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Air Barrier Association of America (ABAA)

The Center of Excellence for the Air Barrier Industry

Air Barrier Association of America (ABAA) Job Site Technical Support

-written by Mr. Laverne Dalgleish, Executive Director of ABAA

ABAA supports all parties involved in the installation of the air barrier on a project when the project specifications includes the requirement for the ABAA Quality Assurance Program (QAP).

Specifying ABAA

ABAA assists the Specifier by providing master specifications for different types of air barriers, which may be downloaded from the ABAA website (www.airbarrier.org). These specifications include proper wording for air barriers and the verbiage which will make the ABAA QAP part of the project.

ABAA Projects On-Site Technical Support

Even before the project is started, ABAA provides support to the design professional by: providing lists of evaluated air barrier products (which must meet the ASTM standards required by ABAA), providing downloadable specifications for various air barrier materials, and education. Also, when your project is ABAA QAP specified, your project is required to use ABAA Certified installers (Per ISO 17024 requirements for Certification), independent audits of the installed air barrier material (by auditors whom are trained to review air barriers), and ABAA is there to assist the TEAM should an issue occur regarding the air barrier (from installation issues to product concerns).

On-Site Material Issues

ABAA provides assistance to the team, should it be determined the material is not what is expected or does not install the way it should. The ABAA office will walk the participants through the requirements for the material. Has the storage of the material been done properly? Was the environmental conditions proper for installation? Was the substrate properly prepared? What was the equipment operating parameters? What material property is not being met? How to add? With ABAA’s office experience, many of these issues can be resolved expediently which saves time, money and keeps the project on schedule.

For instance, there was a material that was not meeting the project requirements and the installer was working on the equipment to no avail and the result was the material installed had to be removed and new material installed. Pictures of the installation and the equipment was sent to the ABAA office and it was immediately noticed that the equipment settings were not correct. The main problem was the primary heaters had not been turned on and the installer tried to compensate for this by doubling the operating pressure. Instructions were given to the installer to flip a switch to turn the heaters on to set the pressure to the normal settings and to match the primary heaters with the hose heat. This was done and within minutes, the material started flowing properly.

The ABAA office will also bring in the material manufacturer when the most obvious things are covered. ABAA has on file the material property test results and when needed, can compare the on-site material to the tested material. This keeps the focus on solving the problem rather than simply blaming each other.

On-Site Installation Issues

First of all, ABAA has worked to reduce on-site installation issues by having developed and continually delivering training courses on how to install various types of air barrier materials. ABAA then confirms that the installer has the knowledge, skills and abilities through a certification process in accordance with ISO 17024 International Standard.

On the job site, the installer may run into a situation which he/she has not encountered before. The ABAA Accredited Contractor or the ABAA Certified Installer can email or fax documents, pictures, sketches or drawings to the ABAA office. Proposed modifications are returned to the installer. Programs such as FaceTime or Skype have provided the office with a real time look at the issues on the project site.

When needed, the ABAA office brings in the manufacturer to assist in the recommendations. In some cases an ABAA auditor will be sent to the project to obtain a first-hand look at the situation and to gather information on the exact problem. Specific instructions are then developed to correct the problem.

All of the support provided by the ABAA office is for the proper materials being installed in a manner that will provide the building performance required. ABAA’s approach is to solve and resolve the issue as quickly as possible so the project stays on track, on time, and on budget.