SME’s Construction Materials Services Team is experienced with evaluating and testing many specialized materials used in construction including Exterior Insulating and Finishing Systems (EIFS), fire stopping, air and moisture barriers, fireproofing, intumescent, coatings, and windows. Our experience includes overseeing proper fabrication and installation procedures as well as the possible hazards involved during these processes.


SME provides inspections during the application of Exterior Insulating and Finishing System materials. EIFS application is a combination of many steps and processes which, if not done correctly, can lead to potential problems like mold, rot, façade deterioration façade, and even structural damage. Using thermal imaging and moisture metering devices, our inspections include evaluation of the proper placement and fastening of substrate, moisture/vapor barrier, expanded polystyrene board, base coat, finish coat, and sealant joints

Fire Stopping

SME verifies compliance of a building’s fire stop system. Fire stop systems consist of a tested and listed fire resistive construction (wall, floor, or roof assembly), the penetrating item(s), and gap or expansion/wall top joint. Fire stops also consists of the materials and products used to seal the opening against fire, temperature transmission, and air leakage. The fire stop assembly, installed to very specific instructions, is fire tested, simulating actual conditions in burning buildings and is given an air leakage rating.

Air/Moisture Barriers

Air Barriers
SME conducts tests to measure the air leakage of a representative air barrier assembly before and after exposure to specific conditioning cycles and then assigns a rating dependent upon the results. Although this is typically a laboratory procedure, the method may also be applied to site mockups. Enclosure specifications of air permeance can only be verified in the field. Our testing procedures use wither a fan or the buildings HVAC system to induce a pressure difference in a building enclosure to verify its air permeance.

Moisture Barriers
The use of moisture barriers has long been regarded as an effective, economical way to control moisture migration through building materials. The proper installation of an effective barrier has been proven to reduce or eliminate issues that arise when moisture migrates into interior spaces. Moisture intrusion has adverse effects on walls, floor covering and coating systems. It also compromises indoor air quality due to the development of fungus, mildew and mold. SME typically tests for moisture using specialized canisters.

Fire Proofing (SFRM)

SME has extensive experience in the commissioning and field testing of Sprayed Fire-Resistive Material (SFRM), a passive fire protection material intended for direct application to structural building members. The fire resistance of structural building elements provides an important contribution to the fire protection system design implemented in building construction. SME conducts commissioning and field testing of SFRM not only important in new construction, but with the recent enactment of renovation requirements in many jurisdictions, we also conduct retroactive special inspection of SFRM in existing structures whenever SFRM is exposed as part of a building renovation.


SME has a intumescent experience ranging from water-based to high-heat epoxy intumescents which can be well over a half-inch thick and require mesh reinforcement. We have reviewed intumescents on wood substrates and steel columns steel columns in buildings, as well as pipe racks in refineries.


Focused on the prevention and mitigation of corrosion, SME’s team of coatings experts include NACE CIP certified inspectors from levels 1-3, SSPC members, and coatings related ASTM committee members. We have performed coatings inspections in confined spaces, on bridges, in boats, on towers, and in fabrication shops. Our coatings experts can assist at every level of inspection. We have served as owner’s representative and expert witnesses, and have performed basic hold point reviews and full-time, 24-hour turnaround liner reviews.

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Louis J. Northouse, PE

Vice President/Regional Office Manager

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