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ASTM, NIBS Sign MOA to put focus on building enclosures.

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April 4, 2012 - In March 2012, ASTM International and National Institute of Building Sciences (Institute) signed memorandum of agreement (MOA) to improve building enclosure design and commissioning as well as facilitate broader understanding of building enclosures. Terms of this MOA state that ASTM will develop standards and personnel certification program on building enclosure commissioning, while Institute will focus on development of commissioning training program.

ASTM International - National Institute of Building Sciences MOA Puts Focus on Building Enclosures

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ASTM International
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Press release date: April 2, 2012

To further improve building enclosure design and commissioning, and to facilitate a broader understanding of building enclosures, ASTM International and the National Institute of Building Sciences (Institute) have entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA).

Signed by ASTM President James A. Thomas and Institute President Henry L. Green, Hon. AIA, in March 2012, the MOA will establish collaboration between the Institute and ASTM in publishing a building enclosure commissioning process that will follow ASHRAE Guideline 0: The Commissioning Process. The agreement aims to incorporate all building commissioning activities into a whole building commissioning process. Building enclosure commissioning endeavors to ensure that exterior enclosures meet or exceed the expectations of owners' project requirements.

"Commissioning a building enclosure is a unique activity," says ASTM member Rob Kistler, who is principal at The Fašade Group. Kistler chairs the NIBS Guideline 3 Development Committee, and he is vice chair of the Institute's Building Enclosure Technology and Environment Council. Kistler explains further, "The systems are specifically designed for an individual building and constructed on site from multiple products by different companies using numerous people, piece by piece, in all weather conditions."

Building enclosures differ from manufactured systems in that enclosures cannot be fine-tuned after completion. "The enclosure is not complete and verifiable until the last component is installed and critical interfaces are concealed," says Kistler. "If the building does not meet the specified performance requirements when verification testing is performed, it is expensive to resolve."

Under the terms of the MOA, ASTM will develop standards and a personnel certification program on building enclosure commissioning, while the Institute will focus on the development of a commissioning training program. Both organizations will:
  • Support the development of standards, guidelines, certifications, as well as education and training programs;
  • Promote information exchange;
  • Initiate cross-disciplinary dialogue among building community sectors;
  • Facilitate improvements in the building process; and
  • Improve the building enclosure knowledge of their respective memberships.

    The Institute developed NIBS Guideline 3: Exterior Enclosure Technical Requirements for the Building Commissioning Process for use by commissioning professionals. Guideline 3 is used in conjunction with ASHRAE Guideline 0.

    "Establishing a fully aligned family of standards to support Building Enclosure Commissioning has always been our goal at ASTM," says Dan Lemieux, Chairman of ASTM Subcommittee E06.55 on Building Enclosure Performance and the Task Group responsible for the development of ASTM E2813, Standard Practice for Building Enclosure Commissioning. "Development and publication of E2813 with the input and support of our liaisons to both ASHRAE and NIBS was the first step in that process. The MOA is a natural extension of that effort, and will allow us to work together to help deliver higher performing buildings."

    As part of the MOA, NIBS Guideline 3 will be developed and published as an ASTM Standard Guide by ASTM Subcommittee E06.55 on Building Enclosure Performance, part of ASTM Committee E06 on Performance of Buildings. "Publishing NIBS Guideline 3 as an ASTM Standard Guide will lead to wider industry usage of that document and, as a companion to E2813, will for the first time bring clarity and purpose to the concept of Building Enclosure Commissioning in a marketplace where none currently exists," explains Lemieux.

    About the National Institute of Building Sciences

    The National Institute of Building Sciences, authorized by public law 93-383 in 1974, is a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization that brings together representatives of government, the professions, industry, labor and consumer interests to identify and resolve building process and facility performance problems. The Institute serves as an authoritative source of advice for both the private and public sectors with respect to the use of building science and technology. For more information, please visit

    About ASTM International

    ASTM International is one of the largest international standards development and delivery systems in the world. ASTM International meets the World Trade Organization (WTO) principles for the development of international standards: coherence, consensus, development dimension, effectiveness, impartiality, openness, relevance and transparency. ASTM standards are accepted and used in research and development, product testing, quality systems and commercial transactions. For more news in this sector, visit or follow us on Twitter @ASTMBuildings.
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