It’s Always the Windows!  
How to Handle These Common Jobsite Misconceptions  
b y C r a i g C a r s o n  
representative from a nationally of water marks on the framing or glass, The windows were not causing this  
known insurance company re- the sills, the horizontals, the heads or problem, but rather the precast con-  
cently asked me to look at one jambs or intermediate verticals. Noth- crete. His remedy will probably cause  
of their buildings to see if we could help ing! So I asked to move a ceiling tile to further damage with his fish-bowl at-  
with some glass replacements. I had a look at the back of the precast spandrel. tempt to seal the building.  
meeting with one of the company’s There was batt insulation attached with  
I can imagine that you,too,have been  
project maintenance managers who stick pins to hold the insulation in place called out to look at projects where“the  
had flown in from corporate to coordi- to the concrete.There was also evidence windows leak.” And yes, sometimes  
nate the “repairs.”  
of discoloring at the bottom edge of the they do.But on the majority of the ones  
When I arrived, he was talking to the  
landscape contractor, so I decided to  
look at the wall details a little closer.The  
building is a precast concrete structure  
with glazed openings framed with a  
Kawneer 1600 wall system with 1-inch  
insulating glass—pretty straightfor-  
ward for a three-story building. I was  
surprised to see that a local caulking  
contractor was installing a ¾- by ¾-  
inch beveled bead of caulk over the ex-  
isting gasket to the edge of the cover  
When I looked at the window framing …  
there was no evidence of water marks  
on the framing or glass, the sills,  
the horizontals, the heads or jambs or  
intermediate verticals. Nothing!  
around the perimeter of each unit. He insulation and the drop ceiling track. I have seen,the problem is not the win-  
was also re-caulking the frame perime- This showed me that the water actually dows. Surrounding conditions are usu-  
ter to the exterior point of the cover.  
was entering the building through the ally the culprit.  
precast spandrel areas (through fis-  
My advice to you is that when a gen-  
sures) that happen to be quite common eral contractor or owner asks you to  
I asked the project manager why in precast. look at a project because of leaking  
they were caulking the glazing as they windows, don’t be defensive. Look into  
the problem with an open mind to  
The project manager told me he didn’t find the troubled area.You may see it is  
were. He told me the building leaked DIGGINGDEEPER  
water during rain storms, and they  
had a “consultant” flown in from their think the consultant had performed a not your problem, and that by helping  
home state to review the situation and water test on the building. I asked if he find the solution, you have helped  
make a recommendation. I asked to could share the consultant’s report,as my build your relationship with your cus-  
look at the framing system where the premise was the windows were not the tomers. As I like to say, the devil is in  
caulking contractor had not yet problem. Interestingly, he said that he the details. s  
started and was taken to a general- didn’t have the report and that his supe-  
purpose meeting room. The project rior had it back in the main office.  
manager told me it was one of the On top of that, he said he was just  
worst areas in the building.  
When I looked at the window fram- consultant ordered.  
trying to finish the work that the  
C r a i g C a r s o n is the  
regional preconstruction  
manager for Alliance Glazing  
Technologies Inc. in Littleton,  
ing, the gaskets were in good shape on  
I have a feeling this consultant  
the interior and, as expected, there was did not specialize in curtainwall  
a little shrink-back on the exterior gas- or he would have investigated fur-  
kets. There was, however, no evidence ther and found what I observed.  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | April 2016