Our thoughts, publications, white papers, research and current events.

The Enduring Mystery of Weather Resistive Barriers and the Need for Standards

Thomas K. Butt, FAIA

Santa Ana Federal Building Water Intrusion Investigation & Repair Design, Santa Ana, CA, Attribution-NoDerivs CC BY-ND

This PowerPoint Presentation by Tom Butt was delivered at the Westcon ASTM E 2266 Seminar. "The Enduring Mystery of Weather Resistive Barriers and the Need for Standards" covers drainage walls, weather resistive barriers, common use and misuse of terminology, the California Building Code, and much more. Read More

Soffit/Weep Screeds in Cement Plaster (Stucco) Construction

Thomas K. Butt, FAIA

Stucco remains one of the most popular cladding materials in the west and southwest United States. Photo credit Dante Alighieri CC-ND

Conventional stucco, also called cement plaster, is a mixture of Portland cement, sand and water, to which plasticizers, traditionally lime, are often added to increase workability. In wood frame construction, stucco is usually applied in three coats over metal reinforcement (lath), with or without solid backing. Properly used, stucco is a desirable cladding material that is hard, strong, fire-resistant, rot and fungus resistant and durable. It adapts to any shape, is low in first cost and
has minimal requirements for maintenance. It remains one of the most popular cladding materials in the west and southwest United States. In spite of its many advantages, stucco has, when misused or abused, distinct undesirable characteristics that can cause or contribute to serious problems or construction failures. The undesirable result most often seen is water intrusion resulting in damage to structure or building contents. Read More

Weather Resistive Barriers and Flexible Flashings

Thomas K. Butt, FAIA
Presentation delivered at the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) Western Region Meeting. Read More

Hardboard and OSB Siding

Sharon M. Waterman, AIA
Many manufacturers of hardboard and oriented strand board (OSB) siding have been hit with class-action lawsuits across the country. Read More

Performance of Asphalt Fiberglass Shingles

Sharon Waterman, AIA
Asphalt Fiberglass Shingles

Asphalt Fiberglass Shingles CC-ND

Roofing specification writers should be cautious and be aware that not all asphalt fiberglass shingles are created equal and that stated warranties should not be regarded as insurance policies. Horizontal or vertical splitting or cracking of fiberglass shingles has been a concern in the roofing industry over recent years. Following complaints from roofing contractors, studies done by the Western States Roofing Contractors Association in 1992 and 1995 showed that asphalt fiberglass shingles, particularly the 20-year guaranteed shingles, were failing prematurely, some as early as six months, with average failures occurring at about five years. Read More

Limiting Construction Failure Losses – A Challenge for the Insurance Industry

Thomas K. Butt, FAIA and John E. Clinton, SE, AIA
A primer on construction failures. Why do they occur? How is the insurance industry affected? Building failure litigation - who is responsible? Read More

Complex Roofing Design Earns Interactive Resources an RCI Award

Edward J. Anisman, AIA
When the twenty-two year old built-up roofing system began to fail in 1991, the Navy decided to re-roof Building 680. Totaling 2,260 squares, Building 680 has one big roof! Read More

American Institute of Architects California Chapter Proposes Changes to Certificate of Merit Law

Thomas K. Butt, FAIA
American Institute of Architects

American Institute of Architects, CC-ND

The American Institute of Architects California Chapter (AIACC) is pursuing an amendment to either the Senate or Assembly Judiciary Committee Omnibus bills that would modify the process for certificates of merit in litigation involving design professionals. Read More

ASTM Task Group Addresses Challenges of Designing and Constructing Weather-Resistant Frame Buildings

Thomas K. Butt, FAIA
ASTM International is an international standards organization that develops and publishes voluntary consensus technical standards for a wide range of materials, products, systems, and services

ASTM International. CC-ND

ASTM Task Group E06.21.14, chaired by Serge Fedorov, AIA, an architect with the Oakland, CA Housing Authority, is closing in on a national standard that is intended to result in low-rise frame buildings that are resistant to leaks. Read More

The Practice of Architecture in California and Architectural Negligence

Thomas K. Butt, FAIA
In litigation, the determination of architectural negligence, or malpractice as it is commonly known, has to be evidenced by testimony of expert witnesses. In assessing whether or not an architect conformed to the "standard of care," an expert witness must consider whether or not the architect used ordinary care and skill, that is, what a reasonably prudent architect would do in the same community and in a given time frame given the same or similar circumstances. Read More