A glass atrium is often used in buildings as a way of bringing a large amount of light into the structure. Similarly large, glazed facades have become commonplace in recent years, partly due to advancement in technology and materials, but also offer the same benefits as atriums, bringing natural light into the building.
As with most elements of the building envelope, leaks can occur, and as such, Thornton Consulting have built up considerable experience over the past four decades locating leaks of this nature.
For leak detection in glazing, we often use our Ultra-sound test equipment. This can locate air gaps through the glazing and therefore a path in which water can enter the structure. The test works by emitting high frequency sound waves aimed at the glazing from a handheld unit operated by one member of the team. On the other side of the of the atrium or window a second membrane of the team can locate any air gaps with a detector device which can home in on the exact point ultra-sound waves escape from the structure. The test is particularly useful in the efficient location of leaks in large atriums or glazed facades.
The test is non-contact and non-destructive, therefore it can be safely used for high atriums provided it is within the specifications of the equipment, as access is not necessarily needed directly beneath the glazing. In addition, it will not cause damage to the structure.
During the test, any areas of concern can be marked on the surface of the atrium/glazing and the corresponding areas plotted on a drawing for inclusion with the report.
Ultra-sound testing is often combined with other test methods during building leak investigations, in particular, simulated rainfall testing is frequently used to confirm areas located by the test are the source of the internal leaks.
Similar techniques can also be applied to smaller areas of glazing where joints or seals could be a potential source of internal leaks.