A Swedish Perspective on the Prevention of Moisture Problems During the Building’s Design Phase
Keywords:uilding physics, building performance, interviews, tools, consultants, education, and economics
AbstractMoisture problems in buildings are increasingly being reported in the mass media in Sweden, often leading to some controversial stories about companies and their building processes. Using building physics and building performance principles during the design stage can often prevent most problems from occurring. One of the big questions is, with all the available knowledge about designing a building, how can these problems still be occurring in new buildings? This paper explores this question by interviewing some engineering consultants on how they evaluate the performance of a building, and to what extent knowledge about building physics theory is being used during the design process to prevent moisture problems from occurring. It was found that building physics is not used extensively in the building industry due to many reasons. The lack of good design tools and the fact that clients do not request it are two main reasons. However, it was revealed that clients do not request it because they either have no interest in spending the extra money for a better design, or they do not know it is optional and just assume everything is taken account of in the final design. Furthermore, the consultants do not advise them on the available options applicable for their particular design. Due to the method used to analyse the interviews, an unexpected relationship between education level and their perceived level of awareness of building performance issues emerged. It appears that the higher the level of education of the consultant, the more they are aware of the impact of performance issues in a building’s design. Their experience level does not appear significant in this relationship, however this cannot be proven and will require more studies to verify.
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