The Metal Building Manufacturers Association (MBMA) has released a new guidebook, Metal Building Systems - Best Practices to Comply with Whole-Building Air Leakage Testing Requirements. This free publication, authored by Robert A. Zabcik, PE, LEED AP, of Z-Tech Consulting and created in partnership with the Door and Access Systems Manufacturers Association (DASMA) and the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA), is available for download on the MBMA website. It identifies practices for metal building manufacturers and contractors to improve the ability of having metal buildings pass whole-building air leakage testing requirements.
"Whole-building air leakage testing is specified in the latest energy code updates,” said Tony Bouquot, MBMA general manager. “As more and more states and municipalities adopt these codes and testing requirements, this new guide will help manufacturers, builders and owners to meet these demands by following some basic steps.”
The best practices specified are drawn from air leakage testing performed in the field, which has shown that certain parts of the building need special attention. These are:

  • Dissimilar material interfaces, such as wall bases, doors and windows.
  • Intersections/changes in air barrier configuration, including wall-to-roof interfaces, wall corners, etc.
  • Penetrations, including canopy framing members, mechanical (HVAC), electrical, plumbing, etc.

The guide goes on to describe these concerns and lays out practical steps to take, both prior to and during metal building construction. In addition to many detailed drawings and images throughout, it has appendices that include a project checklist, overhead door specifics, and applicable codes, test methods and material requirements.

“MBMA, in partnership with DASMA and NAIMA, has tested a number of metal buildings over the past several years,” noted Vincent Sagan, PE, MBMA senior staff engineer. “We’ve been able to identify problem areas, find out what works best and what steps can be taken to pass the tests. Now builders and owners can benefit from our work, saving time and money in the process, with this new publication.”

In addition to this latest guide, MBMA’s website ( has an array of other useful information about metal buildings and the metal building industry. There are many free resources available for download, and also additional manuals and publications for purchase at Additionally, has a wealth of information for architects and designers.

Founded in 1956, MBMA serves manufacturers and suppliers as it works to promote the metal building systems industry. For over 60 years, its membership has supplied high-quality buildings for use in commercial, retail, office, industrial, institutional and other end uses. The association provides a wealth of useful information on its website,, for anyone who works with or is interested in metal building systems. Resources include technical materials, research reports, videos and design guides. The MBMA blog provides the most current research and ideas to propel the industry. MBMA also provides graduate and undergraduate educational resources at