What is an Air Leakage Test?
Also known as Air Permeability or Air Tightness, Air Leakage Testing is a measurement that shows how good your building is at keeping the heat in, and the cold out. It is a requirement on new developments as part of Approved Document Part L (England and Wales) and Technical Handbook Section 6 (Scotland).
The test takes place after construction and before the occupants move in.
The lower the air leakage, the better the building is at keeping out the cold, therefore reducing fuel bills. However, a building that is too air-tight can be at risk of condensation and mould growth so a balance needs to be met.
For residential buildings, you can opt to not test all plots on larger sites but the SAP will be penalised on plots that are not tested. This is known as the Confidence Factor.
For commercial buildings, if the unit has a floor area less than 500sqm, and providing it shows compliance with the Target Emission Rate by using a worst-case result, you can opt to not test. In all other cases, an air test is almost certainly mandatory.
Top Tips for Air Tests
The air test result is fed into the As Built SAP/SBEM before final documents are created. This result will change the expected emission rate. Therefore, if you achieve a result that is worse than predicted, your SAP/SBEM may no longer pass. This also means that an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) cannot be issued until the test result is known.
Common areas for poor test results include: Service penetration points, pipework, joints between panels, skirting boards, data cabling, plant rooms, MVHR systems.
The Energist Approach
We will check your plans and liaise with your Building Control Officer (if you would like us to).
Our dedicated team of ATTMA accredited Air Leakage Testers will help you achieve the best result.
If you do not achieve the result you need, we will conduct a same-day retest once any remedial work has been done.
Your test certificate will then be issued within 60 minutes.