Water penetration of a building envelope assembly is typically assessed on the basis of the degree of watertightness (i.e. lack of water ingress) of the components of the assembly when subjected to simulated driving rain conditions. Test standards provide the magnitude and extent of these test conditions as suggested by the test parameters, i.e. the water spray rates and pressure differences and the dwell time over which these are to be applied. Such conditions would presume to simulate driving rain and wind conditions of locations spread over a broad geographical area. For example, the water spray rate suggested for use in watertightness performance tests in EN 12155-Curtain walling-watertightness-laboratory test under static pressure-is considered appropriate for simulating driving rain and wind conditions for locations across Europe. However, test parameters should be based on the expected driving rain intensities and wind pressures that are likely to occur for a specific climate and a given return period. It might also be based on the building type (e.g. high or low-rise building), or even on the location on the building facade. Hence, a method is required for calculating water penetration test parameters for specific buildings located in a specific climate. The purpose of this paper is to propose a method for calculating water penetration test parameters. A survey of existing methods is first provided that focuses on the quantification of driving rain on buildings and thereafter, calculation of water penetration test parameters. The merits and drawbacks of these methods are then discussed. Based on this review, a method for calculating test parameters is proposed and is applied to developing water penetration test parameters for Istanbul, Turkey. A comparison of test parameters calculated from the proposed method with those given in existing Turkish standards TS EN 12155-Curtain walling-watertightness-laboratory test under static pressure-and TS ENV 13050-Curtain walling-watertightness-laboratory test under dynamic condition of air pressure and water spray-related to Istanbul, indicated that the water spray rate given in the TS standards is higher than spray rates calculated from the proposed method for return periods of 5, 10 and 30 years. (C) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.