28 Jan 2016

Why is Air testing needed?

Air tightness testing is a requirement of all new homes and small commercial buildings since 2006. Required to test air permeability of the building to comply with Part L1 and Part L2 of the Building Regulations. Without such, a property cannot be deemed habitable as the quality of air tightness set has not been reached and is not deemed to be energy efficient.

From 2006 when air testing came into regulation the energy efficiency of a building is seen to be very important. Air tightness testing is a method of calculating how much air is leaking in or out of a building. By which air leakage is known as the uncontrolled flow of air through gaps and cracks in the building fabrication. All of which can normally be sealed or repaired to make the building as air tight as possible and pass the required testing.

air tightness testing

The set regulations depict a figure for the maximum air permeability a building may reach. If a building’s air permeability falls above that figure, it will fail the air tightness test and will need to be retested.

The aim of air tightness testing is to help increase the energy efficiency of all new buildings and ensure the Design Emission Rate of a building is below the Target Emission Rate.

Maintaining a high level of air tightness within a building greatly helps with the energy efficiency of the building. Air coming in and out of a building can lead to poor energy efficiency, lost heat, and cold draughts. Something nobody wants in their property, especially in the cold winter months.

Failing to maintain air tightness can lead to whopping 40% of heat loss from within a single 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, as your efforts could be ineffective 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. This allows a figure to be put on the amount of air gained and lost. Which this figure can then be measured against what’s acceptable and what’s not in the eyes of the building regulations. If a property does fail air pressure testing, then the dwelling or commercial property will need to be retested in order to pass the set building regulations.

Air testing is needed in order to make the building as environmentally friendly for both the environment and for the owner of the building. As successful air tightness can reduce the cost of energy bills, as the building is storing more of the heat it needs to keep warm and also decrees the amount of strain it puts on the environment.

Air tightness testing is something that is unavoidable to new buildings due to being a crucial part within the building regulation. However, air tightness testing does also provide a benefit to the occupant of the building.

23 Dec 2015
How to prepare for an Air Test

This depends on where you are in the build process. For the purpose of this article I am going to assume that the build is almost finished.

Firstly, make sure your air testing company is registered with ATTMA.

One of our favourite sayings here at Northern Air testing is:

”Treat every room as an air tight plaster board box” (What do we mean buy this?)

Well if you imagine a small bedroom and think about any penetrations there may be through the plasterboard. These are almost certainly as follows:

1) Where the plaster board meets the floor.

2) Where radiator pipes penetrate the wall or floor.

3) Under the window sill where the plaster board meets the sill.

4) Gaps between the floor boarding.

If the skirting is sealed top and bottom it will resolve issue 1

Proprietary fittings should be used where flexi radiator pipes penetrate to plasterboard, where pipes penetrate the floor the holes should be sealed, issue 2 is now resolved.

Under the window sill is often an area that is missed and is simply resolved with the use of some decorators Caulk issue three resolved.

Often flooring needs to be cut once it is down to access pipe work etc. The cuts need to be sealed once the floor is put back down. Issue 4 resolved.

You now have an air tight plaster board box (with controllable ventilation such as trickle vents) If we tested this room it would get a very low air test score.

Now think of every other room in the property in the same way.

Obviously bathrooms, en suites, kitchens, utility rooms have more penetrations through the plasterboard so take extra care. Remember that once your bath, vanity units and Kitchens are in it is more difficult to seal any penetrations.

So if you do treat every room in the same way as the small bedroom then you are going to achieve a very good air test score, as you will have minimal air permeability throughout the building.

Article Tips from How to Prepare for an Air Test.

  • Seal all skirting boards both top and bottom
  • Don’t have carpets fitted until the air test has been done. If you have to have the carpets fitted ask the fitters not to ‘score out’ the seal between the floor and the skirting.
  • Remember our plasterboard box saying.
  • Download our Air Test Check List.
  • Give us a call and we will be happy to offer you practical, free advice.

Article, How to Prepare for an Air Test by Phil Ramshaw (Director)

For SEO reasons the page title needs to appear a minimum of four times in this article.

18 Dec 2015
Air Testing Newcastle

Well, no air testing company should guarantee an air test pass and if they do we recommend that you walk away and use a more reputable company.

In our experience, builders large and small can sometimes fail an air test. This is often no fault of their own and can simply be an oversight during part of the build process. It’s not the end of the world and problems can generally be rectified quite easily. Here at Northern Air Testing we pride ourselves in offering our customers on site advice when a property fails. We will point out any areas of weakness and make suggestions regarding appropriate remedial work. We will even stay and help if that’s what’s required.

If you do fail an air test you should expect a post-test report outlining the areas of weakness. This will help you rectify the issues prior to a re-test. It’s also worth asking the test engineer where the issues are and get them to show you whilst they are on site. If you can, get them to put the fan back on and walk you through the property pointing out the weak areas and make a list there and then. This can be very beneficial as an experienced air test engineer will be able to identify the most problematic areas and thus the most important areas to pay attention too.

If you are reading this article it would suggest that an air test is worrying you which is understandable, the word test in any context worries me! However, some simple safeguards and processes throughout the build will make the test day less daunting. So take a look at our ”top five tips” and ”air test check list” on our website, click on the link and we will email them to you. There is no catch and no obligation. If your site is in Yorkshire we will even offer a free pre test visit, where we can advise you on how best to prepare for test day.

Today’s article Tips

  • Print off our check list and pin a copy in a prominent place in your build or site office.
  • Give a copy to all your trades and make sure they understand what an air test is.
  • If you make a hole in any plaster board wall make sure its sealed immediately, especially if it’s going to be behind kitchen units, baths etc.

Phil Ramshaw (Director)

Northern Air Tightness Testing Services LTD. (A Yorkshire based air testing company)

11 Dec 2015
Air Testing Yorkshire Van with green grass

Air testing can be a daunting experience for self builders and established building companies alike, but it needn’t be. Here at Northern Air Testing we are committed to helping our customers get through the air test with minimal difficulty. We can be available at a very early stage of your build to offer free information and advice to allow you to pass first time and take away some of the stress and anxiety associated with your air test. We also offer free pre test site visits and a free check list. Our free site visits were once described by a well known self build web site as ”an offer you can’t refuse”.

The free pre air test site visit offers our customers the opportunity to focus their attentions on the air test requirements at an early stage and allows them to instruct their sub-contractors to be mindful of the up and coming air test. Depending on how early we get involved in the build our advice can range from to following:

Solid dot and dab to the bottom of plasterboard.

This restricts the air flow from the cavity between the plasterboard and block work. From our experience most plasterers say that’s what they do and most developers say that’s what they ask for but, I’m afraid in reality 90% of the time it doesn’t happen.

Top Tip for developers. When seeking tenders for plastering work Ask for a quote to specifically include a solid dot and dab to the bottom edge of all boards.

Top tip for plasters. When tendering for work quote for solid dab and say why, It will impress developers that you have a knowledge of air testing and that you are conscientious.

Remember Northern Air Testing are here to help. We can offer information and advice at the early stage of your build but don’t worry if you have landed on this page at the end of your build and have just realised that you need an air test. We are very happy to offer you help and advice prior to your test. If you have a look at our website there are some useful