Producer, practitioner, labor contingent organizes rainscreen group

Officially launched late last year, the Rainscreen Association in North America (RAiNA) is a multi-disciplinary, member-led organization targeting current building enclosure design and construction challenges. Membership ranges from insulation and wall barrier manufacturers to architectural façade element producers and fabricators, to the International Union of Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers, United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America and affiliated training organizations.

Knight Wall Systems supplied 2-in. mineral wool insulation, along with the MFI horizontal rail and Z channel system, to enclose the arts-centered Matchbox Building at Pennsylvania’s Swathmore College. The insulation is part of a thermal bridging-minimized rainscreen system, anchored by 0.5-in. thick, ultra-high performance concrete panels from Pittsburgh-based Taktl. Knight and Taktl supported a project team led by Digsau, Philadelphia architect; CVM Construction Managers, King of Prussia, Pa.; and, rainscreen installer Wallworks Inc., Chester, Pa.

Deer Park, Washington-based Knight Wall Systems Inc., a specialist in blanket and board insulation for precast and cast-in-place concrete construction, plus rainscreen façade support systems, is among charter members. “Knight Wall Systems is well known for products that help solve common wall assembly issues, in particular, reducing thermal bridging and providing fully engineered, universal systems,” says General Manager and RAiNA Building Code Committee Co-Chair Brian Nelson. “As a leader in the industry, we felt it was important to help form an association dedicated to rainscreen assemblies. Knight is one of the official founding members of RAiNA.”

High performance building envelopes are required to provide occupants a durable, energy efficient, safe, and comfortable environment, he adds. As manufacturers continue to innovate with material performance, and building designs evolve, applicable enclosure and cladding knowledge is more important than ever. Accordingly, RAiNA has hit the ground running: Six committees comprising 200-plus member company representatives invested more than 10,000 hours this past year to address the industry’s technical information needs.

Their efforts follow two decades in which the building science community has pushed exterior wall assemblies to the front of the conversation regarding overall building performance. RAiNA has attracted many of the community’s leading voices, who in turn are advancing the organization’s core goals of delivering science-based guidance to improve both commercial and residential building. — Rainscreen Association of North America, Alexandria, Va., 833/206-7022;

A new document from ASTM International Committee E06 on Performance of Buildings will assist architects who are designing and assembling models or mockups in the course of building projects. ASTM E3223, Standard Guide for Specifying and Testing Field-Constructed Exterior Building Wall System Mockups in New Construction, especially addresses facade details.

WDP & Associates Consulting Engineers’ Eric Peterson notes that when new buildings are constructed—especially large, complex facilities with intricate facades—architects prepare a mockup simulating a portion of the exterior. “[It] permits the architect to visualize what the final building façade will look like, work through challenging details, evaluate interfacing conditions and test the building façade before it is constructed. This standard provides valuable information to the specifier for the development of the mockup program including best practices for the design, construction, and testing of these systems.”

ASTM E3223 will be primarily useful to architects, he adds, but also contains information of value to entire owner, constructor, and testing agency teams. Efforts behind the standard—aimed at the creation of energy-efficient and high-performing envelopes that can reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gases—directly relate to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #13 on climate action.

Recognizing the wide variety of mockup construction experiences, Committee E06 invites interested parties to participate in further development of ASTM E3223. “We are particularly interested in feedback from practicing architects for how user-friendly the standard is and what we could do to improve its use in the industry,” Peterson affirms.