Talking Building Envelope Consulting on the Building Materials Podcast

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Andy Armento on his freshly launched Building Materials Podcast. We chatted about a (very) wide range of topics from building envelope consulting (of course) to materials testing and even robots taking over the world.

The Building Materials Podcast describes itself this way:

The mission of The Building Materials Podcast to educate those owners, architects, specifiers, engineers, consultants, and installers about the latest technologies which are disrupting the AEC industry.

Andy’s got a made-for-broadcast voice and me, well, I know some stuff about building science. Anyway, if you’re looking for a half hour of fun listening for your next commute, check out Episode 3 here: http://buildingmaterialspodcast.com/index.php/episodes/

CopelandBEC Founder Named to Worcester Business Journal’s 40 Under 40

Each year the Worcester Business Journal honors 40 central Massachusetts young professionals and I’m proud to be included in the Class of 2018!

From the article:

With this year’s WBJ 40 Under Forty, you see the people who could turn the [Worcester] cultural renaissance from a well-started idea to a full-blown reality. Not only are these up-and-coming professionals dedicated to improving their businesses, but they are putting forth their talents to help the community flourish.

It means a lot to be included on a list with so many distinguished peers, and I’m excited to continue to focus on improving this great region where I live and work.

Congratulations to the entire Class of 2018, and thank you to the Worcester Business Journal for putting this issue together.

Here are links to the entire 2018 Class of 40 Under Forty and my own 40 Under Forty profile.

Project Update: the Lake House

Wow! It has been a whirlwind month-plus here at Copeland Building Envelope Consulting since launching the firm in June. It’s time for a quick update.

Here are just a few examples of the building envelope problems we’re helping to solve:

  • window leaks and failed cladding on a couple of single family residences
  • roofing replacement and curtain wall investigation at an institutional building on Cape Cod
  • roofing, cladding, and window replacement at a 54-unit condominium community
  • investigation of windows falling out of frames at a church-turned-condo in the Boston area
  • masonry restoration on a pretty famous campus in Cambridge
  • air barrier consulting for a new cigar bar in Boston

If you have a building envelope problem that we can help with – please get in touch, we’d really like to hear from you.

As these projects move along we’ll write more about them and share some of the solutions. Here’s a bit more detail on one of the single family residence cladding failures.

The Lake House

CopelandBEC is providing building envelope consulting services to resolve water leakage at a single family residence on the lake in a MetroWest Boston suburb.

This home has tongue-and-groove cedar cladding installed directly over a typical residential weather resistive barrier. A combination of factors has led to severe deterioration of underlying wood sheathing and framing in many locations.

The house is just 12 years old.

IMG_4479
Rotted wood sheathing and framing at building corner.

CopelandBEC is working with the homeowner, contractor, and architect to design a repair program that can be implemented over several years to address the cladding problems and related deterioration on the whole house. The new cladding system is drained and back-vented, and incorporates a robust air and water barrier.

cedar-cladding-wrb.jpg
The repairs in progress.

More details to come on this one and many others. Stay tuned!

Contact us today to discuss your building envelope questions.

Introducing: Copeland Building Envelope Consulting

A house is a machine for living in.

-Le Corbusier

When I arrived at Northeastern to study computer engineering I didn’t even know what a building envelope was, let alone that someone could make a career out of helping to make it work better. Even when I moved over to the civil engineering department I thought I would design the structures of bridges or skyscrapers.

But thanks to a lucky first co-op assignment (thank you Professor Tillman) I ended up at a firm that had a whole group of people who specialized in this unique niche hybrid of engineering, architecture, materials science and more.

Now after many years, stints at a couple of other great firms (here and here), and even a sabbatical traveling in Southeast Asia I’m embarking on this new adventure in entrepreneurship and I couldn’t be more excited.

What’s the goal?

In short, I want to solve my clients’ building envelope problems.

Folks in the architecture, engineering, and construction industry have a pretty good handle on the right ways to build. But building envelope problems are still far too common and a lot of times they get a shrug – “what can you do?”.

There’s some disconnects in the process and I think a lot of it comes down to communication and education. If everyone on the team is clear on what to do, and understands why it needs to be that way, then results can be better.

So Copeland Building Envelope Consulting will focus on improving the process of designing, investigating, and repairing building envelope systems. I’ve got some ideas on this, but if you have a suggestion please drop me a comment below!

Why start fresh?

I want to reinvent the wheel.

Building envelope consulting has grown into an established, well trodden industry. Lots of folks do it and many do it quite well.

But there is room for improvement.

The client experience can be better. The communication with project stakeholders can be better. The value can be higher.

I want the opportunity to question every decision, every task, every process: is there a better way? Can it be done more efficiently, or explained more concisely with less ambiguity?

Engineers, as practitioners of engineering, are people who invent, design, analyze, build, and test machines, systems, structures and materials to fulfill objectives and requirements while considering the limitations imposed by practicality, regulation, safety, and cost.

Wikipedia

As much as I engineer building envelope systems, I also intend to engineer the system of building envelope consulting, from the ground up.

Functional Form

I love and appreciate the art of architecture, but at the end of the day if it doesn’t keep the water where it’s supposed to be then I think there’s a problem. The form and the function are both fundamental requirements of successful architecture.

The Le Corbusier quote at the top of the article is an underlying thread in all building envelope consulting work. Building envelope problems mean the machine is broken.

Our goal should be to keep the machine humming along.

Let’s do it!

I’m ready to bring a fresh approach to building envelope consulting. I would love to hear from you in the comments below – what problems need solving? What gives you a headache and what can be done better?

Thank you for reading!

Matthew M. Copeland, P.E.

Principal and Founder

Copeland Building Envelope Consulting