How To Pass An Air Test First Time

by | Apr 3, 2024 | Last Articles | 0 comments

Mastering Your Air Permeability Test: A Comprehensive Guide

Meeting air tightness regulations is crucial for any building project, ensuring energy efficiency and occupant comfort. However, navigating the complexities of air permeability testing can be daunting. In this guide, we break down the process step-by-step, providing valuable insights and tips to help you pass your air tightness test with flying colours the first time around.

Understanding the Air Testing Regulations

Before delving into the nitty-gritty of passing an air tightness test, it’s essential to understand the regulations you need to meet. In the UK, Part L1A of the building regulations sets the maximum allowable air loss at 8m³/hr/m² when tested at a pressure of 50Pa. However, best practice often recommends achieving a tighter air seal of 5m³/hr/m². If you’re in Scotland, be aware of stricter regulations, where the maximum figure is reduced to 7m³/hr/m² for all dwellings.

Preparing for Air Tightness Success

Passing an air tightness test requires meticulous preparation. Here’s a checklist to ensure you’re ready:

  1. Complete External Structure: Ensure walls, ground, roof, doors, windows, and cladding are all in place.
  2. Install Fixtures and Fittings: Sockets, lights, and plumbing should be installed and operational.
  3. Seal Service Pipes: Any service pipes passing through the structure must be adequately sealed.
  4. Skirting Boards and Seals: Fit skirting boards correctly and seal them at the top and bottom. Use expanding foam for areas without skirting boards.
  5. Draft Excluders: Install draft excluders on entry points to roof voids, garage doors, and any other openings.
  6. Box In and Seal Services: Ensure property services such as electric cables and pipes are boxed in and sealed.
  7. Door Size: One door to the property must be within specified dimensions to facilitate the test.
  8. Seal Existing Ventilation Systems: Ventilation systems should be sealed off during the test to prevent air leakage.

Timing Your Air Leakage Test

According to the Air Tightness Testing Measurement Association (ATTMA), many tests fail due to premature testing. Aim to conduct the test after all building work is complete but before finished flooring or furnishings are installed. This timing ensures optimal conditions for testing and minimizes the risk of failure.

Additional Considerations:

To further enhance your chances of success, consider the following:

  1. Build Stage: Conduct the test after the second fix is complete, and consider delaying laying carpets until after the test for easier remedial works.
  2. Provide Drawings: Furnish floor plans, sections, and elevations to accurately measure surface area for better results.
  3. Know Your Target: Obtain air leakage targets from your SAP assessor to assess performance accurately.
  4. Power Requirements: Ensure each plot has the necessary power sockets for the testing equipment.
  5. Temporary Sealing: Temporarily cover all ventilation and seal any openings higher than 2.6m to facilitate testing.
  6. Water in Traps: Ensure water is in all traps to prevent odours and affect the test results.
  7. Access and Parking: Provide easy access to plots for testing, along with parking within 20 meters of the site.
  8. Location Details: Communicate site addresses accurately and provide clear directions to assist testers.

Here’s a link to our free pre-site visit checklist – click here.

By adhering to these guidelines and best practices, you significantly increase your chances of passing your air tightness test on the first attempt, saving time, resources, and potential headaches down the line.

Remember, meticulous preparation is the key to success in air permeability testing. By following these steps diligently, you’ll be well-equipped to achieve optimal results and meet regulatory requirements with confidence. Learn more about our Air Permeability Testing services by clicking here.