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ONLINE: Building Enclosure Control Layers - 27 Nov 2020

27 Nov 2020 @ 10:00am PST
28 May 2021 @ 12:00pm PDT
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24 Nov 2020
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27 Nov 2020
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Building Enclosure Control Layers – Water, Vapour, and Air Control for Large Passive House Projects


Session 1: Friday November 27, 2020 – 10am to 12pm (PST)

Session 2: Friday January 29, 2021 – 10am to 12pm (PST)

Session 3: Friday March 26, 2021 – 10am to 12pm (PDT)

Session 4: Friday May 28, 2021 – 10am to 12pm (PDT) 

If you are a designer or builder who wants to achieve a high-performing, durable Passive House building, you need to understand control layers. Control layers are materials and systems of materials that are specially designed, selected, and detailed to control water, vapour, and air. They are placed throughout the building, from the roof, walls, and floor to the below-grade enclosure assemblies, details, and interfaces. They consist of membranes and other materials typically described as air barriers, vapour barriers, and water-resistive barriers, or collectively as critical barriers.

The design, selection, and placement of control layers can be challenging. Given the highly insulated nature of passive house buildings, even small mistakes in water and air control can create problems. Simply adding insulation to traditional wall and roof assemblies is risky, so air and vapour control practices must be adjusted to consider the assembly layers and details. Therefore, to design and construct effective passive house buildings, designers and builders must understand the building science behind control layers. 

This four-part seminar series will help designers and builders of large, multifamily passive house building enclosures—whether residential, commercial, or institutional—to better understand the building science behind water, vapour, and air control layers. The series focuses on wood, steel, and concrete buildings and construction types in all climate zones of Canada.  

Session 1Introduction to Control Layers for Passive House Wall Assemblies will introduce the concept of building enclosure control layers and provide examples from passive house buildings of air barrier systems, vapour retarders/barriers, and wall/roof water management. The session will also cover placement of vapour control with different types and varying thicknesses of insulation and water control for walls, including rainscreens and water-resistive barrier materials.

Session 2: Controlling Water and Vapour – From Rainscreens to Vapour Barriers will take a deeper dive into rainwater control and detailing as well covering vapour control for walls.

Session 3: Control of Air - Air Barrier Systems and Material Selection will cover wall air control/air barrier systems and materials.

Session 4: Controlling Water on Roofs and Below-Grade will focus on the special building enclosure control practices for roof and below-grade assemblies.  

Each two-hour session will include 90 minutes of live web-based instruction and demonstrations plus a 30-minute Q&A.

Learning Objectives

Learners will be able to:

  • Understand the challenges with building enclosure assembly design and detailing for passive house projects.
  • Describe and identify building enclosure control layers within highly insulated passive house roof, wall, floor, and below-grade assemblies and details. 
  • Design and sketch appropriate building enclosure control layers within passive house building enclosure assemblies and details.
  • Specify appropriate building materials for different control functions suitable for the higher demands of passive house projects.


Recommended for

  • Passive House Designers and Consultants
  • Builders, architects, architectural technologist and engineers
  • Building officials and planners
  • Trades
  • Students
  • Anyone interested in the subject


Prerequisites / required background knowledge

No prerequisites are necessary, but a basic understanding of passive house principles, including Passive House Canada 120A, would be beneficial.


Learning resources provided                    

  • Digital copy of course slide
  • Webinar recording for 20 days after each session has ended 


*Courses in this series are also offered individually. More information can be found on our course calendar here


Course Instructors

The instructor for this course will be Graham Finch.


Funding Opportunities

At Passive House Canada we are committed to supporting our community in a number of ways. As a potential course participant, you might qualify for government funding that could be applied to any of our courses and the certification exam. Please consult the links here to find out more about funding available in the province you live in.


Professional development

Total number of learning hours: 8

PHI Credit Points: 8

BC Housing (HPO): 6 CPD Informal

AIBC: 8 Core LUs (based on attendance of live event)

ALBNL: 8 Core Learning Hours (based on attendance of live event)

AANB: 8 Core Learning Hours (based on attendance of live event)

NSAA: 8 Core Learning Hours (based on attendance of live event)

AAA webinar credits: self-reported

APEG credits: self-reported

ARIDO credits: self-reported

OPPI credits: self-reported

EGBC credits: self-reported

OAA: self-reported




Register soon

If insufficient registrations are received by 14 days before this course is scheduled to start, it may be canceled. While we do our best to plan our course schedule well in advance, course dates, venues and instructors are subject to change.


Cancellation and Refund Policy

Important: please read our refund policy, available in our Course and Exam FAQs page. 

If you are interested in taking one of our courses, but need some payment flexibility, we can help. You can now pay 50% of the course fee when you register and the balance within 45 days. Email us to inquire at

27 Nov 2020 @ 10:00am PST
28 May 2021 @ 12:00pm PDT

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