Field testing is a way to verify that finished construction is installed properly, per the design documents and the manufacturer’s requirements. It can be especially beneficial on projects with a complicated installation or that use the building system(s) in novel ways. Testing allows any problems to be identified and fixed while crews are still on site, rather than months or years later.
Some of the most common field tests performed on glazed structures are water tests and sealant tests. The single most common test WSD sees specified is the AAMA 501.2 field water test. In this test, water is sprayed from a special nozzle, at a specific pressure, from a specified height, and slowly moved across a single joint for a period of 5 minutes. This is either repeated for all representative joints on an installation, or can be performed for the entire installation.
In Wisconsin Solar Design’s opinion, AAMA 501.2 testing provides excellent simulated inclement weather (equal to a torrential downpour with driving wind) at a very reasonable cost.
ASTM E1105 field water testing is more often specified for large expanses of curtain wall or store front. It requires much more equipment plus project-specific sealed enclosures to be built. This test will add a significant cost to any but the largest of glazed installations. WSD recommends the AAMA 501.2 test.
Sealant field testing is sometimes specified to confirm that a project’s sealant is compatible with its materials, that joints are thoroughly prepared, and that the sealant is properly applied.