These things are complicated,... and you never quite know where they went wrong.
— Frank Gehry

The Building Envelope Sciences (BES) team at Gorman Richardson Lewis Architects was founded in 2003 to focus on the function of architecture. We are experienced engineers, architects, and technicians who are skilled at un-complicating building envelope issues and determining where things went wrong so that we can design practical solutions.

We offer:

We work closely with our Architecture Studio colleagues to provide a balanced and informed approach to solving building envelope problems. The integration of architecture and building envelope science is a unique strength of GRLA's services.

Our office in Hopkinton, MA is strategically located for convenient access to all of the greater Boston area, Worcester and central Massachusetts, and Metrowest. We also serve clients throughout New England and the United States.

Emergency Services: for rapid response 24/7/365 click the chat bubble at the bottom right of the page. If we're not available, leave your contact information and we will respond within a few hours. We can typically be on-site to help resolve your leak, blow-off, or other building envelope failure within 24 hours. We can help work with your insurer, attorneys, roof warranty provider, contractors, and other parties to protect your investment in your property. 


What Is the Building Envelope?

The building envelope is a collective term for roof, wall, window and below-grade systems - all "six sides" of the building. Our services focus on controlling the movement of water, air, heat, and water vapor across this envelope. Read more about building envelope science here.



We provide building envelope services related to the investigation, design, and construction phases of projects. Examples of specific services we provide are described below. Simply put: we solve building envelope problems.

Building Envelope forensic services

GRLA evaluates existing buildings, including the causes of building envelope deterioration and failures, to document existing conditions and determine an appropriate course of remedial action. We are restoration experts and our goal is to generate reliable, high-value solutions for existing building problems.

  • Analysis and reporting on deterioration or failures of building envelope components

  • Infrared (IR) thermography

  • Water penetration testing and reporting

  • Design and construction administration of building envelope repairs to address deterioration or failures

  • Expert witness and expert consultant services

  • Emergency response services (click the chat bubble in the corner of the page for rapid response 24/7/365)

building envelope consulting

GRLA provides a range of building envelope consulting services related to all building envelope components. We often work with architects, owners, and contractors to help improve the results of building envelope construction and repair projects.

  • Roof consulting, waterproofing consulting, exterior wall consulting

  • Drawing and specification review and detailing

  • Construction observation

  • Systems design and development

  • Due-diligence, facilities, and capital needs assessments and strategic planning

  • Inspection and maintenance programs

  • Expert witness and expert consultant services

Building envelope Commissioning (BECx)

Building Envelope Commissioning (BECx) is a quality-focused process to improve the results of building envelope construction. 

  • Development of Owner's Project Requirements (OPR)

  • BECx Commissioning Plan

  • Drawing and specification review

  • Construction observation

Building Envelope Testing

GRLA offers a full range of building envelope testing services to contractors and building owners or managers. Our testing capabilities include ASTM E783, E1105, E331 and more.

We also coordinate with trusted partners to perform building envelope materials testing and evaluation related to our Building Envelope Forensic Services.



practice areas

Our building envelope sciences team works on buildings of all types and sizes. We have experience in both public and private markets, as well as residential and commercial construction. We highlight some of our practice areas below.

residential and Condominiums

We have helped condominium communities throughout New England to tackle building envelope problems of all types and sizes. We are condominium building envelope replacement experts. Check out our Condominium Building Envelope Services page for more information.

Solving building envelope problems at unique homes is another specialty at GRLA. We work with architects and homeowners to resolve issues related to innovative and complex building envelope designs that "push the envelope" of common practice.

Higher Education

GRLA building envelope staff have extensive experience on higher education campuses in New England and beyond. Our staff have helped solve building envelope problems at institutions such as*:

  • Harvard University

  • Lehigh University

  • Williams College

  • Northeastern University

  • The State University of New York

  • University of Massachusetts

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Historic Preservation

Preserving historic properties for future generations is something we are passionate about. GRLA experts have contributed to preservation projects* at prominent buildings including the Massachusetts State House, the New York State Capitol, Harvard University, Basilica Condominium, 369 Congress Street, Lehigh University, Bethany Hill Place, and The First Church of Christ, Scientist.

Expert Services

GRLA's building envelope specialists work with attorneys throughout the United States to help resolve disputes related to building envelope failures, building envelope material failures and defects, construction issues, and standard of care. GRLA's experts are composed presenters, skilled at clearly explaining complex building envelope topics in simple terms in order to reach a resolution in often-heated disputes.


representative client list

  • American Properties Team

  • Bristol Myers Squibb

  • Bergmeyer Associates

  • City of Marlborough

  • Crowninshield Management Corp.

  • Dellbrook | JKS

  • EMC Corporation

  • Erland Construction

  • Fessenden School

  • Garrison Square Management, Inc.

  • Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company

  • Harvard University

  • Hologic

  • Jackson School

  • Jones Architecture

  • Newton Country Day School

  • Premier Property Solutions

  • Private Condominium Associations

  • Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston

  • St. Mark’s School

  • Thayer & Associates

  • The Dartmouth Group

  • Towns of Ashland, Douglas, Hopkinton, Shrewsbury, and Canton

  • WCVB-TV Channel 5

  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Flagship Wharf Condominium, Charlestown, MA   GRLA provided investigation, design, and construction phase services at Flagship Wharf. Since 2009 we have successfully diagnosed, designed repairs for, and observed implementation of repairs at over 200 leak locations in the building.

Flagship Wharf Condominium, Charlestown, MA

GRLA provided investigation, design, and construction phase services at Flagship Wharf. Since 2009 we have successfully diagnosed, designed repairs for, and observed implementation of repairs at over 200 leak locations in the building.


If you'd like to talk with us about your specific building envelope issue, we'd love to hear from you! Just click on the contact button below or the chat bubble in the bottom right.

*Some projects listed are representative of staff experience while working for other firms.


The quote at the top of the page is taken from this article: M.I.T. Sues Frank Gehry, Citing Flaws in Center He Designed