Forensic Evaluation for Energy and Humidity, Building 2309 (Arena), USAG Vicenza, Italy, Contract W912GB-10-D-0039
Michael-Bruno was tasked by the USACE-Europe to perform engineering studies in the form of Forensic Evaluations for Energy and Humidity concerns at the US Army Garrison’s sports facility, Arena.
The purpose of the study was to provide guidance on possible corrective actions to the building, as well as information for future projects within this north-central region of Italy.
The Soldier Family Entertainment Center (Arena), Building 2309, is a two story facility consisting of a bowling area, arcade, restaurant, entertainment rooms, billiards area, meeting rooms and offices. The structure is constructed of a poured in place foundation, tilt-up masonry walls, metal roof deck with Isotec panels and clay tile. The interior of the exterior walls are finished with metal framing and drywall. Between the metal framing is fiberglass board and batt insulation. The exterior finish of the facility is constructed of plaster covered with stucco and paint. Zinc coated metal control joints were used to control expansion and movement of the plaster finish. In addition, metal banding was used to accent the building and provide control of the stucco which consisted of zinc finished “C” channel recessed into the exterior plaster finish.
The facility was occupied in approximately 2008 and since completion the outer walls have exhibited premature degradation of the exterior finish. This includes the peeling of the stucco and paint from the plaster, rusting of the metal control joints, rusting of the “C” channels and rusting of the metal corner beads used to form the edges of the plaster finish. The plaster is also coming loose from the tilt-up masonry walls in some areas. It was reported that certain areas where the plaster and stucco was installed at the bottom of the wall in contact with the soil, the stucco was previously removed to a height above the soil to prevent wetting of the plaster. Following are photograph examples taken during the site inspection described in section 4.0 Site Inspection of this report:
The investigation and evaluation was based and conducted in accordance with ASTM E2018: “Standard Guide for Property Condition Assessments”, ASTM E678: “Standard Practice for Evaluation of Technical Data” and ASTM E620: “Standard Practice for Reporting Opinions of Scientific or Technical Experts”. In addition, portions of this report and/or its findings are based on applicable local building codes and industry standards.
Our team concluded, and documented in a report and Power Point Presentation, that the facility has fundamental moisture intrusion problems caused by lack of attention to details of water proofing and flashing. These areas include waterproofing the lower portion of the building at and below the slab. The metal corner beads, metal architectural metal accent bands and the metal accent box will need to be replaced. In addition, flashing needs to be designed for all areas where water will contact the edge or the intersection between the stucco and the plaster. Attention needs to be given to repair of the following areas:
1. Remove soil around building perimeter to a depth of at least three feet (one
meter). Install water proofing on exposed wall. It is also suggested to install a subsurface drainage system to remove as much water from the foundation and slab as possible.
2. Remove rusted corner beads and replace with zinc coated or plastic corner
beads and refinish.
3. Remove metal vertical and horizontal control joints and eliminate horizontal
control joints. Restore vertical control joints with imbedded plastic control joints and refinish.
4. Remove metal architectural metal accent bands and the metal accent box. Re-
grade different elevations with plaster and stucco and refinish. Option is to install new with flashing and drip edges.
5. Install flashing with drip edge on both sides of pre-cast parapet coping cap.
6. Install flashing with drip edge on all other building features that are exhibiting
moisture intrusion into edge of the stucco and plaster application.
The humidity model analysis indicates that the pre-cast concrete walls are acting as a moisture barrier. It is recommended to install air and vapor barriers to the exterior of the pre-cast wall. In addition, a vapor barrier is strongly recommended under the floor slab not on top of it. It is noted that no vapor barrier was specified for the foundation. A vapor barrier is highly suggested to be applied to the entire exterior of the foundation, floor slab and exterior wall. The vapor barrier should be continuous under the slab, the foundation, footings and exterior wall.
The use of metal studs applied directly to the exterior walls with interior insulation between the metal studs creates a thermal bridge. This impacts energy consumption approximately 8 – 12%. The insulation should be applied in the case of pre-cast walls either continuously on the exterior of the wall or continuously on the interior of the pre-cast walls. If applied on the interior, the insulation should be between the wall and the metal studs. If the insulation is applied on the exterior of the wall (preferred) than thermal bridging at floor levels can be reduced or eliminated.