Water infiltration is a common problem among New York City buildings. The range and severity of our weather test the integrity of the buildings materials and affect its envelope over time. The age, quality, construction methods used, and maintenance of the exterior components will determine how the building performs over time.
Among the weather challenges, exterior water infiltration in a building is usually located along the rooftop floors (due to exposure), rooms below terraces, sidewalks, vaults, and interior areas around facade penetrations and openings such as windows, doors, A/C sleeves, balconies, ducts, etc.
Interior leaks within apartment units also exist and may be caused by plumbing deficiencies or ventilation issues, and are usually located along bathrooms, kitchens or areas near HVAC ducts/ systems. Condensation along the bathrooms due to lack of ventilation can sometimes be mistaken as exterior infiltration.
Do new buildings leak less than old ones?
Not necessarily; new construction usually presents larger wall openings. Windows and curtain walls systems can leak worse than a solid mass brick wall due to improper frame/drainage design, or if sealant and waterproofing is incorrectly installed or designed.
Window wall systems and infiltration through frame joints
Despite lack of waterproofing, the mass offered by older masonry buildings may sometimes hold significant amounts of exterior moisture before signs of infiltration are noted along the interiors.
How to prevent moisture infiltration?
Maintenance of materials along the sensitive areas noted above is fundamental to keep a water tight envelope.
Mayta + Sebastian recommends:
1. Periodic review and cleaning of the roof drains, scuppers and/or gutters. Drains must remain accessible at paved terraces and roofs for an easier maintenance process.
Paver removal needed for drain review/ maintenance
2. Review and replacement of sealants along Window and Door perimeters, parapet copings, A/C sleeves, and other roof/facade joints.
3. Review and repair of facade cladding surfaces, and maintenance of exterior coatings (stucco, EFIS, brick faces). Open (unsealed) facade penetrations must be avoided and protected with appropriate sealants and Flashing systems.
What should I do if I notice a leak?
Report the issue to your building manager. A professional should then assess the area and determine potential sources of infiltration and repairs. Temporary protection can be recommended by the professional to protect obvious sources of infiltration while permanent repairs are scheduled.
If you suspect the presence of mold, contact an Environmental Hygienist. Appropriate ventilation must be provided at areas of interior leaks. The use of the dehumidifiers can expedite the drying process, but will only be effective if the exterior source of infiltration has been repaired. Interior repairs should wait until the source is addressed by the professional/ contractor.
How can sources of leaks be located?
The use of moisture meters, infrared cameras, probes, and water tests help to track patterns of moisture movement.
A good understanding of the building's construction details is critical to pinpoint the infiltration source and potential repair options.
Typically, the affected area is located and investigated, and moisture percentages and infrared anomalies are recorded by The Professional. The related exterior areas are then reviewed for visual signs of potential infiltration sources.
If the source cannot to be found visually; closely monitored water test can be conducted to pinpoint the source.
M+S conducts all infiltration investigations using the latest equipment and technology. Our staff is well acquainted with NYC construction standards and all our reviews are performed by our registered architect in order to expedite a solution to infiltration issues.
Should you suspect water infiltration issues in your building please feel free to call us for a free consultation, we are here to help. At Mayta + Sebastian Architecture we care for your building.
The project complex located in Queens-NY houses three six-story tall buildings; requiring three typical architraves to be restored. Back in 2016, M+S began working on the replacement of the architrave that presented the most signs of movement.
The replacement of the architrave precast and cast in place concrete segments was recommended due to signs of movement and dislodging.
Movement along vertical panels and spalling along the bottom edge was noted during our initial visit.
Upon review of the existing architrave roofing (see below) it was clear that moisture infiltration had exacerbated the deterioration of the concrete panels below. The existing roof system had open/unsealed joints, insufficient pitch and improper termination along the building’s façade brick wall.
Investigatory probes (see photos below) were carefully conducted to determine anchorage system to the main spandrel beam and evaluate conditions of existing structure. All panels were re-secured and waterproofed upon review by M+S.
Due to the location of the dislodging segments, the installation of protection (scaffold shed) and removal of the existing panels was expedited. The sidewalk shed was necessary to keep safety and use of the main entrance active during construction.
Upon careful removal of the existing concrete segments; the existing spandrel steel beam was scraped, primed, painted, waterproofed and protected with new brick units. Wall ties were welded along the web section of the spandrel beam in order to secure the new masonry and comply with code regulations/industry standards (see progress photos below).
A new steel framed structure was designed by our structural engineers based on the dead loads, wind loads, and loads applied by the new GFRC panels. The new GFRC segments were manufactured by DeNotto Precast Inc.
The panels were manufactured using Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete (GFRC) in order to reduce the weight of the architrave cladding. The new panels were approximately 1.25" thick; while the original panels were 4" thick.
See GFRC panels and installation in progress below.
The GFRC segment joints were carefully sealed using backer rod, primer and caulking manufactured by Sika Corporation U.S.
Upon installation; the new GFRC and the existing pier panels were coated and sealed.
A new built-in gutter was installed along the top section of the architrave. The copper gutter was waterproofed using a fluid applied system manufactured by Suprema Commercial Roofing (see below). The new built in gutter allowed proper drainage to the side gutters and also the full presentation of the new architrave crown segments.
The new downspouts along the sides of the entrance were extended away from the building walls to prevent moisture intrusion to the basement walls below the entrance.
The entrance ceiling was also replaced and two recessed lights were added to improve exterior lighting.
M+S Architecture is proud to announce the completion of our façade restoration project on the Upper East Side in Manhattan built circa 1922.
The facade repairs were completed by Xinos Construction Corp. as part of the 8th Cycle FISP repairs specified by M+S. All the disturbed facade elements were repaired to their original design and materiality. Upon completion of the project the building’s FISP status was upgraded to SAFE by the NYC DOB Façade Unit.
The scope of work included: brick repointing, replacement and repair of the limestone windowsills and water tables, replacement of cracked bricks, replacement and waterproofing of steel lintels, raising of low roof parapets, and restoration of the existing brick chimney. Repointing of the entire front/north facade was conducted to address mortar spalling and help “erase” previous patchwork along the corner and lintels.
Repairs of limestone sections along the ground floor panels were custom stained by OPUS ARCHITECTURAL ARTS, LLC using mineral coatings manufactured by Cathedral Stone. Patch staining was conducted to blend the stone patches into the adjacent stones.
Brick centering was used to recreate existing brick patterns along window lintels scheduled for replacement. Brick centering is a technique used to support bricks during the restoration of a brick arch. The use of the temporary structure allows the bricks of an arch to lay during construction, until the mortar gains strength. As soon as the work is set, the centering is carefully removed.
Due to the amount of sections requiring repairs at the third floor stone ledge, coating was conducted along main segments to ensure a consistent finished appearance.
Because of budget limitations, the metal cornice proposed by M+S was not incorporated in the final scope of work. Building cornices serve as "hats" for the facade walls protecting them from direct water impact or water washing down along the top floors. The original building cornice was removed during previous façade repair projects performed by others.
Many of the repairs performed as part of this restoration project are typical for a building of this age and construction type in climates like as New York City. Keep an eye on our blog for a follow up post about “Façade Building blocks” to learn more. If you suspect that your building may have similar issues, feel free to call us for a consultation.
Asbestos is the generic term for a group of naturally occurring fibrous minerals. The three types most commonly used in buildings are chrysotile, amosite, and crocidolite.
The fibers are extremely strong, flexible, and very resistant to heat, chemicals, and corrosion. The fibers can be spun, woven, bonded into other materials, or pressed to form paper products; for these reasons and because its low cost, asbestos has been widely used for many commercial applications.
Where is asbestos found?
Almost every public and commercial building in the United States constructed before the 1987 used asbestos. It was applied as fireproofing on steel beams and columns during construction of multistory buildings, added to concrete, asphalt, vinyl materials in roof shingles, pipes, siding, wall board, floor tiles, joint compounds and adhesives; and used in acoustical plaster and as a component of texture mixtures sprayed on ceilings and walls.
When are the building residents at risk?
Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) can become hazardous when they release fibers into the air due to damage, disturbance, or deterioration over time. The risk is even greater if the building is demolished, renovated, or remodeled.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) exposure to asbestos fibers can cause serious health risks. The major risks from asbestos come from inhaling and ingesting the fibers, which can easily penetrate body tissues and cause disabling or fatal diseases, such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, lung cancer, stomach and/or colon cancer.
When should we test for asbestos?
Before any alteration, renovation, modification, demolition, or plumbing work takes place, or changes in such work occur, the building owner shall be responsible for determining the absence or presence of asbestos-containing material which may be disturbed during the course of the work.
The presence of ACM cannot be confirmed visually but through laboratory analysis of samples. The asbestos investigations shall be conducted in accordance with DEP regulations and must be inspected by a licensed asbestos inspector prior to construction and permits.
Upon review of laboratory results; the asbestos investigator will determine if you have an “Asbestos Project” or “not an asbestos project”
Will the presence of asbestos affect my project’s budget?
The presence of asbestos will likely affect the budget, timeline and scope of work of the project.
Asbestos material can sometimes be encapsulated or left undisturbed in order to avoid the considerable expenses associated with the standard abatement project.
If the removal of the asbestos is necessary, an Environmental Hygienist should be hired to prepare a remediation plan following OSHA, DOB, DEP and EPA standards. Remediation projects require considerable protection, mechanical ventilation (HEPA fans), air samples and site monitoring.
How does asbestos affect my project filing?
Owners must demonstrate to the Department of Buildings that requirements for asbestos abatement have been satisfied before a DOB permit may be issued. The NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) requires that you test for asbestos and file an ACP-5 form with the applications for interior and exterior renovations.
When asbestos is found over the limits allowed, the DOB will not release any building permits until they have confirmation of completed remediation in the form of a DEP Asbestos Project Completion Form (ACP21).
Additionally, Section 22 of the PW1 form needed for alteration filing requires that the professional of record (P.E. or R.A.) indicates if the project is “not an asbestos project” or if it will require asbestos abatement. The number of the ACP-5 provided by the asbestos inspector must also be entered in this form.
What is the ACP-5 Form?
The ACP-5 is the Asbestos Assessment Report prepared and provided by the Environmental Hygienist/Asbestos inspector upon review of the asbestos test results.
Asbestos Assessment Report (ACP-5 Form)
If the asbestos investigator finds that less than 10 square feet or 25 linear feet of Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) will be disturbed, the project is considered “Not an Asbestos Project.” Even though such a project is termed “Not an Asbestos Project,” asbestos must still be abated in accordance with all relevant laws.
The ACP-5 could also certify that you’re not going to disturb any ACM during your construction job or that the premises is free of any ACM. Once DOB receives the Form ACP-5, DOB may proceed with the DOB permitting process.
What is the ACP7 Form?
The ACP-7 is the “Asbestos Project Notification Form” to be filed with DEP if the amount of asbestos to be disturbed exceeds 10 square feet or 25 linear as it is considered an “Asbestos Project”
Asbestos Project Notification (Form ACP-7)
Upon removal of all asbestos, you can file the ACP-21 form, which can be used to file and secure a construction permit for the entire job.
For more information related to asbestos project forms, pre-abatement activities, and conducting the abatement please click here.
When Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) is properly managed, release of fibers into the air is prevented or minimized, and the risk of asbestos related disease can be reduced to a negligible level.
How to reduce exposure to asbestos?
To reduce exposure, it is fundamental to test and determine where asbestos is located, then plan protection and work protocols to minimize activities that will release fibers into the air. The potential for a particular form of asbestos to release fibers will depend on several factors including the degree of friability, wear, age, and location.
Remember, the mere presence of asbestos itself does not create a health hazard unless the material is disturbed and releases fibers to the atmosphere. Protect yourself and others by being aware of where asbestos is located, the dangers involved, and using common sense when working around ACM.
A building physical condition review is the visual analysis of a built structure performed by a design professional (Register Architect or Professional Engineer). This review aims to determine the condition of the main building components and systems.
The building observations include the building envelope (facade, elevations and roofs), private interiors, common areas (parking, corridors, terraces); as well as, the mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems. This review can be more accurate and productive if accurate building records such as active guarantees, construction documents (for previous repairs or original construction), and resident survey are available.
Exploratory probes can be coordinated to help evaluate underlying elements where critical issues are noted.
Besides a written description of the existing condition of the building systems, the design professional includes in the report a prioritized list of maintenance and repairs to keep each system in proper operation. The subject list is accompanied by photographs, drawings, and cost estimates based on industry standards.
The estimated budget helps the building Board/management in planning for maintenance changes or assessments depending on the building's financials. The estimate can only be confirmed upon preparation of construction documents and a bidding process inviting qualified contractors.
The prioritized plan outlined in the physical condition report helps the building management to avoid costly emergency repairs.
Mayta Sebastian Architecture is qualified to prepare and provide a physical conditions report as well as to create a digital model of the building (via laser scanning and BIM) to facilitate the record keeping, analysis and update of the building conditions. Visit our building analytics sections for further information.
M+S Architecture’s role in reviewing a proposed alteration focuses on delivering an opinion as to whether the work proposed by the Architect of Record for the project would have a negative effect on a building, and/or the habitability of other occupied/ common areas of the building. This private review shall not be confused with the mandatory DOB plan review conducted by a plan examiner during review of the construction documents (drawings and forms) filed by the Architect of Record for a renovation project. Our review is coordinated with the architect of record so the aesthetic elements of the plans, costs and feasibility of its construction are not affected. Depending on the scope, M+S also conducts site observations at critical construction milestones to confirm that construction complies with the submitted documents. A plan review is recommended to maintain the integrity, safety, and accurate record keeping of any building.
Architect of Record is the architect or architecture firm whose name appears on a building permit issued for a specific project on which that architect or firm performed services. This architect is hired by the shareholder proposing the renovation project.
Building Architect is the architect or architecture firm hired by the Building's Board/Managing Agent to review an application for renovations in a building.
Plan Review: When hired as Building Architects our review begins upon receipt of alteration agreement forms, and construction documents (filing forms and drawings) provided by the Owner, Managing Agents or president of the Board.
Typically in Cooperative and Condominium buildings; the shareholders will request the review of ALT-2 applications. ALT2 applications are filed for scopes of work that include “multiple types of work, not affecting use, egress or occupancy”. ALT1 applications are filed for “major alterations that will change use, egress or occupancy”.
The Limited Alteration Application (LAA) is used for plumbing work, fire suppression piping replacement and repairs, and oil burner installations that do not include construction work. Generally, with the exception of some minor new installations, LAA work is restricted to repair and/or replacement of existing equipment and does not require a Professional Engineer (P.E.) or a Registered Architect (R.A.).
Our review is focused on compliance with the building alteration agreements, safety, related codes, and industry standard details that may be detrimental to the performance and maintenance of the building.
Alteration agreements are contracts between the shareholder and the building in which the shareholder agrees to comply with applicable regulations, codes, and that the building will not be damaged by the proposed renovation. The agreements may include the allowed work hours, areas to be used as storage, modifications prohibited in the building, and so on.
Report: Upon review of the documents, M+S delivers a written report that includes an detailed list of items that will require clarification/revision by the architect of record. The report’s conclusion indicates weather the approval of the alteration is recommended to the Board (so Architect can file the job), or if it requires additional revisions to comply with building rules and other applicable standards or codes.
We are aware that the additional revision process can delay any project; therefore, we encourage scheduling a meeting or phone call with the architect of record to expedite scope clarifications and approvals.
Visits: Depending of the scope of work filed by the shareholders, we would recommend that site observations are scheduled at least at the following construction milestones.
Asbestos and Lead: Asbestos and lead testing is recommended if the project requires demolition as dust infiltration to adjacent apartments and common spaces is one of the most common problems during renovations.
Note that every repair, maintenance, renovation, or remodeling project that requires a DOB work permit also requires an asbestos survey. New York City Local Law 76/85 requires sampling and testing of materials to be disturbed during construction to verify that no asbestos is present, before the construction work begins.
M+S requests that an ACP-5 (asbestos form) is submitted during the review process to verify that the proper asbestos sampling/testing has been conducted.
If asbestos is found present, an environmental hygienist shall be engaged to prepare a remediation plan. If lead is found present, site specific lead safe work practices should be implemented by the contractor. A remediation project that requires asbestos remediation and/or lead safe practices may impact significantly the cost and timeline of the projects.
To celebrate our 2nd year in business M+S traveled to Junin-Peru last December to donate a scholarship of $1,250.
Initially, Raul attempted coordination of the scholarship with the local women’s school (Cory Coyllor). Once in Acolla, Raul learned that the principal was accused of corruption and that many students had switched schools due to the poor administration.
Due to lack of response from Cory Collor’s principal, the scholarship was coordinated with Collegio “Inca
Garcilazo De La Vega”.
Upon a prompt, transparent and cordial coordination with the principal Mag. Max Antonio Canchayd Limache, and the school teachers; the scholarship was awarded to the top 4 graduating students.
The students, Ivan Ladera Julcarima, Yulisa Quispe Chuquipoma, Otlin Palacios Dávil, received a fully paid semester of college preparation at CEPRE UNCP (” Center of Pre-University studies for the “Universidad National Del Centro Del Peru”).
The student Aldo Inga Cipriano received a brand-new laptop.
Funds for the laptop (approximately $300) where obtained through private donators @gofundme website.
“Inca Garcilazo De La Vega” is the school where Raul Mayta Sr. graduated from. Fifty years ago he donated a large collection of preserved animals to the school’s lab after becoming a biologist.
Our scholarship effort aims to balance, support, promote education in rural areas affected by many years of violence.
M+S hopes to continue the family history of support towards education as a way to achieve equality and personal/ communal improvement.
With everyone’s support (friends, clients and family) we hope to continue the scholarship on a yearly basis.
Façade Inspection Safety Program (FISP)
What is FISP?
Façade Inspection Safety Program (FISP), previously known as Local Law 11, is a law aimed to ensure the public safety, as well as structural stability of the New York City buildings. The owners of buildings with six or more stories must have their buildings inspected every five years according to the buildings block number and DOB inspection sub-cycle.
Inspections are conducted by a Qualified Exterior Wall Inspector (QEWI).
Raul Mayta R.A. is a NYC licensed Registered Architect and Qualified Exterior Wall Inspector (QEWI) specialized in reviews along exterior surfaces of the buildings for structural integrity. Mayta + Sebastian Architecture prepares and files reports including our findings with NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) in compliance with standardized FISP requirements.
All facades/elevations must be visually inspected. The QEWI may employ high powered binoculars as well as various types of boom lifts or suspended scaffolds in order to take a closer look. Touching and tapping the surfaces with a hammer is typically performed during close-up facade review to provide a better understanding of the building’s conditions.
After the Qualified Exterior Wall Inspector (QEWI) inspects the building façades, he assigns the following categories:
A building cannot skip an inspection cycle, no matter how much time has passed since the deadline. If an inspection report has not been filed for a previous cycle, the DOB will issue a "No Report Filed" violation.
Once the report has been filed after deadline, the DOB may then retroactively issue a base penalty of up to $1,000 for filing late, plus up to $250 per month past the deadline.
The building owners should hire Registered Architect (RA) or Qualified Exterior Wall Inspector (QEWI) who know how to enhance a building’s infrastructure, not just the façade. Something seemingly minor identified in a report, like a cosmetic crack in the wall, could be symptomatic of a bigger problem.
Raul Mayta R.A. reviews with the owner specific goals and budgets before providing the building owner with qualified information and a strategy to ensure the building’s façade performance for many years to come.
On December 13th, 2017, we will be traveling to present our first scholarship for women's education in Acolla, Peru.
Mayta + Sebastian is funding the initial scholarship of $1,000 in addition to the funds donated through gofundme.com in the image of my grandmother, Angelica Mayta Vda. Lino.
Funds will be used to provide additional scholarships and towards improving the schools facilities and educational tools.
The District of Acolla is one of the thirty-four districts of the Province of Jauja, located in the Department of Junín, in Peru. It is a beautiful place with mesmerizing nature about 122 square kilometers, and a population of approximately 8400 inhabitants. The district is now mainly occupied by elderly people, which are dedicated to agriculture.
Our goal is to raise money for Acolla’s Women’s school as a scholarship, and to show the young women the importance of atending school.
We also hope to grow the program over time to:
– Promote education in an area that has been abandoned for hundreds of years. The Acolla area was also affected by Terrorism in the 70s - 90s and constantly abused by the military.
– Promote gender equality in the native/Indian community.
– Promote women’s education in an area where women have been dedicated/limited to domestic support the men.
– Promote the lifestyle in the mountains as an effort to promote the native/Peruvian identity.
I would like to share the story of the heroes who encouraged my life and who inspired our project.
My grandmother Angelica Lino vda. Mayta was a daughter of farmers, who did not know how to write or read. She gave birth to 5 children, three of whom died in early infancy due to poor health-care conditions. After the death of her husband Maximo, she raised her two sons as well as a third step son, always promoting the importance of their education. Her two son's Raul and Victor went on to become University professors,
a testament to her tenacity and example. Currently, she is 100 years old, living in Cusco. She dedicated her life to her farm work, having hundreds of workers, and educating her son's by herself. She is an extraordinary example of hard work, dedication and leading by example.
My grandfather, Maximo Mayta Allpas, was the son of very poor farmers. He worked in illegal mines since he was a child until 45 years old. He died of tuberculosis due to the toxicity of the work in the mines at the age of 53, leaving behind his two sons who were only 7 and 14. When he was 45 years old (already a bit sick), he became the volunteer mayor of the town of Acolla, and promoted the ﬁrst communal School as well as organized the community for the construction of the school for women. Until the last days of his life, he promoted education at his town and in his house.
Morning Walks are our Favorite
Like many NYC residents, the joy of our morning commute comes partly from getting to walk the streets of this amazing city. For us, getting the kids to school is part of that commute, and it means we end up stumbling across some pretty great Architecture around Bay Ridge. Because we love these gems are filling up our phone's photo stream, we thought we would share them in a series of studies of the everyday Architecture around us.
Because it is a mainly Residential neighborhood, we are starting with some of our favorite Houses, but stay tuned for more!