Continuing Education

Bell & Spina offers presentations and seminars on a variety of topics as a part of our commitment to education, training, and practice. If you are interested in hosting a training seminar on any of the topics summarized below please contact us at

“Knowledge will bring you the opportunity to make a difference.”

— Claire Fagin

Bell & Spina is a registered provider of AIA/CES Learning Units.

Building Enclosure Commissioning and ASTM E2813-12

ASTM E2813-12 “Standard Practice for Building Enclosure Commissioning BECx” was released in 2012 and is still in its infancy. Although referenced in codes, regulatory standards and Owner’s programmatic requirements, the applied aspects, goals and benefits of building enclosure commissioning are sometimes unknown, if not misunderstood. This presentation will outline the intent of BECx and its process from project inception through occupancy. Case studies of past BECx projects will be presented.

Masonry Freeze Thaw Anaysis

This session will familiarize participants with simulation methodologies for assessing the risk of masonry freeze thaw degradation, with particular focus on interior insulation retrofit projects. Foundational concepts of dew point analysis and hygrothermal simulation will be presented, along with a discussion of the capabilities and limitations of both THERM and WUFI software simulations.

Retrofitting Exterior Wall Assemblies with Rain Screen Systems

Many commercial and institutional buildings constructed in the 20th Century feature wall assemblies with underperforming or nonexistent air barriers, drainage planes and insulation planes. Advances in building science and rain screen technologies offer the possibility of improving the performance of these walls while simultaneously modernizing the appearance of their retrofitted facades. This presentation will explore the retrofit process, utilizing the LoGrasso Hall project at the State University of New York College at Fredonia as a case study. This presentation will provide meaningful information for design professionals and building owners to understand the potential advantages of utilizing rain screen systems when retrofitting exterior wall assemblies and how to evaluate the suitability of a given wall assembly to undergo a retrofit with a rain screen. This presentation will also explore design considerations for the underlying wall structure, air barrier, drainage plane and insulation plane. Finally, the presentation will review potential challenges and limitations associated with designing, specifying and constructing rain screen systems. The need for North American rain screen design and performance standards will be discussed.

The Essentials of a Successful Masonry Restoration Program

A building envelope includes the roof, wall systems, windows & doors and foundations. It’s important to understand how to investigate, evaluate and remediate building envelopes to resolve existing problems and anticipate future problems, thereby extending the service life of our buildings. Knowing how to “read” a building and understand its systems is the first line of defense in keeping buildings weather tight. Our presentation includes; an overview of common building systems comparing historic and modern methods and materials; physical and environmental influences on building systems; materials; methods of construction; movement; common points of envelope failure and other factors throughout the lifecycle of a building. Open discussion is encouraged with several case examples. It’s our goal to inform people to help them maintain properly functioning, weather tight envelope systems and utilize proper maintenance practices while designing a long term care plan.

ROOFING 101 - Low Slope Roofs

There are hundreds of combinations of decking, thermal barriers, vapor retarders, insulations, cover boards and membranes that can comprise a roof assembly. Each membrane type serves a function in the market place and there is not a “one system fits all” solution. This is a survey course that will discuss design considerations and limitations of various low slope roof components and systems.

The course includes:

• Roof membrane types
• The components that make up a roof system
• Visual examples of membranes
• Typical installation methods
• Typical Roof deck types
• Roof insulation types
• Maintenance/Warranty descriptions
• Environmental impact and design criteria considerations in choosing assemblies.

Gender Inclusive Bathrooms Alone Transform Older Residence Halls  (without bed loss)

Explore the process through which Syracuse University developed a new approach to renovating older residence halls. Positive student response to initial projects lead to a shift in renovation methodology that cost effectively retains bed counts, increases student satisfaction/retention with on-campus housing, improves housekeeping, and complies with ADA accessibility guidelines.

The Everson Museum of Art: Case Study

The Everson Museum of Art was designed by I.M. Pei in 1965 and occupied in 1968. When it opened it was (and still is) considered a work of art in itself. “It is perceived as a piece of sculpture placed on a podium that one walks around. Indeed one of the comments often heard is that it’s difficult to find the entrance - almost forcing visitors to walk around it to experience the structure” (Architectural Forum - June 1969).

By 2002, the museum had a long history of water infiltration. Bell & Spina was retained to design the replacement of the roofing and skylight systems. What we thought would be a rather straightforward project turned into a two-year study to “do the right thing” for this landmark building, the museum and its collection. This is a case study of the technical exploration to solve a number of waterproofing issues, along with the aesthetic concerns that presented themselves. It is also a study of the process and the discussions of the various strongly-held points of view and of the compromises made to solve both aesthetics and waterproofing issues.
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