Physical Sciences Building

Building Enclosure Commissioning Services
University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA


Physical Science Building UMASS Amherst


The Project


  • The building site was chosen for its proximity to the adjacent Chemistry and Physical Departments; the new building was integrated into the adjacent buildings and shared delivery access and loading docks; extensive site work and plaza waterproofing was incorporated to accommodate separate vehicle and pedestrian access.
  • The construction required relocation of the 1890s West Experimental Station; however, the building was found to be in poor structural condition and deemed unsound to be moved, as such, the project included demolition and re-creation of the West Experimental Station.
  • Renovation and accessibility improvements to the West Experimental Station
  • DCAMM set a goal of LEED Silver certification.


Gale’s Services


  • Peer reviews of the exterior building enclosure design documents. Attend design review meetings to discuss building enclosure assembly performance goals and detailing
  • DCAMM requested Gale to review the West Experimental Station and provide opinion on moving the building intact to a new location on site; during the evaluation, Gale found that the existing building was in poor condition and that moving the building was not recommended without significant rebuilding to accommodate the lifting processes 
  • The evaluation identified the following deficiencies:
    • The building was built in two sections that did not appear to be structurally attached and would create bracing issues in a move
    • The courtyard addition did not appear to have diaphragm, lateral support system or bracing around the large skylight courtyard
    • The upper masonry wall areas were found to be debonded with loose masonry units, segregating wythes, and a lack of connection to the roof framing members
  • Gale recommended that salvaging and rebuilding the station may be the most economical choice based on the stabilization required prior to a move of the existing facility
  • Led the commissioning process through construction including submittal peer review, construction coordination meetings, mock-up reviews, mock-up testing, on-site construction monitoring
  • Enclosure testing included air and water infiltration testing of the fenestration, air testing of the air barrier system, and infra-red scanning