Thanks to its in-depth knowledge of the field, but also as a member of the Chamber of Experts UTS Swiss Engineering and SWISSEXPERTS, BIFF SA and its facade specialists are able to provide a complete technical analysis of the building envelope and issue an authorized opinion for private individuals, as well as for institutions, insurance companies and the courts.
Our certified expert in winter construction ensures all the expertises related to glazed elements.
We determine the origin of the disorders that affect a structure, look for the causes and define the remedies and costs.
BIFF SA is a member of:
Swiss Asbestos Consultants Association (ASCA)
Swiss Association of Window and Facade Manufacturers (FFF)
Swiss Thermography Association (theCH)
Swiss Window and Facade Centre (CSFF)
New Energies Vaud
Management + Economics of Construction (MANECO)
Swiss Engineering UTS
Swiss Experts (Swiss Chamber of technical and scientific legal experts)
Employers' Union of Engineers and Architects of Vaud (UPIAV)
BIFF SA is able to carry out all types of expertise, observations and analyses on facades. The following list, which is not exhaustive, gives an overview of the elements of disorders of the building envelope :
The experts at BIFF SA use the standards and guidelines required for the study, as well as their experience, to produce a detailed report. In this document, the causes of the disorder are described in order to identify the determining elements and to define the corrective measures.
Why technical inspection?
To be guided in your envelope renovation project, for example after having performed an energy audit :
Compare several proposals for custom-made renovation options, with budgets and in compliance with legal requirements (maintenance, partial renovation, total renovation, redesign).
Carry out a heat balance to find out the energy losses of your building.
After on-site inspection, we produce a detailed envelope inspection report including:
A summary of the disorders noted.
The state of the materials.
An analysis of the energy performance of the envelope elements.
The state of obsolescence.
Proposals for remediation alternatives.
A price estimate at +/-15%.
Recherche et localisation des infiltrations d'air parasites au moyen d'une caméra thermique
Expertise en atelier
Plaster on External Thermal Insulation (ITE)
Thermal insulation and exterior plastering are often called into question when alterations are made to a façade. BIFF SA is regularly called upon to observe and analyze damage to plastered façades.
Cracks, blisters, flatness, disbonding, waterproofing, etc. There are several types and sizes. Some are only aesthetic, others technical. The latter can sometimes hide serious implementation defects and could have a more or less serious impact on the durability of the structure or on the safety of people.
Our engineers, experts in the field and regularly trained in new installation techniques, intervene at any time: upstream, during construction, after work or after several years of implementation. This is to ensure proper implementation (with the help of a thermal camera if necessary), or to note these disorders, find the cause and propose solutions for repair.
The choice of materials and the quality of the installation according to the rules of the art are determining elements for the life of a rendering on ITE.
The engineers of BIFF SA establish a diagnosis of the defects and determine the causes of the deterioration. They also propose corrective measures and check the correct execution during the installation.
Sondage pour déceler les désordes d'exécution
Remontée d'eau par capilarité
Glass techniques and breakage
Glass is one of the hardest materials, and hard means brittle.
Our experts are used to dealing with all kinds of cracked, scratched or broken glass, and will be able to diagnose the problem during an expertise.
Using professional equipment, they will identify the exact composition of the glass in question. Investigations can be undertaken to exclude certain suspected causes, to define the origin of the broken glass and to plan its replacement. All of this will be based on a static dimensioning carried out by the office to ensure that they are correctly dimensioned.
Other visible defects such as delamination, condensation, iridescence, the appearance of stains, spots, bubbles, inclusions, etc., can be observed on glass. The engineers at BIFF SA will be able to guide you through the process with the help of an expertise.
The introduction of the SIA 2057 standard specific to glass in Switzerland and its application has added to the skills of BIFF SA's engineers with regard to glass products.
Mise en évidence de la condensation de verre par caméra thermique
Casse de verre trempé
Dégradation couche réfléchissante
When an abnormal phenomenon occurs on an existing construction, the static dimensioning can be decisive. During the expertise, the engineers of BIFF SA will be able to interpret, from a static point of view, the phenomena occurring and to check the correct dimensioning of the elements of the structure.
After analyzing the construction plans, or failing that, taking measurements on site, the actions of the various loads applied to the structure, the materials used, their dimensions and any deformations present, the calculations necessary to check the resistance of the materials and the service limits according to the standards in force will be carried out.
Calcul de déformation d'un panneau à l'ELS
Décrochement de bardage
Today, more and more importance is given to the airtightness of buildings to limit energy losses and ensure the thermal comfort of the resident.
Parasitic air infiltrations in the building, during winter, are the cause of cold air movements inside and a widespread source of thermal discomfort for the resident.
As a thermal specialist of the building envelope, BIFF SA intervenes to identify, locate and quantify the air infiltrations in a building, a room, a villa, etc. The BIFF SA team uses the blower door device (see photo).
The blower door device is installed in one opening of the tested room. All other openings are closed and the fan is activated. The air in the room is sucked in or out. The room under test is thus put in depression/overpressure.
The thermal camera and the smoke pen are two of the tools used to identify air infiltration.
Faulty connections, leaking windows and technical introductions are often the cause of air infiltration. Improvement measures can then be taken to remedy the leaks observed thanks to our findings and analyses.
Blowerdoor contrôle des débits d'air
Recherche de fuite en façade à l'aide d'un fumigène durant un test Blowerdoor
Direct infiltration, capillary rise, hydrostatic pressure, poor ventilation are different forms of unwanted moisture appearance inside homes.
Water infiltration must be quickly detected and controlled to ensure the comfort of the resident and limit the damage caused by the presence of water in certain materials.
Water infiltration in a building can be caused by a variety of reasons. Here are some examples:
Aging of joints (windows, façade stones, bathtubs...).
Porosity of building materials.
The engineering firm BIFF SA has a long experience in the observation and analysis of disorders caused by water infiltration. Its role is to determine the causes of these infiltrations and to recommend the measures to be implemented to correct them.
The realization of watertightness tests in situ according to SIA 329 and EN13051 is a classic procedure to detect and locate the points of origin of water infiltration in the envelope. The realization of several tests is sometimes necessary especially in the case where the point of entry of water infiltration is located at a distance from the point of exit.
Infiltration d'eau dans le cadre d'une fenêtre
Test d'étanchéité à l'eau suivant SIA 329.007 et NF EN 13051
Essai d'étanchéité à l'eau des fenêtres - Détail rampe de test
Condensation & mould
Cooking, drying laundry and showering are only a few activities in the house that generate humidity. Man, himself releases large quantities of water in the form of steam even when resting. Surface condensation appears when humidity in the vicinity of the surface is 100%.
Mould can appear when relative humidity is lower as soon as a surface is exposed for a long period of time at a relative humidity of 80%.
Mould must absolutely be treated because it can cause health problems such as chronic respiratory infections.
BIFF staff have the adapted tools to carry out necessary findings and analyses. The analysis of surveys will allow to identify the origin of mould: poor management of moisture, serious thermal bridge, lack of ventilation.
Very simple gestures ensure good air quality.Thanks to optimal ventilation, you will avoid moisture damage in living rooms.
Condensation d'un panneau de bois au droit d'une fenêtre
Moisissure dûe à la condensation
With the evolution of construction techniques in the building industry, the use of glass for various applications has become very accessible in modern architecture. However, its use as an essential component of the building envelope is not always well mastered in architectural concepts. Some very glazed buildings have high temperatures in their rooms, causing thermal discomfort for the residents. Our findings and analyses allow us to avoid this by proposing adapted architectural measures.
The low inertia of some buildings also implies important risks of overheating and discomfort. The variations of outside temperatures are then transmitted to the interior with little damping and little phase shift. For example, rooms with little or no insulation on the roof often have excessive temperatures and a risk of discomfort.
Our engineers advise you both for on-site measurements and through dynamic thermal simulations for your construction projects in order to provide adapted solutions to ensure summer thermal comfort. In some cases, we can also design a prototype to evaluate the improvements made.
Température ambiante optimale qo en fonction de l’activité et de l’habillement
(Source norme SN EN ISO 7730)
Comfort is a very subjective concept. Ensuring the comfort of the resident consists in:
Maintaining a comfortable operating temperature in the premises, neither too low nor too high, and an adequate humidity level.
Ensuring an adequate level of natural lighting.
Isolating the premises from external noise pollution and guaranteeing the quality of the interior acoustics.
Managing air quality.
All these parameters must be taken into consideration for any construction or renovation project in order to satisfy the user in summer and winter. The envelope plays a predominant role in maintaining the comfort of the resident.
Comfort has an important influence on the morale and therefore on the behavior of the user. The productivity of employees in the tertiary sector can, for example, decrease, due to the poor adjustment of an influential parameter, the thermal comfort.
The BIFF SA team carries out all the necessary observations and analyses to determine the causes of your discomfort and proposes solutions to remedy it.
Asbestos diagnosis (NEW)
Asbestos is a category of mineral fibers widely used in construction and building because of its performance and capacity. Recognized as harmful to health, it was banned in Switzerland at the end of 1990.
BIFF SA, as a specialist in the building envelope, offers asbestos diagnosis before work and in normal use. This concerns buildings for heavy renovation which are subject to authorization. Asbestos materials were frequently used in the construction of buildings before 1991 (year of the asbestos ban in Switzerland).
Appropriate protective equipment is essential for asbestos diagnostic tests.
Our trained and ASCA-certified engineers will come to your premises to take samples and verify the presence of asbestos in your buildings. If the presence of asbestos is proven, they will be able to guide you on the methodologies of remediation to be undertaken in order to mitigate these harmful components.
Each canton has its own legislation concerning asbestos diagnosis.
By clicking on the cantonal coat of arms you are interested in, you will be redirected to the official cantonal page.
Our data sheet will tell you more about this dangerous fiber.
Echantillon de carrelage lors d'un test amiante
Cracks and carbonation
Concrete facades and other similar constructions can show disorders such as cracks or carbonation phenomena. In order to determine all the disorders of the facade and to offer solutions of restoration, the BIFF SA office proposes to carry out technical examinations for these concrete constructions.
In the evaluation of carbonation phenomena, we can carry out semi-destructive in situ tests using phenolphthalein in order to determine the porosity of the concrete and the progress of carbonation.
Sometimes, it is useful to determine the thickness of the coating and the diameter of the reinforcement with a photoscope.
The appearance of cracks in facades is often a problematic phenomenon and these can be multifactorial. The measurement of these openings and the follow-up with witnesses (gauges) allow to better understand the causes of these cracks, to anticipate their evolution and to plan the measures to be taken.
For more information about this service please contact us.