1.7 Common Mechanical Insulation Problems

This section provides an overview of poor mechanical engineering practices that are commonly encountered in the field, as identified in the mechanical insulation White Paper. [12]

The following table summarizes common deficiencies identified, and the types of impacts that these deficiencies can result in.

Table 1.7.1

Common Mechanical Insulation Problems

The reasons for poor practice in the industry (identified during interviews) are numerous, and include:

  • Outdated or incomplete engineering specifications, or lack of knowledge of best practices by engineers, especially for newer, high performance and low-temperature systems.
  • Problems due to unqualified installers and inadequate training.
  • Lowest cost tendering and “value engineering,” reducing costs below what is necessary for best practices, particularly when the developer is not the eventual owner or operator.
  • A perception among some developers and engineers that mechanical insulation is not a critical building component. This may be due in part to lack of educational focus on this issue.
  • Poor quality, lower cost insulation materials on the market.
  • Challenges related to engineering field review, including assessing whether installations meet code and design specifications.
  • A fragmented design and construction process where engineers and installers do not typically work closely together.
  • Tight construction timelines and focus on drywall completion, which can prevent inspection of some systems.

Refer to Appendix A for example photographs of mechanical insulation problems.