They have certainly helped focus on the way thermal bridging, joint details and air seals affect the final result. IBS uses special standards-compliant software to calculate thermal insulation values, preferably during the design stages. Advanced analysis methods to support our consultancy work during construction as well as during use and maintenance include thermography (infrared scanning) and airflow measurements. These enable us to detect any construction defects at the earliest possible stage.
Air permeability and airtight construction
Ever since IBS was founded, improving the airtightness of facade designs has been one of the spearpoints of our consultancy policy. It is particularly important to minimise the unwanted infiltration and exfiltration of air. Numerous facade structure tests conducted by IBS have demonstrated that airtightness is crucial for creating watertight facades. This is why airtight construction has always been – and will always be – a major theme in IBS consultancy. This goes for the development and/or assessment of facade details during the design and construction preparation stages as much as for on site inspections or facade tests during actual construction.
After all, the purpose of airtight construction is to prevent unwanted airflows. Airtight construction improves thermal and acoustic properties, prevents condensation problems and raises thermal comfort levels.
Moisture in facades and roofs
Facades and roofs are there to keep water out. Watertightness is one of the primary aspects IBS focuses on during the technical development and assessment of facade and roofs structures. This goes for the development and/or assessment of facade details during the design and construction preparation stages as much as for on site inspections or facade tests during actual construction. Watertightness standards are of course defined by the international codes under ‘resistance to moisture from outside’.
For public health reasons and to prevent damage to structural components such as wood and thermal insulation layers, ‘resistance to moisture from within’ is an equally important aspect to consider when designing a facade. In combination with airtight construction, the moisture barrier on the warm side of the facade is there to prevent condensation by warm, moisture-laden air in colder parts of the facade structure.
Model calculations of the temperature gradient and movement of moisture in the facade structure enable IBS to assess and optimise facade details early on during a building’s design. Once a building is completed and in use, physical tests supported by technology such as thermography, and material tests such as moisture measurements can reveal defects and allow corrective action to be taken to prevent escalation.
Our expertise includes:
- Thermal insulation (U value calculations, thermal bridging);
- Moisture effects (moisture movement inside structures, condensation);
- Acoustics (facade sound-proofing, noise abatement);
- Practical translation of physical requirements into facade products and systems;
- Testing (thermography, airtightness, interior climate measurements).