CA Lic # 444098

Member AIA/LA   

Executive Director of two nationally respected associations with over 125 years of service to the industry 



Honoring the skilled craft of European traditions while blending modern materials with innovation to make the designers imagination a reality   


All too often weep screed flashing is used at the base of a cement plaster wall, only to be filled with sealant.  This practice defeats the intent and function of the weep ( flashing) device.  This kind of condition can lead to water damage behind the cladding where it may go unnoticed for years.  .  

Establishing Standards   

As the committee Chairman, Mark Fowler  presented the first " Minimum Industry Training Criteria (MITC) for the Plaster Tenders"  to the State of California. The California Apprenticeship Council (CAC) voted unanimously to approve the training criteria for plaster tenders after Fowler's presentation. Fowler was also on the committee for MITC for the Plastering Industry of the State of California (O*net code 47-2161.00- 2010).  Both these standards establish the minimum requirements for training Plasterers and Hod Carriers to become journeyman in their respective crafts. These are state regulated apprenticeship programs and Mark Fowler has equally been part of the Carpenter/Drywall, lather and finishers programs.  .  

Multi-Family or Mixed Use   

These projects are very popular today as the economy recovers. Because of pricing pressures for unit costing, no overhangs, increased production schedules, the multi-family projects are often at the greatest risks for defects and subsequent litigation.

Aesthetics are also a consideration with the risk of excessive cracking, efflorescense, delamination or other failures that occur from supervision of semi-qualified experts. For stucco, there are countless variations and nuances.  Owners should be cautious about fads, sales hype and resistant to experimentation. Experience is knowledge .Mark Fowler has the experience and knowledge to avoid the avoidable. .  

The Devil is in the Details  

Exterior claddings themselves rarely leak, it is usually the transitions or penetrations that are the source of moisture intrusions.  A team approach is best. Architects need their visions to come to life, contractors and manufacturers want to make money, a consultant with the knowledge and experience of 40 years can be helpful to insure everyone wins. 

Hidden Defects Destroy  

Exterior claddings can be installed and finished to look very professional.  But the beauty may be only skin deep.  Some stucco walls look great to the owner,architect, builder and even inspector.  Within a few years water can ruin an owners value in the property.  This situation could and should have easily been avoided. 

Third party oversight 

it always recommended to have installers checked to insure compliance with plans and specs. However,  what if the inspector does know what to look for?  It is hard to find truly qualified inspectors in lath and plaster.  Watching and counting shovels of sand or relying on ASTM C 1063 or C 926 as a guide is not enough to insure a quality installation.  It takes experience and knowing where the contractor typically takes short cuts, so problems can be avoided.

Design Ideas

Every project is unique .
Experts that use the same water test pressure in water testing for every project do not understand the standards governing the code.  They overlook the importance of a Performance Grade (PG) with relation to Design Pressures (DP) as required by AAMA protocols and a standard of care in good design . The building code is very clear on how to use Site Location, Wind Speed, Building Importance and Building height to determine each buildings unique Design Pressure and Performance Grade requirements.    

Windows and other penetrating items in the cladding should be selected to meet specific criteria to the unique project requirements. Some basics are::

  • Start with a site review , know the PG and DP requirements 
  • Coordinate dissimilar products and transitions to meet PG and DP 
  • It is about managing moisture and every region, project and cladding is unique
  • Pre-construction meetings to insure all parties understand their role. 
  • establish a checklist for quality control 
  • Use published and recognized standards  
  • Water primarily goes downhill, but negative forces can defy gravity 
  • Use materials and/or assemblies that are proven to work 

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