Premier Inn, Custom House, Cardiff


Client: Carter Lauren Construction Ltd
Testing: L2 Air tightness testing, smoke shaft testing
Lead Test Engineer: Stephen Hayden


Carter Lauren constructed a new 20 storey, 248 room hotel for Premier Inn in Cardiff incorporating the Grade II listed Custom House building.

On completion of the build, Carter Lauren requested air tightness testing to evidence compliance with Approved Document L2A of the Building Regulations by undertaking a pressure test on the whole building and air tightness testing of the 19 storey smoke shaft to demonstrate it was sufficiently air tight for the smoke extraction system to operate as intended in case of a fire.



A pre-test call was made to the site team to plan for the testing including set-up location, power, access for other trades on the day to ensure that disruption was minimised. The plan included the most efficient and effective way to temporarily seal the ventilation for the whole building test and to seal off the top of the smoke shaft and openings on each level.

Air Testing was undertaken at the final stage of construction when the building was close to completion.



The target for the whole building air tightness test was under 5m3/h/m2@50Pa. Our accredited test engineers installed 3 fans into a ground floor entrance door. The timing of the test was co-ordinated with site to minimise disruption so that trades were able to continue to work within the building during the test or (if they preferred) or take a break for 30 minutes. The building was pressurised and pressure difference readings were taken at different locations within the building to confirm equalisation of pressure.

The hotel achieved the target at the first time of asking so the building could be opened up within a few minutes. If there had been any issues, our test engineer would have been able to trace the air leakage paths using air and/or smoke.

On a separate visit, the builder’s shaft that had been constructed for smoke ventilation purposes was tested to confirm that its air permeability was under 3.8m3/h/m2@50Pa, this allows the smoke ventilation system installer to be confident that the system will achieve the necessary air flows to extract smoke from the stairwells and corridors in the event of a fire to allow guests and staff to exit safely and the fire service to access the building. The shaft achieved the target.


“We benefit from Air Leakage Testing’s wealth of experience in testing large and complicated buildings to ensure that testing is carried out efficiently and successfully”

Kevin Jenkins, Carter Lauren