16 Oct 2016
Air Tightness Testing North West England

Air Tightness Testing North West England.

If you find yourself on this page, have a read but don’t forget to visit our main site.

We have been in the North West quite a bit this week. A memorable test was one Phil did in a village just outside Ormskirk. (photo of the property above). This was a memorable property for two reasons, the first evidenced by the photo. It was a lovely large house set in its own grounds, overlooking the surrounding countryside ”sounds like estate agent speak but it was very nice” The second reason that it was memorable, was the preparation the owner of the property put into getting the property ready for the air test and the obvious attention to detail that must have happened throughout the build. The actual air test didn’t take long at all, as it was evident as soon as the fan went on that it was going to perform very well.

I have talked about attention to detail in a previous blog, but I’m going to mention it again. We have noticed that when we test larger, high end properties, there is considerable attention to detail, especially with the finishes. However, more often than not, this attention to detail is lacking when you look just below the surface. An example of this is often found in the Kitchen, behind the wall units where the wall meets the floor or doesn’t. Custom and practice is to leave a gap at the bottom of the plasterboard, but if its just left like this, then air will escape through the gap. The same thing happens with the penetrations through the plasterboard behind units. We have seen all sorts, such as four inch core drilled holes for the electrician to pull his wires through, or where the plumber has drilled a larger than necessary hole for the sink waste. Its fine doing this but the holes need to be sealed back up once the wire or pipe is in place. Tis is the hidden attention to detail which makes all the difference on air test day.

So back to the house featured. The attention to detail was definitely more than ” skin deep” and it passed the air test without any difficulty, but more importantly it will be energy efficient. Two other benefits of sealing the bottom of the plasterboard where it meets the floor are:

  1. It keeps dirt and dust out and where there is a carpet fitted it keeps the edge of the carpet clean.
  2.  It keeps the spiders out.

A quick plug for the architect who was Paul Ennis based in Southport.

Tips from :  Air Tightness Testing North West England.

Finish off each room in the same way. Then fit you kitchen, bath or shower.

Check out our top tips page and down load our air test check list.

Maintain that attention to detail throughout the build and not just with the aesthetic finish.

Article  Air Tightness Testing North West England by Phil Ramshaw (Director)

To optimise our SEO we need to use the term Air Tightness Testing North West England   at least four times in this post.

04 Oct 2016
Air Permeability testing Cumbria

Air permeability Testing Cumbria.

If you find yourself on this page have a read but don’t forget to visit our main site.

Phil was testing a fantastic detached house in Ravenstonedale Cumbria today (See photo) This was a fantastic example of a well built property that passed its air test without difficulty. Phil said that as soon as he walked through the front door it was obvious that things were going to go well. The quality of the finish and the attention to detail was excellent and this clearly continued throughout the build even in the unseen hidden areas.

Attention to detail is a key factor in achieving a good air test score and if this detail is extended to those hidden areas such as behind kitchen units, baths, showers, built in wardrobes, then all will be well.

What do we mean by the term attention to detail in air testing terms? Well have a look at our check list and it will give some clues, but the best thing to do is to think of each room as an empty box that you are going to show to your potential customers. The living rooms and bedrooms are easy, they can be shown once they are finished and painted, All they are, are finished plaster boxes ready to be dressed with furniture. But what about the kitchens and bathrooms? Our advice is to do exactly what you would do in the other rooms and finish them off properly before fitting the kitchen, shower or bath. Don’t do what has been custom and practice for years and leave the areas that will be hidden behind units unfinished, as this is where most air leakage occurs.

 

Tips from :  Air permeability Testing Cumbria

Finish off each room in the same way. Then fit you kitchen, bath or shower.

Check out our top tips page and down load our air test check list.

Maintain that attention to detail throughout the build and not just with the aesthetic finish.

Article  Air permeability Testing Cumbria by Phil Ramshaw (Director)

To optimise our SEO we need to use the term Air permeability Testing Cumbria   at least four times in this post.

30 Sep 2016
Ventilation Testing part F

 Ventilation Testing Part F

If you are building a new house, you will not only need to have an air pressure test, but also your extraction system will require testing, to ensure it extracts at the correct rate and conform to part F of building regs. Be very careful, relying on your installer certificating their own work, as in our experience, self certification is next to worthless.

With todays stringent requirements relating to air tightness, it is massively important that your ventilation system is compatible with the air tightness of your home. If you are at the planning stage of your build, then this is a good time to contact us and we can advise on both, the design air test score and the appropriate ventilation system. Conversely, if you have set your mind on a particular ventilation system, then ask us about how you can achieve a compatible air test result.

The most common mistake both self builders and experienced developers make, is fitting cheep system 1 fans, (extractors that only run when the light is switched on) without thought to the design air test score or the run of ducting required to reach an outside wall.

Imagine the scenario. A well known and most commonly used extractor fan (I’m not going to name it) will extract at 15 litres a second in benign conditions (bench test). If it needs to extract through a ceiling and then out through an external wall, it will almost certainly fail to extract at the required 12 litres a second. This is because the ducting will have at least one bend in it, causing increased resistance to the air flow. Then a length of, usually more than a metre, of ducting, again, causing more resistance. I have personally tested fans that go directly through a 300mm wall and not extract at the correct rate.

If you are wanting to fit individual fans in each of your ‘wet rooms’ we recommend always fitting system three fans, which are the ones that trickle constantly and then boost when you need them to. This is because the part F flow  requirements are lower, as the fans are constantly trickling and therefore do not need to extract on boost at such a high rate. There are also system three fans that are adjustable so we can set them up to extract both on trickle and boost and cope with bends and greater lengths of ducting.

 

Tips from  Ventilation Testing part F

Plan your ventilation at building design stage.

Think about your ventilation system. Make sure it is compatible with you design air test score.

Have you vents tested on the same day as your air test and save money

If you are going to fit individual extractors, we recommend using system three.

 

Article  Ventilation Testing part F  by Phil Ramshaw (Director)

To optimise our SEO we need to use the term Ventilation Testing Part F at least four times in this post.

16 Sep 2016
Part F Ventilation Testing

Part F Ventilation Testing

Hear at Northern Air Testing we also test and commission ventilation systems.

Ventilation is an area that is often overlooked during the planning and build process and often the cheapest extractor fans are used. We have noticed of late, that more and more developers are contacting us, asking if we are able to test and commission their extractors. They have only realised that this is a building regulation requirement (Part F) when the building inspector has asked to see evidence of the extract system being certificated.

A common myth is that low air tightness levels can cause building sickness and poor air quality. It is important to match the air tightness target and end results with adequate means of ventilation. Low air permeability results, typically less than (5m3.h-1.m-2 @50pa) will require an assessment of the ventilation strategy. In Layman’s terms, if your design air test score is less than 5 (it nearly always is under the latest building regs) then our advice is to fit system 3 Fans. These are the fans that extract at a trickle rate continuously and then boost on demand, usually when a light is switched on or a sensor is activated. It is important to note that it is not good practice to mix and match your ventilation systems.

So if you follow our advice and fit system three fans then this need to be fitted in all rooms requiring ventilation. A common mistake is where kitchen cooker hoods are fitted. These are classed as system 1 which means that you will also require a system three fan fitted somewhere else in the kitchen area.

A great system three fan is the Greenwood Air Vac (unity). We recommend this fan for two reasons.  They looks good and are adjustable. You can set the fan speed on both trickle and boost. This allows us to set the fans up to the required extraction rates and also allows greater force to overcome long lengths and bends in ducting. System one fans don’t allow for this and extract at one rate.

All this can be confusing so your best bet is to give us a call and have a chat. we are happy to offer you advice on both your air testing requirements and ventilation. This way you will get it right first time.

 

Tips from Part F Ventilation Testing

Remember that a good air test result is every trades responsibility, so if you download our air test check list and make sure you give a copy to every trade.

Download our free air test check list.

Check out our top tip page on the website.

Book us at an early in your build and we will provide you with a free pre test site survey.

Have multiple plots ready at the same time and it will save you money.

Get an early on plot test done to identify if there are any issues with air tightness.

Think about your ventilation system. Make sure it is compatible with you design air test score.

Have you vents tested on the same day as your air test and save money

 

Article Part F Ventilation Testing  by Phil Ramshaw (Director)

To optimise our SEO we need to use the term Part F Ventilation Testing at least four times in this post.

07 Sep 2016
Air Testing Nottingham Air Tests from £120 with multiple test discounts

Air Testing Nottingham.

Mike and Adam are working in Nottingham all day today doing multiple tests on a development of social housing. If you have read our blogs or looked at our website you will probably realise that we offer fantastic discounts for multiple tests. So to give you an example of todays job and without giving sensitive information away, we have quoted to test up to four plots at £200 and then the remaining six at a greatly reduced price. We can do this, as our Philosophy is, that once we are on site we may as well test as many plots as we can as our cost both financially and time wise are in travel.

A great way of utilising our service on large developments is to get an early ”one plot test” done. We will do this for you at minimal cost (as long as we are booked for future tests) By doing this we will be able to identify if there are any issues with the build in relation to air tightness and provide a report. This can then inform the developer and their team in regards to the remaining plots, which generally prevents the same issues recurring. Subsequently, when we then carry out multiple tests things generally go well.

We are happy to provide on going support and believe that were are actually part of your team. We often get our customers ringing us to ask for advice and we are more than happy to offer it and its for free.

Please note:

We will provide you with a free air test check list at first enquiry.

We offer free pre test site surveys.

We are always on the end of the phone, where we are happy to provide you with free advice.

We will work in partnership with you throughout the build process and are keen to develop good working relationships with all your site operatives.

We will happily provide tool box training sessions. After all your property is only as good as the last person who worked in it.

 

 

 

 

Tips from Air Testing Nottingham:

Remember that a good air test result is every trades responsibility, so if you download our air test check list and make sure you give a copy to every trade.

Download our free air test check list.

Check out our top tip page on the website.

Book us at an early in your build and we will provide you with a free pre test site survey.

Have multiple plots ready at the same time and it will save you money.

Get an early on plot test done to identify if there are any issues with air tightness

 

Article Air Testing Nottingham  by Phil Ramshaw (Director)

To optimise our SEO we need to use the term Air Testing Nottingham at least four times in this post.

06 Sep 2016
Air Testing Greater Manchester

Air Testing Bolton.

I am currently sitting in one of our vans on a Bellway site in Bolton, whilst Adam our latest newly qualified air test engineer carries out a couple of air tests. Adam has been shadowing us for a few weeks now and is gaining the hands on experience required to confidently work independently. However. As a company, we pride ourselves in providing a first class service and expect all our employees to meet  stringent standards of customer service. We also expect them to behave in a professional manner and to have the experience to provide our customers with a quality air test. That is why we have a long probationary period and will only let our engineers ”fly solo” once we are confident with their overall abilities.  Yes this can be costly and labour intensive but it is the best way to ensure consistence across our workforce.

What do we mean by a quality air test?

Well its quite easy to rock up on site, do an air test, get the score (pass or Fail) jump back in your van and once back at the office ring the developer and give them either the good or bad news. This sounds unbelievable but that is exactly what happens, based on what we have been told by numerous site managers and developers.

Needless to say that is not how we work.

Let me give you two scenarios

A property that passes its air test.

Once we have completed the air test we will discuss the results with the appropriate person on site. Be it the site manager or the developer. We will advise on the air test score but also point out any areas that could have been improved. (example yesterday on a Taylor Wimpey site in Wales where the property performed very well. However, there was some issues with a couple of windows, where they had not been adjusted properly. You could not tell just by looking at them, but during air test we noticed quite a bit of drought coming from them. We pointed this out to the site manager and he was able to add this to his snagging list.) This is what we mean by customer service, where we will go that extra mile. In this example we may well have prevented a complain by the new home owner.

 

2.  A property that fails its air test

So what about a property that either fails or is failing the air test? Well, what we definitely will not do is just pack up and leave. We can tell very quickly, whether a house is passing or failing, so the first thing we will do is do a visual check to identify where the air leakage is coming from. Quite often it is something we can address ourselves (we carry sealant with us so can rectify many areas of leakage, there and then) If there is remedial work required which is beyond our scope we will advise the site manager/developer and within reason give them the opportunity to carry out the work there and then. We can then re-run the air test at no extra charge and hopefully achieve a pass. On occasions where there is too much remedial work required on the day, we will provide a report outlining the areas that need attention and return another day. Our re-test charges are generally half the price of the original test.

Apart from the above how do we help you pass first time? Well its simple really:

We will provide you with a free air test check list at first enquiry.

We offer free pre test site surveys.

We are always on the end of the phone, where we are happy to provide you with free advice.

We will work in partnership with you throughout the build process and are keen to develop good working relationships with all your site operatives.

We will happily provide tool box training sessions. After all your property is only as good as the last person who worked in it.

 

 

 

 

Tips from Air Testing Bolton:

Remember that a good air test result is every trades responsibility, so if you download our air test check list and make sure you give a copy to every trade.

Download our free air test check list.

Check out our top tip page on the website.

Book us at an early in your build and we will provide you with a free pre test site survey.

 

Article Air Testing Bolton  by Phil Ramshaw (Director)

To optimise our SEO we need to use the term Air Testing Bolton at least four times in this post.

29 Aug 2016
Air Testing Midlands

Air Testing Midlands.

Competitively priced air testing throughout the North of England. Prices start from £180 for an individual build and multiple plot discounts start from as little as £120.

If you are reading this article, please have a look at the rest of our website. Click on the home page and then have a look at our top tips and down load our check list. These are both free and we are happy to offer this advice, whether you use our services or not. We are passionate about what we do and want to help you achieve a good result on air test day. This applies to individual builders and larger developments alike.

We are experienced in working with individual builders and larger developers and understand the complexities of building homes, be it an individual private build or a large development. We actually want you to pass your air test first time, every time. One of our sayings is that ”we will do our best to ensure you pass your air test but we wont cheat” What do we mean by this?

Well, unfortunately we have heard stories of some companies turning up to do an air test and actually not doing one, they just issue a certificate and take the money. We were recently, told an anecdote by a sound tester, that a site manager had told him, that an air tester had arrived the previous week on a particularly wet and muddy day. He wound down his window and shouted to the site manager that he didn’t fancy trekking through the mud to carry out his tests. He asked what the design air test score was and when he was told, he said, consider it done and drove off.  So if this is the type of service you are looking for please don’t call us.

So how do we help you pass first time? Well its simple really:

We will provide you with a free air test check list.

We offer free pre test site surveys.

We will work with you on the day of the test, so if at first you do not achieve the desired result we will point out the week areas and either allow you to carry out remedial work or actually do it for you.

If there is too much remedial work required to complete in a couple of hours we will provide you with a report outlining the areas that require attention and return another day to re test. We will not charge full price again and on average a re test will be at half price.

So that’s how to pass an air test first time.

 

 

 

Tips from Air Testing Midlands:

 

Download our free air test check list

Book us at an early in your build and we will provide you with a free pre test site survey.

 

 

Article Air Testing Midlands  by Phil Ramshaw (Director)

23 Aug 2016
Air Permeability Testing Yorkshire

Air Permeability Testing Yorkshire

We have recently been commissioned to test the Chapel of the Hospital of St Mary Magdalen Ripon, which dates back to the 12th century. We were asked to determine the air changes per hour of the building and to identify where the air leakage was occurring. This was quite a challenge as the doorways were the typical arched type found in many Chapels of this era. We had to fit our oblong frame into an arched opening which meant quite a bit of fabrication to allow us to create an air tight seal in order to carry out an accurate test.

History of the Chapel

The hospital of St Mary Magdalen is said to have been founded by Thurstan, who was the Archbishop of York from 1114 to 1228. The Chapel is all that remains of the hospital. The Church of St Mary Magdalen (now a private house) was built in 1868 on the opposite side of the road from the Chapel which served to congregation which had outgrown the chapel which then went out of use. In the following years the chapel served as a farm building and has some restoration in 1897, 1917 and again in the 1980s. It was only re-consecrated in 1989.

IMG_1416

Although The Archbishop of York was clearly unaware of air testing in the 12th century, the Chapel was well built and was surprisingly air tight. There was significant air leakage from the two wooden doorways as they were hung directly to the stone walls with no door frames so they fitted where they touched but that was about it. If the chapel was to be built today it would have to conform to current building regs and would require an air test so the current Archbishop of York would receive one of our air test check lists to pass in to his stone masons.

Tips from Air Permeability Testing Yorkshire:

If you are planning a new build, be it a chapel or a new home check out our web site for all the information you require to pass your air test.

We also test and commission your ventilation systems

 

Article Air Permeability Testing Yorkshire  by Phil Ramshaw (Director)

04 Aug 2016
Air Testing Midlands

Air Testing North West

Due to the high demand for our services in the north west we have recruited an additional air testing engineer who will be based in the Manchester/Liverpool area. This will allow us to cut down on our carbon footprint by reducing our vehicle mileage. It will also allow us to offer some great value air tests. We have been bashing out the mileage back and forth across the Pennines of late so it makes economical sense to have a base closer to the air testing demand.

It seems that everywhere you turn in the north west there is a new build going up. Either a single development or a whole housing estate. It seems to be the same in North Wales where we have also been very busy of late.

We have noticed recently how things seem to have improved on the large developments where the properties have been much better prepared for the air test. We tested several sites for Anwyl Construction who are based in North Wales and they are brilliant. The houses are always ready for the air test and generally have no difficulty in passing. One of the areas they are very good at is ensuring the area behind the kitchen units is finished off. IE the bottom of the plasterboard is sealed to the floor. They also do a neat job of sealing the bottom of the skirting boards which also includes the internal walls.

Tips From This Blog, Air Testing North West.

  • Check out our air testing top tips page
  • Download our air testing check list, its free.
  • Make sure you seal the plasterboard where it falls short of the floor behind kitchen units. (or better still skirt out behind the units)
  • Seal the bottom of your skirting to the floor and include the internal stud walls as well.
  • We also commission, test and certificate extractors, and whole house heat recovery systems.
Air Testing Cheshire, we can also commission and certificate your extraction system

Mike testing an extractor in a kitchen

 

 

Article Air Testing North West  by Phil Ramshaw (Director)

31 Jul 2016
Part F Ventilation Testing

One of the areas often overlooked when either developers or individuals build new houses is the ventilation system. This has become more apparent of late where developers have installed inappropriate extraction in their properties. This is often not picked up until building control arrive to sign off the build, which is a bit late. We have had two jobs this week where we have been asked to commission the ventilation system. On arrival at both sites we found that both developments had ‘system one’ fans fitted. These are the individual extractors that only operate when asked to, i.e. when a light is switched on.

Air Testing Cheshire.

Why were ‘system one’ fans unsuitable?

  1. the design air test score was below 5. Although you can get away with system one fans, in this instance we recommend that system three fans are fitted. (fans that trickle continuously and boost when required) This ensures an adequate, controlled, exchange of air in the property. Building control are increasingly picking up developers who have not fitted this type of system. The main reason for this is that there have been a number of warrantee claims for condensation where the developer has fitted inadequate extraction.
  2. ‘System one’ fans are generally not adjustable and extract at one speed. We continuously come across fans that are supposed to extract at a specific rate but seldom do. A couple of examples we have seen recently, were a bathroom fan that extracted directly through an external wall, so had only about 300mm of ducting to the outside. this failed to get anywhere near the desired extraction rate and therefor we were unable to certificate it. An additional example was a cloakroom under the stairs which had a long run of ducting with at least one bend in it, again this failed.

So how could these two issues be resolved? Well, the examples above were resolved by the developer who changed all his extractors to system three ones, this allowed us return later in the week when the new fans were fitted where we were able adjust the flow rate of the new fans to the desired extraction and therefore comply with building regs.

Our advice when it comes to extraction is never fit system one fans and go for the system three ones instead. We know that it often comes down to price and system three fans are a little more expensive but in the long run they are ultimately more superior and you will not fall foul of building control.

Note. If your design air test score is below three then you must install a whole house heat recovery system.

 

 

 

 

Tips From This Blog, Air Testing Cheshire

  • Check out our air testing top tips page
  • Download our air testing check list, its free.
  • We can test you extraction system at the same time as your air test.

 

 

Article Air Testing Cheshire  by Phil Ramshaw (Director)