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Ventilation Commissioning in Essex

Are you searching for ventilation commissioning in Essex? Well you are in luck as Building Compliance Testing are the right people for the job!

With modern buildings trying to focus on energy efficiency by making a home as air tight as possible due to struggles with energy bills and such, ventilation is forgotten more and more. Ventilation is an extremely important aspect of a property, poor ventilation can result in poor health for the building and the residents, as well as mold and many more issues!

Alot of things have to be considered when doing ventilation testing, things such as structural safety, fire safety, combustion appliances and fuel storage systems, conservation of fuel and power for new dwellings and more. All of these need to be tested with regulated tools approved by Part F of the building regulations, and the only people who have the tools and experience are right here!

If you are interested in getting ventilation commissioning for a property you own, then we couldn’t recommend getting in contact with us!

 

Why Choose Building Compliance Testing?

Building Compliance Services

Building Compliance Testing are very dedicated to our jobs, we are so dedicated in fact that we have sacrificed our entire week for the job! Yes that does mean we work Saturdays and Sundays, so we are available anytime, anywhere! So even if you are the hardest worker, working 9-5 all week, we can promise that we will find time for you during the week!

 

Contact us – Ventilation Commissioning in Essex

If you want the services that Building Compliance Testing provides, then we highly recommend getting in contact with us by filling out an enquiry form which is located on our website, or you may prefer to contact us be email: contact@buildingcompliancetesting.com or phone us on this number: 01621 493 594

We look forward to working with you!

New Home Energy Model

New Home Energy Model

The government plans to replace the Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) with a new Home Energy Model (HEM) as part of the upcoming Future Homes and Buildings Standards. This move aims to align the UK’s energy modelling standards with international best practices.

SAP currently calculates compliance with Part L of the Building Regulations in England, but it will give way to the HEM: Future Homes Standard (FHS) in 2025 to ensure dwellings meet the FHS requirements. While the model is still in development, the government is seeking industry input through consultations to shape its evolution.

Changes to the model ecosystem include adopting an open-source methodology, updating the database of product characteristics, and incorporating increased time resolution in the calculation methodology.

More information can be found by clicking here.

Don’t Fall for the Mastic Trap: Navigating Air Permeability Testing and Temporary Sealing

Don’t Fall for the Mastic Trap: Navigating Air Permeability Testing and Temporary Sealing

Introduction:

In the pursuit of constructing energy-efficient buildings, managing air permeability is a critical factor that often involves temporary sealing methods during the testing phase. However, the construction industry is not immune to common faults that can compromise the efficacy of these measures. In this blog, we’ll explore these pitfalls while emphasizing the significance of air permeability testing, the dangers of the “mastic trap,” and best practices for temporary sealing.

  1. Common Faults in Air Permeability:a. Dry-Lining: Dry-lining, when not executed with precision, can introduce gaps and voids that undermine the integrity of the building envelope. Seams and joints in dry-lining materials, if not properly sealed, can become conduits for unwanted air leakage.

    b. Downlights: Recessed downlights, if not adequately sealed, can create pathways for air to escape into unconditioned spaces. Ensuring proper gaskets and seals around these fixtures is crucial for maintaining airtightness.

    c. Bathroom Pipework Penetrations: Penetrations for bathroom pipework are common culprits for air leaks. Gaps around pipes and improper sealing can lead to uncontrolled air exchange, affecting the overall energy efficiency of the building.

    d. Cold Roof Construction: Cold roof constructions, if not properly designed and sealed, can allow air to infiltrate through gaps in the roof structure. Sealing joints, penetrations, and ensuring proper insulation are essential to mitigate this issue.

    e. Access Doors: Access doors, especially if not sealed adequately, can be significant sources of air leakage. Paying attention to the seals and gaskets around access doors is crucial for maintaining airtightness.

    f. Electrical Outlets: Electrical outlets, if not properly sealed during installation, can contribute to air leaks. Using gaskets and sealants designed for electrical boxes can help prevent unwanted air infiltration.

    g. External Windows and Doors: Improperly installed or poorly sealed windows and doors can compromise the airtightness of a building. Attention to the details of window and door installation, including the use of appropriate sealants, is vital.

    h. Intermediate Floors and Perimeter Finishes: Gaps and voids around intermediate floors and perimeter finishes can create pathways for air to move freely between spaces. Sealing these areas effectively is crucial for achieving optimal airtightness.

Best Practices for Temporary Sealing:

  1. Tape It Right: Invest in high-quality tapes designed for temporary sealing. These tapes should adhere well to various surfaces, resist tearing, and be easy to remove after testing.
  2. Choose Versatile Sealants: Opt for sealants that can flex and adapt to different surfaces without losing their sealing properties. Silicone-based sealants are known for their durability and flexibility.
  3. Consider Membranes: Membranes provide an effective barrier against air leakage. Select breathable membranes that allow for controlled drying while maintaining a sealed environment.
  4. Training and Expertise: Ensure that personnel involved in the sealing process are adequately trained and understand the nuances of temporary sealing. This knowledge is crucial for achieving accurate air permeability test results.

Conclusion:

By understanding and addressing common faults such as those mentioned above, construction professionals can enhance the effectiveness of temporary sealing methods during air permeability testing. Avoiding these pitfalls is essential for creating buildings that not only meet energy efficiency standards but also stand the test of time with a robust and airtight building envelope.

Pre-Completion Sound Insulation Testing throughout Suffolk

Pre-Completion Sound Insulation Testing throughout Suffolk

The construction landscape in South Suffolk is continually evolving, with new buildings cropping up to meet the ever-growing housing demands. However, amidst these developments, ensuring that Sound Resistance Regulations are met is of paramount importance.

Building Compliance Testing in Suffolk

Incorporating the “retain the performance of existing fabric” principle, Building Compliance Testing provides pre-completion sound insulation testing services throughout South Suffolk. We ensure that your development adheres to Sound Resistance Regulations, offering a bespoke sound insulation test quote. Our expertise spans areas like Ipswich, Felixstowe, Bury St Edmunds, Sudbury, Haverhill, and beyond.

When to Schedule Pre-Completion Sound Insulation Testing

The ideal time for pre-completion sound insulation testing is when all construction works have been completed. All doors and windows should be in place, with minimal carpeting, if any. Booking the test on a quiet day, free from construction noise, is advisable to obtain accurate results.

Addressing Potential Failures

It’s possible for pre-completion acoustic tests to reveal issues, often due to workmanship or minor gaps and cracks. However, Building Compliance Testing offers guidance and re-testing services once the issues are resolved.

Simplifying Sound Insulation Testing Terminology

The world of sound insulation testing can seem complex, but we’re here to simplify it. Terms like DnT,w+Ctr (expressing airborne sound insulation) and LnT,w (expressing noise in the receiver room) are demystified. We also introduce the concept of Robust Details, essential for compliance with Part E requirements.

For sound insulation testing in South Suffolk, including Ipswich, Felixstowe, Bury St Edmunds, Sudbury, Haverhill, and throughout the county, Building Compliance Testing is your go-to partner. Reach out today for a bespoke quote by calling 01621 493594.

Beyond Sound Testing

Building Compliance Testing in South Suffolk offers a comprehensive range of acoustic consultancy and noise assessment services, going beyond sound testing for new builds and developments. Our team of acoustic specialists provides mechanical plant testing, noise assessments for licensed premises, noise at work assessments, and a complete suite of professional acoustic testing services tailored to your needs.

In conclusion, the “retain the performance of existing fabric” principle is central to ensuring building compliance and the preservation of historic structures. Building Compliance Testing aligns seamlessly with this principle, offering expert sound insulation testing and a range of acoustic services. It’s a testament to our commitment to both preserving architectural heritage and creating sustainable, energy-efficient buildings for the future. Contact us today at 01621 493594 to learn more about sound insulation testing and compliance with Part E Building Regulations in South Suffolk.

Pre-Completion Sound Insulation Testing throughout Suffolk

Sound Insulation Testing for New-Build and Conversion Residential Construction

Sound Insulation Testing for New-Build and Conversion Residential Construction: What You Need to Know

When it comes to new-build and conversion residential construction, ensuring the acoustic comfort of future occupants is crucial. In the UK, Part E of the Building Regulations sets out the requirements for sound insulation testing, and compliance is non-negotiable. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the key aspects of Part E sound insulation testing, its significance, and how it applies to both new builds and conversions.

 

Sound Insulation Testing

Understanding Part E Sound Insulation Testing

Part E of the Building Regulations, also known as “Resistance to the Passage of Sound,” addresses the acoustic performance of buildings. It is specifically concerned with two critical aspects: airborne sound (such as voices and music) and impact sound (footsteps and moving furniture).

Sound insulation testing, as mandated by Part E, is designed to measure the sound transmission characteristics of walls and floors, ensuring they meet the required standards. The objective is to prevent sound from one dwelling disturbing the peace and quiet of adjacent properties.

When Is Sound Insulation Testing Required?

Sound insulation testing is mandatory for all new residential buildings, be it detached houses, apartments, or conversions of non-residential spaces into residential ones. The specific trigger points are as follows:

  1. New Builds: For new dwellings, Part E requires that sound insulation tests be conducted on a sample of units. The number of tests depends on the size and layout of the development but typically includes a selection of party walls and floors.
  2. Conversions: When non-residential properties, like offices or warehouses, are converted into residential units, sound insulation testing is required to ensure the new spaces meet the necessary acoustic standards. This is crucial to guarantee the comfort and well-being of future residents.

The Testing Process

Sound insulation testing involves measuring the sound insulation properties of separating walls and floors between dwellings. The tests are conducted by specialists using specialized equipment.

  1. Airborne Sound: To assess the airborne sound insulation, a loudspeaker is used to generate a standardized noise source in one room. Sound levels are then measured in both the source room and the adjacent dwelling. This evaluates how much sound is transmitted through the separating partition.
  2. Impact Sound: Impact sound testing involves dropping a series of weights onto the floor in the source room. Again, sound levels are measured in both rooms to evaluate the impact sound insulation performance.

Interpreting the Results

The results of sound insulation testing are typically presented in decibels (dB). The higher the dB value, the better the sound insulation. To comply with Part E, test results must meet or exceed the minimum standards specified in the regulations.

If a building fails the sound insulation test, remedial measures must be taken to improve its acoustic performance. This could involve adjustments to the construction, such as adding additional insulation or using different materials.

Why Sound Insulation Testing Matters

The importance of sound insulation testing cannot be overstated. Adequate soundproofing between residential units is essential for the quality of life of occupants. It ensures privacy, reduces disturbances, and contributes to overall well-being.

For developers and property owners, compliance with Part E is a legal requirement. Failing to meet the acoustic standards not only results in costly remedial work but can also lead to disputes with residents and potential legal issues.

In Conclusion

Sound insulation testing is a critical part of both new-build and conversion residential construction. Part E of the Building Regulations sets out the requirements to ensure that future residents can enjoy a peaceful living environment. Compliance is not only a legal obligation but also a fundamental aspect of creating comfortable and harmonious homes.

Blue Box sound test tap impact sound

What is a G-Value?

What is a G-Value?

Solar Gain Coefficient (g-value)

In the context of windows and glazing, the g-value, also known as the solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC), represents the fraction of solar radiation (both directly transmitted and absorbed and then reradiated) that enters a building through a window or glazed surface. It is expressed as a number between 0 and 1, with higher values indicating a greater ability to transmit solar heat into a building.

The Importance in SAP

The more solar energy that enters a building, the less space heating that is required in the winter. But, in the summer this can lead to overheating.

Like everything in energy modelling, there needs to be a balance. That is why overheating needs to be assessed at planning stage and a full design is carried out to avoid issues further down the building process.

Other Considerations

  • Acoustic Attenuation
  • U-values
  • Off-set/ Thermal bridging
  • Passive Ventilation
  • Purge Ventilation
  • Means of Escape
A New Net-Zero Agenda

A New Net-Zero Agenda

The UK’s Government Net Zero Agenda Press Release
20 September 2023

A change of pace, not direction

What’s Happening?

The purpose of this announcement is twofold: firstly, to reassure the public of the government’s unwavering commitment to achieving Net Zero by 2050; and secondly, to alleviate the financial burden on individuals, given that the UK is currently surpassing earlier projections regarding the path to Net Zero.

What is Net-Zero?

Understanding Net Zero “Net zero” signifies a state where the emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere are balanced by the removal or offset of GHGs, resulting in no net increase in atmospheric GHG levels. In simpler terms, the amount of GHGs added is equaled by what is removed or offset, making it a crucial target in the battle against climate change. Achieving net zero helps limit global warming and mitigates the impacts of climate change.

What’s Changing?

Here are the key alterations:

  • Streamlining Regulations: The government is eliminating unnecessary and heavy-handed measures. This includes discarding proposals for taxing meat and flights, revising residential waste management policies, and reevaluating vehicle passenger regulations.
  • Transition Deadlines: Deadlines for transitioning to clean energy are being adjusted. For instance, the ban on the sale of fossil-fueled cars is now postponed until 2035, and the ban on gas boilers is also being delayed.

 

What’s the impact on the Property Sector?

These changes may not significantly affect the property sector. The deadline for achieving net-zero status (with a SAP rating of A) by 2050 remains intact. For now, gas boiler installations are likely to continue, given their typical lifespan of 15-25 years. It’s imperative to recognize that time is ticking. Managing and sequencing structural improvements within this timeframe, via planned maintenance plans, is vital. This ensures that when the 25-year mark arrives, buildings are primed for low-energy or zero-carbon technologies like Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP).

In fact, there is now a stronger incentive to shift towards low-energy and zero-carbon heating. The grant for boiler upgrades has been augmented to £7,500, a sum that can potentially fully fund a new installation of an Air-Source Heat Pump

In Summary

The United Kingdom is evolving with the end goal of becoming Net Zero. The pace of change, along with associated reductions in cost, has happened more rapidly than previously anticipated. This grants us the breathing room to meticulously work towards achieving Net Zero by 2050.

Simply put, the agenda has not changed. It is not a change of direction, merely a change of pace.

U-values and New Targets

U-values and New Targets

A “U-value” is a measure of the rate of heat flow through an element.

It is expressed in W/m2k, and shows the amount of heat lost in watts (W) per square metre of material (for example wall,
roof, floor etc.) When the temperature (k) outside is at least one degree lower.

Lower U-values indicate better thermal insulation, i.e. an element with a U-value of 0.3 W/m2K loses heat at half the rate of an element with U-value of 0.6 W/m2K.

Building elements are normally built up from a number of layers, so U-values must take into account the performance of each layer.

We set out below the minimum U-values for the key building elements in existing dwellings, as
set out in Approved Document L of the Building Regulations – Conservation of fuel and power,
Volume 1: Dwellings.

Table 4.2 Limiting u-value for new fabric elements in existing dwellings
Element type Minimum U-Value W/(M2K)
Roof 0.15
Wall 0.18
Floor 0.18
Window 1.4 or Window Energy Rating B
Roof light 2.2
Doors with >60% of internal face glazed 1.4 or Window Energy Rating B
Other doors 1.4 or Window Energy Rating B

For new buildings however, targets are tighter

  • Walls  0.18 – this can be achieved with a full-filled 150mm cavity and thermal blocks on the inner-leaf
  • Floors 0.13 – this can be achieved with a PIR insulation of at least 150mm insulation
  • Cold Roof 0.11 – this can be achieved by insulating between joists and above with at least 400mm total thickness
  • Warm Roof 0.11 – this can be achieved by insulating between the rafters and at least 150mm of rigid board insulation over top.

In addition air-tightness, thermal bridging and heating efficiencies have been uprated:

  • Airtightness – typical maximum result of 5.0
  • Thermal bridging – all bridges require measuring however defaults are available (target Y-value of 0.05)
  • Heating – if mains gas is to be used, a 92% ErP is required with interlock and compensator.

 

Offer considerations include:

  • Holistic fabric-first approach to becoming net-zero by 2050 (by the implementation of low/zero carbon technologies and onsite generation)
  • Appropriate ventilation strategies
  • Internal comfort: overheating analysis and background noise levels
  • Water useage
  • Lighting designs

For more information give us a call on 01621 493594 or email contact@buildingcompliancetesting.com

How can air tightness and ventilation prevent condensation and mould

How can air tightness and ventilation prevent condensation and mould

Air tightness and ventilation play essential roles in preventing damp and mould in buildings by controlling moisture levels and air circulation. Here’s how they work together to address this issue:

  1. Air Tightness:
    • Reduced Moisture Infiltration: An airtight building envelope prevents outdoor moisture from entering the structure through gaps, cracks, and openings in walls, roofs, and windows. This is especially crucial in humid or rainy climates.
    • Condensation Control: Air tightness minimizes the risk of warm, indoor air coming into contact with cold surfaces, which can lead to condensation. Condensation can create ideal conditions for mould growth on walls, ceilings, and windows.
  2. Ventilation:
    • Moisture Removal: Ventilation systems, such as mechanical ventilation or natural airflow, help remove excess moisture from indoor spaces. This includes moisture generated from activities like cooking, showering, and breathing. Proper ventilation ensures that humidity levels remain within a healthy range, reducing the potential for dampness and mould growth.
    • Air Circulation: Ventilation promotes air circulation within the building, preventing pockets of stagnant, moist air from forming. Stagnant air can lead to localized moisture problems, which are conducive to mould development.
  3. Balancing Air Tightness and Ventilation:
    • It’s crucial to strike a balance between air tightness and ventilation. While air tightness prevents uncontrolled moisture infiltration, it’s equally important not to create an overly sealed environment that can trap moisture indoors.
    • Mechanical ventilation systems, like heat recovery ventilation (HRV) or energy recovery ventilation (ERV), provide controlled and efficient ventilation while maintaining air tightness. These systems exchange indoor and outdoor air, recovering heat or cooling energy in the process, which helps save energy.
    • Natural ventilation strategies, such as strategically placed windows and vents, can be employed to encourage cross-ventilation and airflow, especially during periods of lower humidity.
  4. Insulation and Thermal Bridging:
    • Proper insulation and the mitigation of thermal bridging (areas where heat escapes more readily) can prevent cold spots on interior surfaces. Cold spots can lead to condensation, so adequate insulation helps maintain consistent indoor temperatures and reduces the risk of moisture-related problems.

In summary, air tightness and ventilation work together to control moisture levels in buildings. A well-balanced approach ensures that the building envelope is sufficiently sealed to prevent unwanted moisture infiltration while providing controlled ventilation to remove excess moisture from indoor spaces. This combination helps create a healthy indoor environment, minimizing the risk of dampness and mold growth.

Why did my Sound Insulation Test Fail?

Why did my Sound Insulation Test Fail?

Part E of the Building Regulations in the United Kingdom addresses sound insulation and requires sound insulation testing for new residential and commercial buildings.

 

Failing sound insulation testing can be attributed to several factors, including:

  1. Poor Construction Quality: One of the primary reasons for failing sound insulation testing is subpar construction quality. If walls, floors, or ceilings are not constructed to the specified standards, gaps, cracks, or weak points can allow sound to pass through easily.
  2. Inadequate Soundproofing Materials: Using insufficient or inappropriate soundproofing materials can lead to test failure. These materials include insulation, acoustic membranes, and seals. If these materials do not meet the required standards or are not installed correctly, sound can transmit through the building elements.
  3. Airborne Sound Leakage: Sound insulation tests measure both airborne and impact sound insulation. Failing the test may be due to airborne sound leakage, where sound travels through walls or ceilings due to inadequately sealed joints, holes, or penetrations.
  4. Impact Noise: Impact noise, such as footsteps or objects dropping on floors, can result in test failure. If the floor structure is not designed or constructed to dampen impact noise adequately, it can easily transmit to adjacent spaces.
  5. Incomplete or Incorrect Documentation: Insufficient or inaccurate documentation related to building design and construction can lead to test failure. It’s essential to ensure that the design and construction align with the specified acoustic requirements.
  6. Inadequate Isolation: Lack of proper isolation between building elements, such as separating walls or floors, can cause sound to transfer easily from one space to another. This is especially important in multi-unit residential buildings.
  7. Variability in Construction: Differences in construction quality between units or rooms within the same building can lead to uneven sound insulation performance, resulting in test failure in specific areas.
  8. Deficient Windows and Doors: Windows and doors are potential weak points for sound insulation. If they are not constructed with suitable acoustic properties or are not installed correctly, they can allow sound to pass through.
  9. Improper Installation: Even with the right materials, if they are not installed correctly, they may not provide the intended sound insulation. Proper installation techniques are crucial for achieving the desired acoustic performance.
  10. Lack of Testing and Quality Control: Failing to conduct intermediate acoustic tests during construction or ensuring quality control measures are in place can lead to issues being discovered only during the final sound insulation test, potentially resulting in failure.

To avoid failing Part E sound insulation testing, it’s crucial to work closely with architects, engineers, and acoustic consultants from the early design stages. This collaboration ensures that the building is designed and constructed to meet the necessary acoustic requirements, and testing can confirm compliance before occupancy.