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Life-Saving Medical Facility Faces Moisture Issues

Ryder Trauma Center is recognized as one of the world’s leading healthcare facilities and is credited with saving thousands of lives every year as a part of the University of Miami and Jackson Memorial Medical Center. As the only certified Level 1 trauma center in South Florida for both children and adults, Ryder is centered on the principle of lowering the preventable death rate by expediting delivery of care during the crucial hour immediately after injury occurs. So when this facility with a worldwide reputation for clinical excellence began experiencing moisture intrusion issues, it quickly became apparent they would need a timely and non-disruptive solution to the problem.

Combining Field Expertise and Modeling Software

36_ryder_trauma_centerTerracon was retained as the building enclosure and moisture intrusion consultant for renovation of the four-story, 166,000 square-foot free-standing facility. The Ryder building enclosure includes all the systems separating the interior environment from the exterior, primarily consisting of an Exterior Insulating Finish System wall cladding (a synthetic material system in the stucco family), punch type windows and storefront systems, membrane roof systems, and below-grade waterproofing systems. Terracon consulted throughout the project design phase and performed a hygrothermic analysis on the building enclosure systems as part of the design and construction documents peer review.

Hygrothermic modeling is the process Terracon uses to analyze a building’s moisture conditions and the effects of humidity on building wall and roof systems, and the response of those systems and their components based on thermal loading of the outdoor environment. Thermal loading occurs when temperature conditions in a building influence moisture transport and, inversely and simultaneously, high moisture levels lead to increased heat loss.

Efficient Building Enclosure Diagnosis

Vapor Review_Page_1The team reviewed Ryder’s existing facility drawings and overlaid them with the proposed renovation systems. Terracon identified two individual vapor barriers in the wall cavity: one existing and one proposed as part of the new design. The team determined the existing vapor barrier would create condensation problems in the wall cavity, especially in the hot, humid Miami climate. Next came the challenge of removing the existing vapor barrier. The planned renovation would involve only the exterior cladding and interior finishes as most of the facility’s systems were scheduled to remain in place. As a result, the only feasible method of vapor barrier removal was from the exterior after the cladding had been removed. All of the vapor barrier could not be accessed from the exterior, so Terracon was tasked with determining the percentage of existing vapor barrier that should be removed to control the location of naturally forming condensation.

Using our hygrothermic modeling capabilities, Terracon completed the building enclosure evaluation and provided the trauma center with the moisture intrusion solutions to allow the facility to remain focused on its life-saving mission.

Plan set courtesy of HKS Architects/Engineers/Planners