Air Tightness Testing for Energy Efficiency
Air tightness testing measures draughts which have a significant impact on energy efficiency in new and existing residential and commercial buildings
Our experienced test engineers are registered with ATTMA, and are available to provide a comprehensive air tightness testing and consultancy service.
Types of air testing services
Air Tightness testing is a requirement of Approved Document L (Volume 1) for all new houses and flats. Testing must be conducted by a competent person, typically a company registered with the Air Tightness Testing & Measurement Association (ATTMA). All of our test engineers hold ATTMA Level 1 registration.
Air Tightness testing is a requirement of Approved Document L (Volume 2) for all new buildings that are not dwellings. Testing must be conducted by a competent person, typically a company registered with the Air Tightness Testing & Measurement Association (ATTMA). We have a number of experienced test engineers with ATTMA Level 2 registration and a lot of fans and which allows us to test all types and sizes of building.
PassivHaus, EnerPHit, AECB and similar low energy schemes prioritise the importance of the building fabric being well insulated and airtight so that other energy saving measures/design can be fully effective. We undertake air tightness testing of Low Energy houses, apartment blocks and commercial properties. Our test engineers are ATTMA registered for Low Energy Scheme air testing.
Air Tightness is a key factor in achieving an energy-efficient building fabric in combination with insulation. Improved air tightness means reduced heat loss through draughts which makes the buildings cheaper to heat and more comfortable. Our experienced engineers are able to test existing buildings before and after refurbishment/retrofit as well as identify leakage paths and offer guidance on remedial measures.
Our Air Leakage Testing Process
Our air test engineers are home-based and well-placed to cover Greater London and the City, Kent, Essex, Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire, we are able to test all over the UK.
We are happy to talk through what is involved, what to watch out for and when to test. We can provide guidance and checklists.
The below checklists can be downloaded and used to manage air testing from design/planning, through construction to preparation for the test:
We confirm a date. Our engineer will call you ahead of the test date to talk you through the preparation and process plus agree the timings. We would also look to confirm the air permeability that has been targeted in the energy model (SAP/SBEM) at this stage, if it hasn’t been discussed already. The results of the test are a key component of the calculation of the overall energy efficiency of the building and, therefore, achieving the necessary air tightness is a critical part of building control sign-off.
On commercial buildings and large residences, we would talk you through what would need temporary sealing would need to be done in advance of our arrival.
On smaller houses and flats we would typically complete the temporary sealing for the test when we arrive on site. On commercial buildings we would talk through with the site team how the taping of ventilation would need to be completed.
We conduct the test. Testing is done through a pressure test whereby fans are installed into a doorway of the building and used to create a measurable difference between the pressure inside and outside of the building. The amount of air needed to maintain this difference can be used to indicate the volume of air escaping through the fabric (what would be draughts in the building’s day-to-day life).
If the building doesn’t achieve its target at the first time of asking, we can use our equipment to identify the leakage paths. If these can be addressed relatively quickly, then we can repeat the test on the same day. In order to achieve increasingly challenging energy performance targets, air tightness requirements are becoming tighter. Typically, a good level of air tightness can still be achieved with excellent attention to detail in the decorative finish but, to achieve tighter targets, consideration must be given to air permeability within the design of the fabric, including use of membranes and tapes to maintain the air barrier – please see FAQs
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We also offer advice and support on achieving air tightness in advance of undertaking the test, including:
- Desktop design reviews – a review of the key design details that make up the air barrier
- Attendance of design meetings
- Pre-test inspections and reports – walking the building with the site team to review the air barrier and identify potential issues/solutions, plus agree pre-test preparations and practicalities of the test (timings, access, etc)
- Toolbox Talks
- Preliminary/benchmark testing at an early stage to confirm performance and identify leakage paths
AND THERE’S MORE ...
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