Head Office: Sayells Farm, 7 Harlington Road, Upper Sundon,
Bedfordshire, LU3 3PE
Air Pressure Testing’s design reviews ensure that air tight elements are fit for the intended purpose and will have the necessary life span. Our expertise, skills and experience provide clients with pragmatic design solutions to minimise the risk of the air tightness works failing in the short and long term.
Drawing on our technical knowledge and experience within construction we can identify areas of the building design and specification that pose a risk to the air tightness specification. Aspects to review for air tight elements can include their material specification and physical characteristics, air permeability, detailed design, proposed installation procedures and operational requirements.
Air Pressure Testing’s Design Review is therefore fundamental in eliminating potential problems. Sending us drawing and specification details is a key stage to accruing the long term benefits of achieving the air tightness specification and reducing the risk of a Air Leakage failure.
Air Tightness - Site Audits
Building right first time whilst under the experienced eye of Air Pressure Testing Engineers our Clients can avoid the potential high cost of remedial works and even higher costs of delays/LEDS by asking Air Pressure Testing to audit air tightness site works throughout the duration of your project (a good guideline is 3 visits per project) this is undertaken in the presence of a member of the contractor's site team. Air Pressure Testing’s air tightness site audits are carried out by experienced Engineers who have gained a significant amount of experience by carrying out over 1000 projects to date, and also have the experience of general site construction management having been Project/Contract managers in companies such as Amec etc
Our experience of auditing and carrying out air sealing works, on hundreds of different sites, gives the knowledge and experience to ensure your project is built correctly and thereby compiles with Part L first time
Audit reports can be prepared, providing a schedule of works, cross referenced with relevant drawing details and photographs, this allows for a quick and easy site reference for all of your site staff and sub-contractors. Site audits carried out at critical points on the build programme can ensure passing air tightness tests first time and that the air tightness specification is fully complied with.
Site Audit Case Study
Air Pressure Testing’s on-site expertise was used to good effect during Mansells Project at Great Ormond St Hospital, on the construction of 4 isolation rooms. The contract specification included an item for the Contractor to achieve an air permeability rate under 1m³/h/m². By carrying out site audits and having a strong proactive approach working alongside the contractor Air pressure Testing enabled the air tightness specification to be met with minimal disruption and costs.
Much of the construction works had already taken place therefore it was too late for Air Pressure Testing to change the specification of the walls from Drylining (met-sec) to a solid masonry wall (a more efficient construction ) unfortunately there was also a small plant room that was also encompassed within the Air Leakage Test. As the plant required full emergency access, a ceiling could not be constructed below the plant, therefore it could not be adequately sealed e.g. where the pipe/duct runs terminated through the walls etc
Using due diligence and sound knowledge of construction detailing Air Pressure Testing visited site to undertake a preliminary Air Leakage test, unfortunately the Isolation rooms building envelope was initially prone to large amounts of Air Leakage, using our small high powered directional smoke machine APT quickly ascertained the pathways of Air Leakage. Details were noted, photographed and recorded and a comprehensive detailed site survey was undertaken with recommendations made for expansive remedial works, this was undertaken in the presence of the client’s Project Manager. Subsequently on the 2nd visit all the isolation rooms passed the Air Leakage Test with a average result of 0.5 m³/h/m² or 5% of the current requirement of part L of the building regulations
A Typical Problem
The client required all new Dwellings to be constructed out of Timber frame to improve construction time and ease of buildability issues; however the customer had not taken into account the new Air Leakage regulations and the subsequent greater risk using a Timber Frame construction presented. This wasn’t unique to this large house builder as virtually no one understood (or had heard of) the concept of the term air tightness? The basic problem was first to educate everyone involved about air tightness issues and then implement it across all sites and offices.
Air Pressure Testing was appointed to undertake a complete design review and subsequently helped produce the client's Air Tightness Design Guide to set down the specification required. Then a series of air tightness seminars was undertaken on existing sites/offices. At this pre-contract stage, all parties were at least aware of why and how air tightness targets could be achieved. The client then instigated initial design reviews for all new house designs , prior to a start on-site, to set out the issues for each particular project with Air pressure Testing. Elements of the design and specification were highlighted if there was a risk to the overall air tightness specification being exceeded and solutions put forward. These meetings enabled Project Teams to identify, co-ordinate and manage the installation of the air tightness works on-site. Ultimately, the new dwellings reached their air tightness specification first time.
Smoke Tests to highlight Air Leakage
Our powerful yet portable Smoke testing equipment makes up part of Air Pressure Testing’s air test rig; this allows for a rapid visual diagnosis of air tightness problems and possible air leakage paths. The smoke is not harmful but it is a requirement of Air Pressure Testing that you inform the fire brigade prior to any Smoke Test being undertaken.
As part of our standard Test equipment we carry both hand-held and full building smoke generators. The large building smoke generators can be linked together to ensure all parts of large buildings are filled with smoke, which makes for easier diagnostics. When the building is pressurised, smoke is forced out through air leakage paths thereby providing conclusive evidence of areas requiring attention, it is essential that you have a competent person such as your Site/Project manager available to witness the test