Basic Terms


Horizontal surface exposed to the exterior/outdoors, usually not over living space.


Any structure used for supporting or sheltering any use or occupancy.

Building Envelope

Separation between interior and exterior spaces. Includes wall cladding, windows/doors, balconies, decks, roof, and foundation.


Weather exposed material of the exterior wall assembly. Most common are stucco, wood siding, vinyl siding, masonry brick and metal cladding.


Horizontal surface exposed to the exterior/outdoors, usually over living space.

Drainage Cavity (Rain screen)

Cavity constructed behind the cladding which provides a vertical drainage path for water ingress to flow down and back out, away from the building.

Guard Wall or Railing

Half framed wall with cladding or combination of posts, pickets and glass guard to protect occupants from falling off edge.


Horizontal or sloped surface, over living space except for overhangs, walkways, detached garages, etc.

Targeted Repair

Repairs to the building envelope limited to a specific area of the building.

PCM Services - Glossary of Terms

Annual Maintenance and Renewal Plan

Outlines yearly specific maintenance and renewal activities (inspect, replace or clean) and actual costs are recorded. Actual costs are compared to budgeted figures.

Building Envelope Assessment

An in-depth analysis which involves performing select test openings of the building envelope to measure moisture levels and the condition of building components and structural framing. Results of these test openings are recorded including moisture readings, signs of water ingress and resulting deterioration which may be present. The assessment can be performed on the entire building or a select (target) area.

Building Envelope Inspection

A visual review which identifies areas of obvious staining and decay, damaged building components, worn out materials at the end of their serviceable life, suspect or potential detail or design issues known to be problematic. The inspection can be performed on the entire building or a select (target) area. A report will be generated to outline observations, conclusions, and recommendations. The report is required to develop a repair strategy and scope of work, prioritization and cost budgeting. Based on the results of the Building Envelope Inspection, a Building Envelope Assessment may be recommended to confirm the condition of the structural framing and damage behind the cladding assembly.

Building Envelope Maintenance

Describes the periodic review and maintenance of the exterior shell of the building: includes wall cladding, windows/doors, decks, roof, and foundation. The PCM Building Envelope Maintenance Program is broken down into four key areas as follows:

  1. Building Envelope Inspection and Periodic Maintenance
  2. Maintenance Manual
  3. Maintenance and Renewal Plan
  4. Construction and Repair

Construction and Repair

Areas of immediate concern which are not considered maintenance items. This includes water ingress and damage and deterioration that must be repaired immediately to keep the building envelope at a maintainable standard to prevent further damage.

In-house design, construction, repair services, and maintenance services

PCM offers complete design, construction, repair, and maintenance services under one roof. Once PCM crews have brought the building envelope up to a maintainable standard, PCM Maintenance Technicians ensure it remains that way through a comprehensive, periodic maintenance plan. Required construction and repair work is prioritized and presented to the owners for approval to proceed. Based on the owners budget constraints, some of the work may be deferred to a later date. PCM staff make recommendations to owners based on a list of declining priorities with resident safety being the highest priority, then health, damage to structure, damage to building components, and ending with building aesthetics.

Maintenance Manual

A comprehensive record keeping center for owners to effectively manage all aspects of their building envelope maintenance. This is a systematic approach that includes some or all of the following sub-sections (depending on building type) for the owners immediate reference:

  1. Introduction and project specific background information
  2. Maintenance Summary Report
  3. Maintenance and Renewal plan
  4. Inspection, Condition Reports, and Priority Schedule
  5. Repair Record and Warranties
  6. Building Information

When the maintenance manual is used and kept current, it will be an effective tool for maintaining the building, budgeting for future material replacement, and ultimately reducing costs.

Maintenance Program

Project specific and typically contains the following information (depending on building type):

  • Inspection reports, observations, conclusions, recommendations, and cost estimates
  • Service and replacement schedules (renewals)
  • Prioritization of repairs, immediate need and those that can be postponed
  • Repair record, maintenance, and cleaning information, colour schedule
  • Warranties and guaranties

Maintenance and Renewal Plan

Allows owners to forecast upcoming renewals (material replacement such as windows, roofing, and deck membranes) and budget accordingly. Laid out over a 20 year period. The plan is broken down into an Annual Plan and an Overall Plan.

Overall Maintenance and Renewal Plan

Changes in annual maintenance costs are reflected in an Overall Maintenance and Renewal Plan. Any changes to the building envelope and/or service life of renewal components are updated. Any changes in both the maintenance costs and life of the renewal components allow owners to maintain and have an accurate forecast of future expense and renewal cost.

Periodic Building Envelope Inspection

Inspection of the building envelope performed periodically depending on the age, condition, and risk assessment of the building. Serves two purposes:

  1. Identifies any service items or non-scheduled repairs (such as water ingress, damage, deterioration, etc.) that needs immediate attention.
  2. identifies any changes to the building envelope from previous inspections that will allow owners to measure how their renewal components and systems are performing.

Primary Building Envelope Inspection

Establishes the current building condition and identifies areas of good performance as well as areas of concern with corresponding recommendations and pricing (if necessary) to repair. Outlines the scope of work that needs to be undertaken to bring the building up to a maintainable standard.

Specialty Maintenance Programs

PCM has tailored it's Building Envelope Maintenance Program to all types of buildings in order to offer building envelope maintenance solutions to all markets. We maintain the following building types:

  • Single-family residential
  • Multi-family residential (townhouse, low rise, and high rise)
  • Commercial (retail and office)
  • Industrial (masonry block and concrete tilt-up/panel)

All of our building envelope maintenance programs are designed to keep buildings at a maintainable standard and to ensure the building envelope is not compromised by water ingress or a material or building component failure which could cause damage or premature deterioration.