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Air Tightness testing is a requirement 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 L1 registration.
Air Tightness is a key factor in achieving an energy efficient building fabric in combination with insulation. The England & Wales Building Regulations require air tightness to be measured through site testing.
In June 2022, a revised version of Approved Document L came into force. It is divided into Volume 1 for dwellings and Volume 2 for buildings other than dwellings. There are some significant changes included in this revision in order to achieve a 31% reduction in carbon emissions from new buildings, this impacts a wide range of aspects energy efficiency including insulation and fuel types as well as air tightness, as a stepping stone to the Future Homes Standard in 2025.
The highlights with respect to air tightness include:
- No sampling – all units must be tested
- Maximum air permeability reduced from 10 m3.h-1.m-2@50Pa to 8 m3.h-1.m-2@50Pa (i.e. less draughty)
- A different test standard (CIBSE TM23)
Air Testing Process
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:
4. On the day of testing
On smaller houses and flats we would typically complete the temporary sealing for the test when we arrive on site
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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