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Building Envelope Condition Assessment for VAS 1047 - Chelsea Terrace

1040 Pacific Street, Vancouver, British Columbia

Building Envelope Condition Assessment for VAS 1047 - Chelsea Terrace 1040 Pacific Street, Vancouver, British Columbia

Presented to:

Strata Corporation VR 1047

Prepared by:

McCuaig &Associates Engineering Ltd. File Number: 20110209 Date: September 30, 2011






















ROOF ASSEMBLIES .......................................................................................................







































6.0! FINAL REMARKS ...........................................................................................................


List of Tables

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APPENDIX A – Plans and Elevation Drawings APPENDIX B – Glossary of Terms APPENDIX C – Completed Resident Surveys


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY McCuaig and Associates Engineering Ltd. (MAE) was retained by Strata Corporation VR 1047 to

McCuaig and Associates Engineering Ltd. (MAE) was retained by Strata Corporation VR 1047 to complete an investigation of the performance of the building envelope assemblies that Chelsea Terrance. The building is located at 1040 Pacific Street in Vancouver, British Columbia.

This investigation included an evaluation of parking garage, roofs, balconies, and wall assemblies as well as an evaluation of interior conditions as they relate to building envelope performance.

The building, which was constructed in 1981, consists of 112 single-level condominium units. The roofs are typically low-slope (flat) roofs comprised of 2-ply SBS membrane. Some areas have pitched metal roofing. The exterior walls are either painted concrete or stucco cladding over light-gauge steel framing.

Below grade wall assemblies consist of concrete walls with liquid dampproofing applied to the exterior face.

This investigation consisted of:

Visual inspections of various building envelope components, both exposed and normally hidden;

A perusal of the building’s original construction drawings;

Administration and evaluation of an occupant survey; and;

Performing invasive testing from the interior side of select exterior walls.


The main roofs were in relatively good condition and have approximately five years of service

life remaining.

The lower roofs were in poorer condition, leaks are occurring, and should be


Balconies, Roof Decks, and Plaza Decks

Most of the balconies on the building are protected by the balconies above. It is recommended that the balcony membranes on the exposed, high-risk areas be replaced. These balconies have

little to no overhang to protect them from the elements and are continuously capturing bulk water during precipitation. Additionally, a new rainwater collection system is recommended to properly handle the water form the balconies.

It is recommended that the roof decks be further inspected if any roof work is to proceed at Chelsea Terrance and replace these membranes, if required. The plaza deck membrane appears to be nearing the end of its service life replacement is recommended over the next three to five years.

Parking Garage

The walls of the parking garage are allowing some water to infiltrate, but this is not seen as a structural issue. Various repairs schemes are recommended.

The suspended slab in the parking garage has had some structural damage. The extent of the damage and the repair options are being dealt with independently from this report. It is recommended that a traffic coating be installed on the suspended slab to prevent any further water migration.

Living Spaces

High humidity was noted is some residents’ suites. The residents can generally manage this humidity themselves and recommendations are presented in the report.

Exterior Walls

Exterior walls appear to have provided adequate performance to date. Some water ingress has been occurring at the base of the wall, which has been attributed to exterior membrane failures. Exterior sealant (caulking) should be removed and replaced throughout the building.

Windows and Doors

The swing doors at the building are performing as intended. Sliding doors and windows have

reached their life expectancy but still function. New windows and sliding doors are recommended to increase the efficiency and resident comfort within the building.

Water stains and areas of deteriorated sheathing were observed at several isolated locations in the vicinity of windows, providing evidence that windows are leaking. The damage is minor and isolated, therefore it is not cause for immediate concern.

Building paper lap details in the vicinity of windows are inconsistent. At some locations, laps are properly shingled, at some locations laps are reverse shingled, and at some locations gaps exist between sheets of building paper.


Our recommendations, along with order of magnitude budgets to implement our recommendations, are summarized in Table 1. Unless noted otherwise, implementation of these recommendations need not be considered urgent, but should be completed within the next five years.

Table 1 – Recommendations & Budget




Time Frame


Main Roofs – The existing membrane should be expected to provide approximately five more years of reliable service. The Strata should budget in the upcoming years to replace the main roofs with a new SBS roofing system

$ 275,000

5 Years


Lower Tier Roofs - A roof replacement program for these smaller roofs should be implemented within the following year. The roofs membranes should be replaced with a new SBS system. New rain water leader design should be incorporated, where required

$ 45,000

As soon as feasible


All Roof Areas - A qualified tradesman should review the low -sloped roofs annually and any required maintenance should be performed during this review .

$ 2,000


5.3.1.r1 Suite #813 – The existing balcony membrane should be removed and replaced with a new SBS system including concrete pavers overtop. The corroded steel framing members must be replaced with new. This work will entail removing the interior finishes and stucco and replace with new

$ 15,000

As soon as Possible




Time Frame

5.3.1.r2 Upper Exposed Balconies – The existing balcony membranes should be removed and replaced with a new SBS system, including concrete pavers overtop, as soon as feasible for The Strata. The balcony of Suite #608 should also have the membrane replaced.

$ 40,000

As soon as feasible

5.3.1.r3 Balcony Rain Water Collection System – A new rain water collection system be installed on the balconies (and roof decks where applicable) that collects the water, directs it to the ground level, and bypasses all balconies beneath.

$ 30,000

As soon as feasible


Roof Decks – The Strata review the age and condition of the roof deck membranes and, if warranted, replace them while other roof work is being completed.

$ 20,000

As soon as feasible

5.3.3.r1 Plaza Deck Membranes – The plaza deck membranes should be removes and replaced with new. This work could be completed possibly in three phases in the coming years. It would be prudent to commence this work in approximately three years time and continue the remaining two phases one year apart.

$ 75,000 X 3 phases = $ 225,000

3 to 5 Years

5.4.1.r1 Parking Garage Walls - The Strata should inspect

Dependant on


existing epoxy injection sites annually. Inspections

repair scheme

dependant on

should occur during a prolonged period of wet weather. If the leakage occurs through existing sites, re-injection should be considered. If leakage begins to occur at locations that have not been previously injected The Strata should consider implementing one of the above note leakage mitigation schemes.

repair scheme

5.4.2.r1 Parking Garage Slabs – Apply a traffic coating to the suspended slabs in the parking garage to prevent future water migration through the slab and subsequent concrete decay.

$ 75,000

As soon as feasible




Time Frame


Interior Spaces – The Strata should review the operation of the kitchen and bath exhaust fans in the suite to ensure they are performing as intended. Any non-operational fans should be replaced. The Strata should also advise all the residents that humidly levels within their suite should be managed by opening windows and the use of exhaust fans.


As soon as possible

5.6.r1 Exterior Walls – The exterior sealant be removed and replaced with new and all exterior locations. This should include all window/door interfaces, cladding interfaces and flashing details.

$ 50,000

2 Years

5.7.r1 Windows and Doors – If The Strata were looking to upgrade the performance of the windows, newly manufactured windows would provide substantial gains with regards to energy savings and resident comfort. This upgrade would also eliminate the majority of the condensation issues with the windows.

$ 400,000

At The Strata’s discretion

5.7.r2 Entire Building Envelope – The building envelope should be investigated at regular intervals and a regular maintenance program should be established.

$ 12,000

5 Years



1.0 INTRODUCTION McCuaig & Associates Engineering Limited (MAE) was retained by Strata Corporation VR 1047 (The

McCuaig & Associates Engineering Limited (MAE) was retained by Strata Corporation VR 1047 (The Strata) to conduct an evaluation of the building envelope assemblies that enclose the building located 1040 Pacific Street in Vancouver, BC. This building is known as Chelsea Terrace. Documentation that we have received indicates that the building was constructed in


This report has been organized into a number of sections and appendices. A description of the subject matter of each section and appendix is presented below. Section titles are indicated in bold uppercase font.

The INTRODUCTION provides an overview of the investigation including terms of reference and a description of the development.

The DOCUMENTS REVIEWED section describes the original construction drawings that were made available to MAE for this investigation. Relevant information that was obtained from the drawings is also described.

The methods and tools that were used to conduct this investigation are described in the METHODOLOGY section of the report.

The section entitled DESCRIPTION OF BUILDING ENVELOPE ASSEMBLIES describes the relevant building envelope assemblies that enclose the buildings that make up the building.

In the OBSERVATIONS, DISCUSSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS section, our field observations are described and their relevance to the performance of the building envelope is discussed. Photos that illustrate many of our observations are also contained in this section. Where applicable, recommendations to correct observed deficiencies are also discussed in this section. Order of magnitude budgets are also presented for each of the recommendations.

Our concluding remarks, including the limitations of this investigation are contained in the section entitled FINAL REMARKS.

Drawings of the various building elevations are presented in APPENDIX A.

The locations

where exploratory openings were conducted are shown on these drawings along with other

relevant comments.

APPENDIX B contains a Glossary of Terms referred to throughout this report.

APPENDIX C contains the completed occupant surveys.


Briefly, this investigation concerns previous, ongoing, or potential water ingress issues that are related to the following building envelope assemblies:

Roofs; Balcony structures; Plaza decks; Exterior walls below, at, and above grade, and; Exterior windows and doors.

The terms of the Client/Engineer agreement specify that upon completion of our field evaluations we must prepare a written report that:

Describes our observations; Provides recommendations to rectify observed building envelope deficiencies; and; Provides an estimate of order of magnitude costs to implement our recommendations.


Chelsea Terrace has been constructed in a high-density residential neighborhood on a sloping lot. The development is surrounded by mid and high-rise residential buildings and is approximately one block north of the ocean. The building consists of 118 units plus one amenities room and a common laundry room.

The building is nine stories high with parking on the first floor and a portion of the second floor. Residential units start on the second floor and extend to the top floor. All units have access to either private patios or balconies off their suites. Each unit is heated with individual electric baseboard heating systems.

The building structure is constructed from cast-in-place concrete.

This concrete makes up the

structural wall and floor components of the building as well as a large portion of the exterior


At some locations the exterior walls are comprised of light-gauge steel stud framing

with exterior sheathing and stucco as the exterior cladding. The windows and sliding doors in the building have double glazing and date back to the original construction.

The majority of the roofs at Chelsea Terrace are low-slope roofs, commonly referred to as “flat roofs”, and are protected with a 2-ply SBS sheet membrane. Pitched metal roofing exists at some location on the building. The low-sloped roofs direct water into internal drains while the pitched roofs direct water into external gutters and rain water leaders.

Detailed descriptions of roof and wall assemblies are found in Section 4.0.



2.0 DOCUMENTS REVIEWED The Strata gave MAE permission to purchase copies of the original construction drawings

The Strata gave MAE permission to purchase copies of the original construction drawings from the City of Vancouver. The drawings that were reviewed and are relevant to this report are described below:

Architectural Drawings:


Latest Issue Date:

Purpose of Issue:

Drawings Provided:

Structural Drawings:


Latest Issue Date:

Purpose of Issue:

Drawings Provided:

Hale Architects December, 1979 Proposal to Municipality A1 to A24

Read Jones Christoffersen Ltd. November, 1979 Issued for Building Permit S8 and S9 (other structural drawings were not available)

For the remainder of this report, the term Construction Drawings shall refer to Drawings A1 to A24, S8, and S9, as described above. It should be noted that the Construction Drawings were received in a compressed (smaller size) format and, due to their age, are at times difficult to read. The structural drawings were incomplete and difficult to read, thus only minimal information pertaining to the building’s structural systems was available. MAE acquired additional drawings of the building including; Plumbing, Mechanical, and Sprinkler drawings but these were not relevant for this investigation. All the drawings listed above will be handed over to The Strata for their records when the investigation is complete.

The Construction Drawings show:

A site plan;

Small scale floor plans including dimensions;

Building elevations, including a list of exterior finishes;

Selected building sections, including dimensions, and;

Window and door schedules.

The Construction Drawings are also referenced to provide orientation for the project and to develop preliminary budgets for repairs or remedial work.



3.0 METHODOLOGY This section describes how this investigation was conducted. 1. Prior to our site work,

This section describes how this investigation was conducted.

  • 1. Prior to our site work, an online occupant survey requesting information about known building envelope issues administered. Some residents, in lieu of the online version, submitted hard copies of the surveys. Copies of the completed surveys can be found in Appendix C.

  • 2. The Construction Drawings were reviewed in order to become familiar with the project.

  • 3. Subsequent to reviewing the drawings, visual non-invasive inspections of exposed structural components were completed. The purpose of the inspections was to evaluate the condition of the exposed structural components that must provide acceptable service levels for the remaining life of the building.

  • 4. Visual inspections of randomly selected building envelope components that are normally exposed to view were conducted. This included inspections of various roofs, balconies, plaza decks, and the exterior face of wall and window assemblies.

  • 5. Interior conditions within selected units were evaluated. Inspections of interior conditions for indications of water ingress from the exterior or excessive condensation, along with evidence of broken seals between inner and outer glazing, were conducted.

  • 6. Selected building envelope components that are normally hidden were visually inspected. The selected areas were dictated by the results given in the occupant surveys and our past experience with similar buildings. The inspections were accomplished by removing sections of drywall from the interior of the walls and creating an “exploratory opening” to view the insulation, steel studs, and wall sheathing within the assembly. Specific units that were inspected are listed in Table 2.

For each unit listed in Table 2,

interior surfaces of exterior walls and windows were inspected and humidity levels were checked.

Table 2 – Units Where Interior Inspections Occurred


Areas Inspected


Exterior wall, skylight, and sliding door area. No exploratory openings were conducted.


Exterior wall, bedroom wall, and sliding door area. An exploratory opening was conducted.


Exterior walls, bedroom walls, and sliding door area. Four exploratory openings were conducted.


Soffit and sliding door area. No exploratory openings were conducted.


Soffit, balcony, and sliding door area. No exploratory openings were conducted


Exterior wall in conducted.

living room. An exploratory opening was


Exterior walls and sliding door area. The drywall was previously opened up in this area.

Interior suite inspections were completed on August 29 th , 2011. Exterior inspections took place on both August 29 th and 30 th , 2011. The parking garage was reviewed at various times during the week of August 29 th , 2011. It was generally sunny and warm on the days immediately prior to the inspection days.

Relevant weather data is presented in Table 3. The weather data was obtained from the Environment Canada Website. The weather data pertains to the weather station located at the Vancouver International Airport, which is the closest weather station to the building that provides reasonable historical precipitation data.

Table 3 – Inspection Schedule And Weather Data


Precipitation at the Vancouver Airport

Historical Data






prior to August 29,

  • 29 Aug 11

2011, a total of 57.2 mm of rain fell on









historical average (1971-2000) of 78.7

  • 30 Aug 11

0.0 mm

mm for the same period (July and August).

A review of Table 3 indicates that the precipitation that preceded our fieldwork was approximately average. This suggests that the invasive inspections occurred at a time when the building envelope underwent a reasonable test of its performance in the summer months.



4.0 DESCRIPTION OF BUILDING ENVELOPE ASSEMBLIES Descriptions of the various building envelope assemblies that are the

Descriptions of the various building envelope assemblies that are the subject of this report are provided in this section. The descriptions are based on The Construction Drawings, our experience with similar buildings and, in some instances, our invasive visual inspections. There has been no attempt to verify the presence of all of the components described herein.


The majority of the roofs at Chelsea Terrace are low-slope and are protected with 2-ply SBS membranes. There are three small pitched metal roof assemblies on the east on northeast sections of the building, one of which has been replaced in the past two years. The pitched metal roofs drain by allowing water to flow from their peaks to external gutters at the perimeter of the roof. Due to the lack of drawings, we are unable to confirm the presence and the location of all the pitched roof components. The low-sloped roofs handle bulk water through interior drains. This section will deal primarily with low-sloped roofing.

The low-sloped roofs are present over the main upper roof area, the mechanical room, the lower tiered roofs, and some smaller projections on the north and south elevations. These roofs have SBS sheet membrane installed as the waterproofing layer. A good quality SBS roof membrane that has been properly installed can be expected to provide approximately 20 years of reliable service. Multiple penetrations exist through the membrane including plumbing stacks, exhaust vents, turbine vents, and surface drains.

The SBS membrane is typically applied with two layers; the base sheet is normally mechanically fastened to the structure and the cap sheet is “torched-on” and fully adhered. The cap sheet is granulated for UV light resistance. It appears that this membrane has been installed directly to the concrete substrate and most likely has a protection board or fibre board between the membrane and concrete.


Roof decks are outdoor living spaces that are situated over living spaces. Balconies are outdoor spaces connected to the suites that are not over living spaces. Plaza decks are pedestrian access deck areas that are typically overtop of parking areas. Chelsea Terrace has balconies, roof decks, and plaza decks all structurally supported by cast-in-place concrete.



The drawings indicate that water ingress through the balconies is prevented by a liquid membrane applied to the cast-in-place concrete; a concrete topping was placed overtop. The balconies are serviced by internal drains, which direct water to the balcony floors directly below. The soffit area on the underside of the balconies has a strip vent to provide ventilation to the soffit cavity.

In accordance with good water management practices, the balcony floors are generally sloped away from the building. It is our understanding that the balcony membranes have not been replaced at the building, although some balconies have received isolated repairs.

The floor layout at Chelsea Terrace is such that most balconies are situated beneath the balconies above. Refer to Photo 1. This layout provides substantial protection from precipitation and wind driven rain. The upper level balconies are not protected with such a generous overhang and are more vulnerable. Rain water freely accumulates on these upper balconies and must be collected by the surface drain.


4.2.1 Balconies The drawings indicate that water ingress through the balconies is prevented by a liquid

Photo 1 – Typical balcony layout.

Aluminum and glass guardrails provide balcony fall protection. The guardrails are fastened to the balcony upstand wall framing and into the exterior walls. The fastener holes through the building exterior provide a water ingress point.

  • 4.2.2 Roof Decks

The roof decks are typically located on the uppermost levels and are far fewer than the number of balconies on the building. The drawings indicate that water ingress through roof decks is also

prevented by a liquid membrane, with a concrete topping placed overtop. During the site investigation it was noted that some roof decks have had repairs completed, which most likely involved a membrane replacement and concrete pavers installed overtop. Refer to Photo 2.


Photo 2 – Roof deck on northeast corner of the building.

The roof decks are also serviced by internal drains, which either direct water to the balconies

directly below or the to the internal plumbing system. balcony guardrails.

The guardrails match the design of the

  • 4.2.2 Plaza Decks

The plaza decks are located on the second and third levels and are either over living space or the parking garage. It appears that the plaza deck assembly has been updated from the original construction, but it still appears to be aged. Concrete pavers have been placed over drainage matt, which sits atop a liquid applied membrane. Refer to Photo 3. On the west side of the building, landscaping has been installed overtop of the plaza deck membrane.

prevented by a liquid membrane, with a concrete topping placed overtop. During the site investigation it


Photo 3 – Plaza deck area on the south side of the building.

The plaza decks are typically integrated into the exterior walls to provide the base wall waterproofing. Bulk water is directed to internal by-level drains. These drains are connected to the building’s plumbing system.


The parking structure is located on the first and second levels of the building. The first level consists of a concrete slab-on-grade while the second level is a suspended concrete slab. It does not appear that the parking slabs have been protected with a traffic coating to prevent water migration through the slabs. The exterior ramp accessing the parking garage does have a waterproof traffic coating, which has been installed in the past year.

The exposed structural components within the parking garage were reviewed during the investigation. The structural components that were inspected included:

The top surfaces of the level 1 and level 2 slabs;

Portions of the underside of the level 3 slab which are visible from level 2. Note that the underside of some portions of the level 3 slab are covered with insulation.

The underside of the suspended portions of the level 2 slab, which are visible from level 1.

The majority of the structural components that support this building have been constructed from concrete. Typically, structural concrete is reinforced with embedded steel rods (rebar). It appears that level 3 and the majority of the upper parking garage floor (level 2) are supported by standard reinforced concrete slabs. The northeast quadrant of the level 2 floor and the level 1 floor consist of concrete slabs that are supported by the underlying soil – henceforth referred to as slabs on grade. It is likely that the slabs on grade are either un-reinforced or lightly reinforced.

When a concrete structure is loaded it deforms and becomes stressed. Certain components of the concrete stresses are transferred to the rebar, which often causes cracks to occur in the concrete. These cracks, which are necessary to transfer stresses from the concrete to the rebar, are not generally a cause for concern, unless they allow water to pass through the structure.

If water is allowed to continually pass through a section of concrete it will increase the likelihood that rebar or other embedded metal components will corrode. The corrosion process causes the steel to expand and exert outward pressure on the surrounding concrete. Eventually, the outward pressure will cause the concrete to delaminate and spall away. If corrosion occurs in several

adjacent bars and if it is severe enough the structure’s load carrying capacity will be reduced. Corroded rebar that has been installed purely for crack control will not significantly reduce the slab’s load carrying capacity, however, the incidence of corroded crack control steel may also indicate the presence of corroded main steel. It may take several years of water ingress before the level of corrosion is severe enough to become a structural concern.

Other consequences of ongoing water ingress through concrete include:

The appearance of rust stains, which often indicate that the corrosion process has started;

The appearance of efflorescence, which is a milky liquid that forms when water mixes with the lime in the concrete. The appearance of efflorescence is not detrimental to the concrete, however if it comes into contact with vehicles, it can damage their finish.


Water vapour is generated inside living spaces by activities such as bathing, cooking, and breathing. Warm air can hold more water vapour than cold air. When warm air that is laden with water vapour comes into contact with a cold surface, for example a cold aluminum window frame, the air cools. When the air cools, it can no longer hold as much vapour, causing the vapour to transform to a liquid state. Liquid water then forms against the cold surface. This process is referred to as condensation. Condensation generally increases when:

The number of residents within each unit increases;

The resident keeps multiple indoor plants;

Windows and doors are inadequately designed to resist heat flow between interior and exterior spaces;

There is an inadequate supply of fresh air.

Condensation can be controlled by:

Eliminating cold interior surfaces;

During cold weather, exchanging relatively dry exterior air for relatively moist interior air. This can be achieved by ensuring that each unit is adequately ventilated. Suitably designed exhaust fans, open windows, or a combination of the two can provide adequate ventilation.