NOVA Acoustics Ltd provides air tightness / pressure testing across Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire. Our local knowledge and ability to respond quickly to your project requirements across Cambridge, Northampton and Milton Keynes is unrivalled and comes at the most competitive price. Our specialist knowledge of Part L of the Building Regulations and the unique needs of our local clients means that we are still Cambridgeshire’s most popular choice for air testing.
We provide air testing throughout the Cambridgeshire via our network of registered air testing engineers. Air testing to achieve satisfactory levels of air tightness became a legal requirement in 2006 in England and Wales, under Part L of the Building Regulations. Air testing is becomingly 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 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 testing?
How air 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 testing 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).
Common reasons for failing air testing
There are several commonly occurring reasons that a property may fail air testing. These include:
- Sealing around windows and doors
- Proper installation of trickle vents
- Properly installed loft hatches
- Sealing of the junction between walls, ceilings and floors
- Sealing services pipes including heating, water and waste pipes penetrating internal and external walls
- Sealing of electrical fittings, such as sockets and switches
What happens if my development fails air testing?
Should the results of your air testing show unacceptable air leakage, we have many techniques available to find and remedy the source of the issue, including:
- Smoke Testing – we can use smoke pencils to visualise the air flow during testing
- Depressurisation – we pressurise the building during testing, by reversing the fans we can depressurise the building and find where air is leaking in
- Thermography – this is performed using an infra-red camera to identify hot and cold spots on the surface of the building; this requires a temperature variation and is usually done at night
When is my development ready for air testing?
We advise you to contact us as early as possible to ensure that your developments stand the best chance of passing air testing. However, the more complete a development is, the more likely it is to meet air testing requirements. Meeting the following criteria will generally provide the best chance of passing testing:
- The building should be complete
- All doors and windows must be fully fitted and functional
- All electric fittings must be installed and functional
- Gaps within walls and floors must be sealed
- Bathrooms and kitchens must be fully fitted
- All mechanical ventilation turned off with grilles sealed
- Ensure water is present in soil pipes.
- 240v power must be available on site
- Access to all rooms is required
- No works must be taking place in test buildings
Our unrivalled service includes free, expert advice for helping properties achieve required emission rates for air testing. Simply the use the Request a Consultation button on this page, or call our offices, to chat about your specific air testing requirements with our friendly and knowledgeable team of acoustic consultants.