Soaring Multi-Family Construction Bringing Increased Demand for Quality of Life?

Posted on by Dante Marimpietri

As the number of young adults (ages 20-34) rises with the children of baby boomers coming of age and the notion of home ownership not as appealing as it once was after the recent real estate collapse, it’s not too surprising to see multi-family construction on the rise. 

And, the current decade is expected to have higher growth of the young-adult population than the past decade, which helps to justify the strong multi-family construction.  But today’s young adults are looking for quality of life as well as convenience.  Can today’s construction help enhance their living experience?  Absolutely!

Life safety has long been an issue of primary importance in construction.  More recently, attention has been devoted to measures to ensure the building is sealed and to prevent moisture infiltration.  

We mustn’t forget, though, that in multi-family housing there are different tenants doing different things in each unit. 

Treating each unit as a self-contained environment can reduce the potential for the smell of one tenant’s cooking from permeating another unit.  It would also help prevent the passage of sound so a tenant could listen to the television or music without disturbing their neighbors. 

Finally, maintaining an airtight environment ensures each unit does not lose heat or cooled air to other units as energy travels through the walls, wasting energy and dollars as well as impacting quality of life.

Firestopping typical wall penetrations for hexagonal and rectangular electrical junction boxes and PVC pipe with an intumescent acrylic sealant to provide passive fire containment at the penetrations and sealing with a silicone sealant is a key to not only ensuring protection for inhabitants, but creating an airtight, acoustically sound and odor-proof environment as well.

In the event of a fire, Tremco’s TREMstop IA+ will expand to fill the voids left when combustible materials burn and deteriorate in a fire.

Treating each unit as a self-contained environment requires an integrated design of a wall system to meet the many internal as well as the external wall requirements. 

This includes a fluid-applied vapor-permeable air barrier membrane, flashing membranes and Tremco incorporates an innovative, multi-functional compressed tape as an all-in-one sealing system. When tested at Tremco's Sustainable Building Solutions Test Facility, this holistic approach to wall system design surpassed even Passive House standards. 

Tested in accordance with ASTM E283, air leakage was 0.023 cfm/ft² @ 75 Pa with an air exchange rate of 0.35/hour @ 50 Pa (3200 ft² surface area (six sides) and 9216 ft³ volume), well within even the stringent passive house standard of 0.6 or less.

ASTM E90 Standard Method for Laboratory Measurement of Airborne Sound Transmission testing was also done to determine the sound rating with and without Tremco's ExoAir® Trio open cell polyurethane foam compressed tape as the sealing system used in the ½" slots of the acoustical assembly.

Sound transmission loss, the difference between the sound level in the source room and the receiving room, is measured at specific sound frequencies and used to arrive at the Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating. The higher the STC rating calculated, the quieter it is in the receiving room.

The rating without the ½" slot sealed was 19 STC. The acoustical assembly with ExoAir Trio tested at 54 STC. Typical interior walls in homes have an STC of about 33.

Providing a healthy, energy-efficient, acoustically sound and comfortable indoor environment in an apartment or condominium may no longer be simply desirable. 

It will be an expectation in an increasingly competitive environment. For more information, visit here.


Dante Marimpietri

About Dante Marimpietri

Dante Marimpietri is the Manager for Tremco's Sustainable Building Solutions Test Facility. His past experience as a Technical Application Specialist has given him a strong foundation in building material science which he uses to develop and execute on test strategies and customer events.

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