Construction Pathology: Validation Studies
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Building Pathology: Validation Studies

@ A. Sebastian Engineering and Investigation Services

Did you ever wonder how a new product, method, technology should be introduced to the commercial market? How do we know it is safe? How do we know it is effective? What is the optimal application? These questions are correctly answered through a very rigorous methodology called validation.
This is the process or system through which the reliability and relevance of a procedure, product or theory (such as the mode of failure for a roofing system, an anchoring system, or a masonry assembly) are established for a given purpose.
The first phase (pre-validation study) develops an optimized protocol and establishes its transferability.
The second phase is an inter-facility (i.e. independent of the originator) double blind trial with coded test materials (in the case of manufactured products for example, the facilities would include laboratories and/or field trials).
The third phase is an independent, unbiased evaluation of the outcome.
If any product or technology is to be specified for a construction project, the prudent approach is to require and knowledgeably review its validation process. Are there any unfounded statements or irrelevant tests in the submittal? This by the way is a very common occurrence with construction materials. Even an acceptance seal from UL, ICBO or whoever else does not mean a warranty: it is just a statement that applied to the manufacturer's particular sumission to that body. Hopefully it might apply to the particular batch you will receive.

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