building Compliance & Sustainability

Air Tightness Testing Procedure

An air tightness test measures the extent of air leakage in a building. Improving air tightness of a building not only increases the comfort of the occupants, but can also enhance the building’s energy efficiency.

Gaps and cracks in the building that cause air leakage are often difficult to detect. They may be obscured by internal building finishes or external cladding. Thus the only satisfactory way to show that a building fabric is reasonably airtight is to detect and measure leakage paths within the building fabric.

Air tightness testing is central to the revised 2010 building regulations Scotland (section 6). Under the new regulations developers must test a min 20% of the dwellings on a site but this also depends on the amount of differing house types to ensure that a consistent sample is taken throughout the construction of the development.

Things to Consider...

  • The client needs to send our test engineers the drawings of the development and the design air permeability requirements;
  • Air tightness testing can normally be undertaken in 30 – 60min;
  • Local weather condition may significantly affect the results. Wind speed should be below 3m s-1 and not exceed 6m s-1;
  • Test engineers need to know the size of building envelope and requirements prior to coming to the site.

Preparing the site to create an air-tight enironment...

  • Open and secure all internal doors;
  • Close all windows;
  • Switch off all mechanical ventilation systems;
  • Seal ventilation grids;
  • Close smoke vents;
  • Fill all drainage traps;

On-site testing procedure...

  • Check weather conditions (wind speed, temperature, barometric pressure);
  • Connect a fan (or fans) to an aperture in the building envelope (e.g. door);
  • Set up testing equipment;
  • Gradually increase the fan speed to maximum of 50-60Pa;
  • Gradually decrease the fan speed to around 20Pa;
  • Record the air volume flow through the fan (this equals the air leaking through the building envelope);
  • Record pressure differences across the building at each fan speed;

We will thereafter analyse the recorded air tightness test data and present the results to the client in a technical report. In the event of test failure we will make every effort to advise the client on site on appropriate mitigation measures.

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“ To date SKAD have provided us with SAP and U-value calculations, plus we have benefitted from their Approved Certifier of Design services, and guidance on sustainable construction and building compliance. Lomond Homes expect their air-tightness testing service to be of these same high standards."

Neil Sellars – Technical Manager

Lomond Homes