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Please critique.

Dear Mrs. XXXX,

Thank you for the opportunity to assist you with the assessment of the maintenance issues at your home. It was a pleasure to meet you and I thank you for your hospitality.

Before I get into the specific issues that I am going to be reporting on, I would like to discuss buildings in general, as I believe it will help you understand some of the conditions at your home.

In general, the most frequent problems that a house/building has to endure are the elements. In most cases, this simply translates to water, wind and the harmful rays of the Sun. Yes, there are

other factors in nature that can create issues, and of course there is the human element.

Since your home is built on the beach and so close to the salt water, and given the fact that it is the first house from the beach, it is going to absorb the full brunt of a very severe environment. Consideration in design and maintenance must be given to withstand erosion, weathering and effects due to high winds, wind driven rain, wind driven sand, and salt.

Any system or component of the building envelope, whether it be the facade, flashing, roof covering, door or window, must be carefully selected and designed for its application. Once properly

installed everything must be properly maintained, otherwise a shortened life expectancy and/or failure is to be expected.

Please understand, I am not suggesting that the failures in the exterior of your home are all due to the elements. There are multiple installation errors, combined with lack of maintenance and

design flaws. These reasons, along with the harsh environment have had an intensified effect on each other.

The EIFS system that was installed on your home is a "Barrier" type system, which is dependant upon keeping water out. It does not breath and any water that gets behind it is trapped and will do damage to the wooden structure below. The type of system that would have been better suited is a "Water Managed" system. When installed properly, a "Water Managed" system has

provisions for any water that enters behind the system to drain.

At this point, it is impossible to convert the existing system, so even if you were to repair the existing installation and correct

whatever flaws are accessible, it would still be a "Barrier" system. It would still be a potential problem.

Because of this, my recommendation is to completely remove the existing system and replace it with a system that is better suited for the application.

Whether you decide to replace the system with water managed EIFS, or decide to utilize a different medium, I cannot put enough emphasis on how important it is to prepare the structure properly.

Regarding the windows, I feel that the window frames would not have leaked had they been sealed and flashed properly prior to the EIFS installation. This is not an EIFS failure, these leaks

would have occurred regardless of whatever facade you would have installed. The failure of the sashes are due to a combination of sealant failure and environment, this is a maintenance issue.

The failure of the insulated glass units is a common occurence and it is not unusual to have to replace an "i.g. unit occasionally. The windows are repairable and can be salvaged.

I suggest contacting the manufacturer of any system you consider and discussing its application prior to making any final decisions. Any recommendations should be in writing, including installation and maintenance specifications. Any installer/contractor should be made aware of these recommendations and precautions should be taken to ensure that the manufacturer's instructions have been followed.

The following report will highlight the faults that were noted during my visit. Should you have any questions regarding my findings, or if you need my assistance during the repairs or renovations, please feel free to contact me at any time.

Sincerely,

Steven Turetsky

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I read it, and was hesitant to say anything. Reason being, it sounded like a really smart and knowledgeable guy writing like he was trying to sound really smart and knowledgeable. It just didn't work for me at all.

I think you could pare it down to about 1/4 of what you have now, and it would make more sense.

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Hi,

I'm bothered by the fact that you don't actually say what's wrong with the EIFS lamina. Perhaps you'd already told her in your report or in person, but it's not clear to the reader. Is there actually water behind the lamina that's causing problems or are you making your recommendation because you simply expect it to fail at some point? It's not clear.

Of the 13 paragraphs you spent six of them leading up to the the revelation that her system is a barrier type lamina. I'd eliminate paragraphs two through six, actually explain what each of her defects is, why it's bad for the house, and then make a clear recommendation without beating around the bush.

Even if you did nothing else, just re-writing it without the passive language would be a big improvement. If you don't understand what we mean by passive voice versus active voice, here's an example.

"The failure of the sashes are due to a combination of sealant failure and environment, this is a maintenance issue."

Try

"The windows are leaking because of poor maintenance."

Sorry, you did ask.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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OK, how's this?

Dear Mrs. XXX,

Thank you for the opportunity to assist you with the assessment of the maintenance issues at your home. It was a pleasure to meet you and I thank you for your hospitality.

The greatest enemy that a house has to endure are the elements. This translates to water, wind and the sun. When you add in the human element, items such as poor design and/or installation errors, you can begin to see that its not easy being a house.

Because your home is built so close to the ocean and is the first house from the beach, it is going to absorb the full brunt of a very severe environment.

Consideration in design and maintenance must be given to withstand erosion, weathering and the effects of high winds, wind

driven rain, wind driven sand, and salt.

Any system or component of the building envelope, whether it be the facade, flashing, roof covering, etc. must be carefully selected and designed for its application. Of course, the best materials installed wrong are going to fail and proper maintenance is an important factor.

The EIFS system on your home is a "Barrier" type system, dependant upon keeping the water out. It does not breath and any water trapped behind it will damage the wooden structure below.

The type of system that would have been better suited is a "Water Managed" EIFS system. When installed properly, a "Water Managed" system allows water that enters the system to drain.

I recommend completely removing the existing system and replacing it with a system that is better suited. Whether you replace the system with water managed EIFS or decide on a different medium, proper preparation, installation and maintenance is important.

The leaking window frames is not an EIFS failure, they were not installed properly. The leaking sashes are due to sealant failure and is a maintenance issue. Failure of insulated glass units is common and it is not unusual to replace an "i.g. unit occasionally. The windows are repairable and can be salvaged.

It is important to contact the manufacturer of any system you consider and discuss its application prior to making any final decisions. Recommendations should be in writing, including installation and maintenance specifications. The installer/contractor should be made aware of these

recommendations and precautions should be taken that they have been followed.

If you have any questions or need my assistance during the repairs or renovations, feel free to contact me at any time.

Sincerely,

Steven Turetsky

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Hi Mike,

Please don't be sorry, I did ask and I do want to hear. This is an introduction letter at the beginning of a report. The report itself specifies all of the faults and causes

I'm not sure about the passive voice, I think I understand what you guys mean. "Don't beat around the bush, it either is or isn't."

Anyway, I made my second (really 100th) draft prior to reading your comment. I hope it is better.

Steve

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Originally posted by StevenT

OK, how's this?

Dear Mrs. XXX,

Thank you for the opportunity to assist you with the assessment of the maintenance issues at your home. It was a pleasure to meet you. and Thank you for your hospitality.

The greatest enemy that a house has to endure are is exposure to the elements. This translates to water, wind and the sun. When you add in the human element, items such as poor design and/or installation errors, you can begin to see that its not easy being a house. Compounding weather exposure with poor design and installation errors makes it certain that the structure will suffer.

Because your home is built so close to the ocean and is the first house from the beach, Because your home has direct exposure to ocean weather, it is going to absorb the full brunt of a very severe environment.

Consideration in design and maintenance must be given to withstand erosion, weathering and the effects of high winds, wind

driven rain, wind driven sand, and salt.

Any system or component of the building envelope, whether it be the facade, flashing, roof covering, etc. must be carefully selected and designed for its application. Of course, the best materials installed wrong are going to fail and proper maintenance is an important factor.

The EIFS system on your home is a "Barrier" type system, dependant upon keeping the water out. It does not breath and any water trapped behind it will damage the wooden structure below.

The type of system that would have been better suited is a "Water Managed" EIFS system. When installed properly, a "Water Managed" system allows water that enters the system to drain.

I recommend completely removing the existing system and replacing it with a system wall cladding that is better suited to your environment. Whether you replace the system with water managed EIFS or decide on a different material, proper preparation, installation and maintenance is important.

The leaking window frames is are not an EIFS failure. They were not installed properly. The leaking sashes are due to sealant failure which is a maintenance issue. Failure of insulated glass units is common. Replacing thermopanes is not hard or particularly expensive. The windows are repairable and can be salvaged.

It is important to contact the manufacturer of any system you consider and discuss its application prior to making any final decisions. Recommendations should be in writing, including installation and maintenance specifications. The installer/contractor should be made aware of these

recommendations and precautions should be taken that they have been followed.

When considering new or different wall cladding, you should review manufacturers recommendations and installation specifications. When you interview contractors, you should have them review these specifications and include them in their proposal.

If you have any questions or need my assistance during the repairs or renovations, feel free to contact me at any time.

Sincerely,

Steven Turetsky

This is just one run through. I've already seen things I would shave out or change, but I think I essentially said the same things without the distraction of all that verbiage.

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Steven,

If this is an intro to the report why are you reporting in it? I would try something like this...

Dear Mrs. XXX,

Thank you for the opportunity to assist you with the assessment of the maintenance issues at your home. It was a pleasure to meet you and I thank you for your hospitality.

The greatest enemy that a house has to endure are the elements. This translates to water, wind and the sun. When you add in the human element, items such as poor design and/or installation errors, you can begin to see that its not easy being a house.

Because your home is built so close to the ocean and is the first house from the beach, it is going to absorb the full brunt of a very severe environment.

Consideration in design and maintenance must be given to withstand erosion, weathering and the effects of high winds, wind

driven rain, wind driven sand, and salt.

Any system or component of the building envelope, whether it be the facade, flashing, roof covering, etc. must be carefully selected and designed for its application. Of course, the best materials installed wrong are going to fail and proper maintenance is an important factor.

The EIFS system on your home is a "Barrier" type system, dependant upon keeping the water out. It does not breath and any water trapped behind it will damage the wooden structure below.

The type of system that would have been better suited is a "Water Managed" EIFS system. When installed properly, a "Water Managed" system allows water that enters the system to drain.

I recommend completely removing the existing system and replacing it with a system that is better suited. Whether you replace the system with water managed EIFS or decide on a different medium, proper preparation, installation and maintenance is important.

The leaking window frames is not an EIFS failure, they were not installed properly. The leaking sashes are due to sealant failure and is a maintenance issue. Failure of insulated glass units is common and it is not unusual to replace an "i.g. unit occasionally. The windows are repairable and can be salvaged.

It is important to contact the manufacturer of any system you consider and discuss its application prior to making any final decisions. Recommendations should be in writing, including installation and maintenance specifications. The installer/contractor should be made aware of these

recommendations and precautions should be taken that they have been followed.

If you have any questions or need my assistance during the repairs or renovations, feel free to contact me at any time.

Sincerely,

Steven Turetsky

...and let the report speak for itself. My $.02, take it for what it's worth.

Tom

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OK, I'm bored. So I'm going to do a quick edit on the piece, so I might get un-bored.

Dear Mrs. XXX,

It was my distinct pleasure to meet you at your house, and I hope I can help you with the problems we discussed.

Over time, wind, water, sun and salt wear down an oceanfront house. Your house will require more maintenance than an inland house. You should choose your contractors very carefully. It's not unusual for home improvement projects, done by well-meaning but unskilled workers, to make things worse.

I recommend that you have the existing cladding removed, and that you replace it with cladding that is suited to your environment. This will be a big job.

The windows aren't installed properly; that's why they're leaking. I recommend that you hire a contractor to fix the leaks, and any other problems he might see when he works on the windows. I also recommend that you get specifications and instructions from the window manufacturer, so that you can compare the manufacturer's specs, drawings, etc. to what you'll see as the contractor works on your windows. If something doesn't look right, take pictures, and send them to the window manufacturer. Don't be afraid to ask questions about the work being done to your windows.

If you need me, call me.

Your humble servant,

Moe

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