We received this PDF from Robert Funk, a building technologist who specializes in four story wood frame envelope failure.
Robert says that despite the Leaky condo crisis across the lower mainland we’re still building condos that will have water problems.
Here’s an excerpt and a few pictures from the PDF, download the full PDF here for the complete story.
“The way we’ve always done it”Written by Robert Funk
Leaky Condo remediation has come a long way in the last decade. In the last decade we have realized what a mess has been made and covered up in the walls of our homes. There are countless stories of heart break caused by financial devastation. First you purchase a home that you can afford and make payments on for the next 25 years in which time your building falls apart. Then comes the infighting of strata and owners, some for some against remediation. You pay a large sum of money, usually more than your original savings and down payment. Then for the next 18 months you live like a hostage under a tarp with loud apelike construction workers climbing in and out of your windows and banging on your walls. Welcome to Home Owner Hell.
I’m a building technologist and I specialize in Four Story Wood Framed Envelope Failure. This means I take buildings apart for a living. Things have changed allot, Rain screen,we discovered was used on 100 year old houses, (we never had to take them apart so it took a long time to discover this). Many more things have changed but some things have stayed the same and some have gotten even worse.
For years (at least 28) electricians have been installing Type 1 interior rated outlet boxes (electrical enclosures) on the outside walls of wood framed buildings. When I ask the electrical inspector about the box, they tell me “It’s ok because it is still inside”. Wow, the Type 1 box is inside the wall, so if and when (always when) the cladding, electrical cover or electrical cover gasket fails, the water now runs directly into the wall cavity. When I tell the inspectors this they say “It is not an electrical issue if the building leaks, talk to the building department”. I do and I have for five years and guess what, the building departments say “electrical box, electrical problem”.
That is just the tip of the Iceberg, here comes the really exiting parts and well some really boring code parts. Let’s get the really boring code references out of the way first.
- CEC = Canadian electrical code 22nd Edition 2012
- BCBC= British Columbia Building Code
- NRC=National Research Councel
- Electrical Safety Act 1998
- CSA= Canadian Safety Association
Order of rules and regulations
1. CEC 2-024 Approved electrical equipment
2. CEC 2-100 Approval markings
3. CSA C22.2 No. 18.2-6 Test for electrical boxes
4. Safety Standards Act BC Reg. 186/2009
5. Wet Location
6. Rule 2-400 Types of enclosures (boxes)
7. Rule 2-402 Markings for Wet Location boxes
8. Rule 12-3020 Basic rules for Damp Location boxes
9. Rule 26-702 Boxes exposed to weather
10. CEC Part 1 Sec 0 Page 7. Definition of Wet Location
11. CEC Table 65 Page 365, Enclosure Type, 1 through 6P
12. Rule 18-106(5) IP introduction
13. CEC Appendix B Page 441 Ingress Protection Rating
14. Rule 2-124 With reference to BCBC and building protection
15. BCBC Part 9 Section 220.127.116.11.6 Penetration of exterior walls
16. BCBC Part 9 Section 18.104.22.168 Building code Exterior walls
These are the three points that need to be changed and the code to back it up.
1).The most basic rules of the CEC, in simple language states that all components in an electrical system must be certified (Rule 2-024). Certification is done by a company that is accredited by CSA. Electrical equipment is defined as any apparatus that is part of, connected too or near an electrical system of any kind. The Electrical Safety Act 1998 states Non Certified electrical products may not be displayed for more than 14 days or be sold or installed. These boxes must be tested to CSA C22.2 and pass.
2).The Types of electrical boxes vary from Type 1 for interior regular locations, Type 4 for exterior walls, Type 6P for under water locations. Ingress Protection (IP) is a rating that defines where a box can be installed.
3)The building code and electrical codes dance with each other when it comes to maintaining the Air Barrier and maintaining the Fire Barrier.
This is what has gone wrong and needs to stop.
The electrician installs a TYPE 1 (interior rated enclosure) outlet box inside the insulated wall cavity. Rule 2-400 of the CEC says all electrical enclosures on an exterior wall must be Type 4, IP44 or say “Wet Location”.The box they install is only rated interior so that’s why they put the box in the wall.Next the siding contractor installs one of several different, cheap, not legal (as defined by Rule 2-024 CEC) extension boxes (CSA C22.2 No.18.2-06).
The electrician cannot remove the extension box because the siding is already on, so he just uses 3 inch wood screws and puts the plug and cover on.I have lots of pictures of the rot that occurs when the wood screws loosen, snow piles up or rain comes down and leaks rite into the wall cavity. Outside lights are even better because the light is heavy so when the #8 wood screws loosen, the light leans forward and now it works like a funnel. Note: plug screws are #6-32 and lights are #8-32.
Don’t understand why they are still doing things this way?
Welcome to The birthplace of leaky condos.
“But that’s the way we have always done it”
Here’s the full PDF with more pictures and relevant building code.