Air tightness testing is becoming increasingly important to help produce greener developments, through reducing carbon emissions and reducing energy needlessly lost from residences. The amount of energy lost is known as the emission rate. New developments must meet specific requirements for air testing and emission rates.
What is air tightness testing?
Air testing fundamentally tests the air tightness, permeability and leakage that occurs from a building (i.e. the amount of conditioned air that escapes or gets wasted). The more air tightness, the less energy is being needlessly lost, and the lower emission rate a building can obtain. Air testing also shows how efficient a building is at retaining conditioned air. The energy required to produce the conditioned air is either increased or decreased based on how air-tight the building is. Air testing in the United Kingdom is governed by Part L of the Building Regulations, which is further split into Parts L1A and L2A. These sub-sections regulate new and non-residential developments respectively.
How many units in a development require air tightness testing?
How air tightness testing is undertaken largely depends on 1) the type of dwelling being tested and 2) whether accredited construction details are used. A building control officer will be able verify whether accredited construction details are used. If accredited construction details have not been used, then guideline air test figures are: 1-4 units (1 of each dwelling type to be tested), 5-40 (2 of each dwelling type to be tested) and 41+ (5% of units, unless the first 5 units pass).