Upcoming Events

Feb 1 2022 Lecture /

TSA Technical Series | Why Buildings Leak

12:00 - 1:00 PM

Online via Zoom

$15 + HST General, Free for TSA Members using code in January 11 bulletin

Register Now

A building leak has four components, and there is no leak, properly understood, without all four: (1) a source of water; (2) a pathway for that water to travel from where it is to someplace we do not want it to be; (3) a driving force to push water along that pathway; and (4) something that can be damaged as a result. Thinking about leaks in this way helps us to understand important missed opportunities in architecture when it comes to controlling water in buildings. For example, we obsess over sealing potential water pathways but often overlook design strategies and products that help us practice source control and minimize the driving forces, without which there is no leak. Rather than policing the detailing of every fastener or trying to anticipate every installation defect, this line of thinking leads us to strategies that are both far less expensive than the most common approaches and far more effective in reducing risk.

In this lecture with Christine Williamson of Building Science Fight Club, we will outline the three fundamentally different water-management strategies in buildings, discuss the importance of distinguishing between them, and present simple approaches to detailing to minimize risk for each strategy.


After this session, participants should be able to:

  • Identify the three fundamentally different water management strategies in buildings
  • Identify the risk factors associated with each of these strategies, and discuss how climate and context influence which approach is more common in different parts of the world
  • Articulate the different approaches to building detailing required by each of these three water management strategies
  • Respond with confidence to the most common objections to the proposed water management improvements related to constructability and cost


About the Speaker

Christine Williamson, Building Scientist M.Arch, Assoc. AIA

Christine Williamson has spent her career in building science forensics, discovering why buildings fail, and working with owners, architects, and builders to remedy the problems. Her new construction consulting helps architects use building science not only to mitigate risk of failure, but also to help them make their projects as energy efficient as they are beautiful. She is the founder of the Instagram account @BuildingScienceFightClub, an educational project that teaches architects about building science and construction. She graduated from Princeton University and studied at Boston Architectural College before completing her Master’s of Architecture at New School of Architecture + Design. She is a member and past chair of ASHRAE Technical Committee 1.12, Moisture Management in Buildings. Christine is a frequent lecturer on building science at universities, conferences, and professional associations, in addition to serving as a guest critic for architecture school studio reviews.


TSA MEMBERS: This event is free for TSA members using the discount code found in our January 11 e-bulletin! Not a member yet? Membership is open to everyone and you can join here (student memberships are free!).

OAA MEMBERS: When registering, please include your full name as registered with the OAA to ensure your certificate of participation is credited properly. Please also include an email address you check frequently to ensure you receive our certificate in a timely manner.