Volume 3, Issue 3 (March 2006)
Externally Insulated (“EIFS”) Building Walls: Security Characteristics and Methods of Enhancing Security Performance
Approximately 10% of new commercial buildings in the United States use Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (“EIFS”) on their exterior walls . This includes buildings of almost all types from small residences to large commercial structures in both the public and private sector. EIFS is also used extensively overseas . Although EIFS looks like concrete and appears robust, the lightweight materials in EIFS are not inherently conducive to physical security, electromagnetic security, and fire exposure. This is often overlooked in the planning phase for new buildings, leading to buildings that do not meet current expectations for security-related performance. However, ways exist to beef up EIFS walls so that better performance can be attained. This paper will explore the state-of-the-art of the security aspects of EIFS when used over various types of supporting walls. Key design aspects of EIFS-clad walls will be explained, including the need for attention to the supporting wall structure, the choice of EIFS materials, and the addition of special materials to enhance performance. Examples of new wall designs and enhancing existing walls will be presented.