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. Click here to watch the building’s reconstruction!
  • 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.