As a subconsultant to Hill International, WDP provided Building Enclosure Commissioning (BECx) services to the GSA for the full recladding of the Social Security Administration headquarters, known as the Altmeyer Building, in Woodlawn, Maryland. The new enclosure consists of unitized curtainwall panels assembled over the original nine-story structural concrete frame. The project was designed and commissioned to achieve LEED Certification.
WDP’s BECx services for the design phase included a review of the documentation of the building envelope systems, developing the owner’s project requirements (OPR) and subsequent basis of design information (BOD), performing design reviews of the project documents, attending design assistance meetings, and ultimately developing an envelope commissioning plan for the construction phase and post-occupancy phases of the project. WDP also consulted the design team on methods to improve and verify the enclosure’s performance, as this project was commissioned under ASTM E2813 Enhanced Commissioning.
WDP’s BECx services during the construction phase included a review of enclosure-related submittals, shop drawings, and RFIs to assist the design team in identifying and preventing problems; attending pre-construction conferences to help orient the project team on the specific challenges in constructing a panelized curtainwall façade; attending the performance mock-up testing and assisting the Owner in interpreting the results; coordinating and witnessing the field performance verification testing for air and water infiltration; and periodically visiting the project site to observe the building envelope construction. During the fabrication of the panelized curtainwall units, WDP visited the fabrication shop to review the quality control procedures.
WDP’s BECx activities for the closeout phase included the development of a final commissioning report, collecting warranties and manufacturer data sheets into an enclosure maintenance manual, and developing training materials for the building staff on enclosure operation and maintenance.
During this project, a specific challenge was the implementation of whole building airtightness testing, which was addressed through WDP’s BECx program. The envelope of the Altmeyer building is interconnected with several adjacent structures. In order to measure the total airflow through the building envelope, special care was required to partition the envelope into distinct regions so that airflow between buildings is not accidentally attributed to the new façade. WDP presented several testing options to the Owner, who elected to test portions of the envelope considered to be critical. The new building envelope successfully passed the whole building airtightness test in accordance with GSA PBS P100 requirements.
ServicesBuilding Science & Enclosure Consulting
Benjamin Townsend, P.E., Senior Engineer, New York Division Manager
General Services Administration (GSA)