In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the Air Pressure Testing of new properties has required mandatory testing since 2006. Similar regulations came into force in Scotland in 2010. Builder and developers must have a sample of new builds tested on a new housing or property development.
Air Tightness Testing is there to ensure the Design Emission Rate of a building is below the Target Emission Rate. Our technicians will calculate the maximum air permeability allowed for your building. If your building’s air permeability rises above that target it will fail the Air Tightness Test. The aim of Air Tightness Testing is to help increase the energy efficiency of buildings across the board.
Air Pressure Testing is required under different sections of building regulations. In England and Wales it’s required under Part L of the Building Regulations, specifically “The Conservation of Fuel and Power”. Up in Scotland, Air Pressure Testing is required under Section 6 of the Scottish Building Standards. In Northern Ireland Air Pressure Testing is required by Part F of the Northern Ireland Building Regulations.
Our service includes :
- Commercial, Industrial & Domestic Air Tightness Testing – as required by Part L of the Building Regulations.
- Pre – Test Site Inspection – This is undertaken at various stages during the construction.
- Finding Faults – We complete visual inspections. Thermographic Surveys and Smoke Testing can be undertaken in order to determine key leakage paths.
- Reviews – Design or Construction drawings will be reviewed and evaluated to identify potential building envelope leakage paths.
- Induction Seminars/On Site Training – One main method to reduce leakage rates is carrying out on-site seminars for the construction team. It is highly recommended that a training programme is allowed for all large projects.
Air Pressure Testing is not something that everyone will be familiar with so we’ve provided some Q&A’s below.
What Needs to Be Provided to Complete an Air Pressure Test?
You or your architects will provide us with drawings (floor plans, sections, elevations and site plan).
We’ll then use the SAP Calculation or Air Tightness Target (which is found in a SAP Calculation).
Why is Air Pressure Testing Needed?
Maintaining a high level of air tightness within a building helps with the energy efficiency of the building. We carry out the test to detect the loss of air from inside of a building to outside. Air coming in and out of a building can lead to poor energy efficiency, lost heat and cold draughts.
Failing to maintain air tightness can lead to up to 40% of heat loss from within a building. If you're investing in energy efficiency measures, such as a new boiler or extra insulation, make sure you don't forget about air tightness testing too. Your efforts could be in vain if the building's air tightness isn't as high as it should be.
Building regulations are strict when it comes to air tightness – therefore it's important to have an air tightness test completed on the property.
What Regulations Govern Air Pressure Testing?
Air pressure testing is governed by two different sets of regulations – Part L1A and Part L2A.
- Part L1A regulates all new dwellings
- Part L2A regulates air tightness in any building not classed as a dwelling, such as offices and public buildings.
The compliance with these regulations is enforced by Building Control. In Scotland the regulation covering air testing is Section 6 In Northern Ireland it is Part FAir pressure testing which is a component of both SAP assessments and SBEM assessments.
What Happens if the Building Fails the Air Pressure Testing?
At UK Building Compliance, we want your building to pass and you can read our Useful Information Guide before we visit. If your building does fail though, we will be able to help you with a number of measures to ensure that the process is a success next time. Some of the techniques we can employ to remedy the problems you might be suffering from include:
- Smoke Testing – We can fill the building with smoke and then pressurise the whole building. This will then provide a visible indication of the areas of escape, as the smoke will be seen flowing through them. For less extreme situations, we can use devices known as 'smoke pencils' to complete the task.
- Depressurisation – In order to complete the process, we will have to pressurize the whole building, forcing air out through any gaps or cracks. When we depressurise draughts will be felt as the air rushes back into the room. Our technicians will then know where the air is escaping from.
- Thermography – It is also possible to use infra-red cameras to detect where the hottest and coldest spots are in the house. UKBC technicians prefer to do this at night time when the inside and outside temperatures are considerably different.
By providing you with assistance when your building fails the Air Pressure Testing, we ensure that you are not kept waiting for that all important completion certificate. Other companies simply test and then leave – we will stay until you get the result you want.
What are the Most Common Problems?
There are a number of different factors that can cause the air tightness of a building to be unsatisfactory. The most common areas of air leakage are:
- Around windows and doors that have not been sufficiently sealed
- Behind fitted units, such as in the kitchen or bathroom.
- Around sockets and other electrical inputs.
- Where the external wall meets a floor.
- Around any pipework leading into the building.
Why Use Us?
UK Building Compliance has a long history of working with the building trade in order to assess all of the rules and regulations laid down by the authorities. This experience means that we have built a great reputation and many regular clients. When you hire UK Building Compliance, you'll be hiring a company that:
- Cares about its clients, always ensuring that their needs are met in both a timely and professional manner.
- Understands the regulations laid down in both Part L1A and Part L2A, both of which govern different aspects of the air pressure testing process.
- Gives clear and impartial advice on the ways to ensure that your development achieves the results desired. We are not affiliated with other companies, so we won't ever recommend unneeded work.
- Offers a number of other services that might be of value to you – please see the bottom of this page for details.
Luckily, if these problems are located they can be corrected with a minimal amount of time and money. Of course, ensuring that they are installed correctly first time round will be the best option though!
Other Services to Consider
We also offer a number of other different services which you may require during your build. These services are:
- SAP Assessments – required by every new dwelling, in order to ensure that it satisfies requirements pertaining to environmental impact.
- SBEM Assessments – similar to SAP assessments, however they are for non-dwellings.
- Domestic EPCs – these must be issued to every new dwelling, or any dwelling about to be sold.
- Commercial EPCs – these must be issued to any commercial building upon completion or when it is being sold.
- Display Energy Certificates – these must be displayed in all public buildings, to show visitors how energy efficient the building is.
- Ventilation Testing – this ensures that a building's ventilation is efficient and effective.
- U Value Calculations – these show how much heat is lost through different materials used in the construction of a building.