What is air tightness testing?
Air tightness is a very important consideration in all climate regions and a majority of countries globally, now mandate minimum performance levels. Find out why it should be a priority for your building.
Source: Australian Building Codes Board, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyR3Xm9TzCg&app=desktop. General information only.
All buildings unintentionally leak air, in and out. Air tightness testing identifies the amount of leakage that occurs and offers the opportunity to minimise it. The higher the air tightness level, the less unwanted infiltration will occur.
Poor design, substandard construction, unsuitable building methods and materials can lead to high volumes of unwanted air infiltration breaching the building’s fabric. These unwanted air pathways should be kept to a minimum.
What does air infiltration affect?
- the durability of the building;
- the occupant comfort;
- the indoor air quality;
- the occurrence of mould and;
- the amount of energy consumed to heat or cool the building.
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how air tightness testing is done
Accredited air tightness testing using blower doors is the preferred method of determining if the building meets the standards once constructed.
- A building is tested under pressure to establish just how much air is being lost through those unwanted gaps and spaces.
- The external envelope is sealed by closing all external doors and windows and other unwanted openings such as chimneys, fresh air intakes etc.
- Using a specialised fan in an airtight shroud, a clever piece of electrical diagnostics in the form of a manometer and a computer program to interpret the results, the fan is used to create different pressures within the building and air flows recorded.
- Comparisons between what flow occurs at each pressure and what flow should be occurring, gives a final result that informs the tester how many times the building will lose its entire internal air volume per
hour or how many cubic metres of air will be lost every hour through the all the external walls, floor and ceiling.
- Where possible, rectification to improve the tightness is undertaken and a re-test scheduled.
The figures show:
- How well the building is constructed;
- How tight the building envelope is; and
- How good the building will be at keeping the internal conditions stable in the building.
let's talk about your project
Some very simple guidelines:
- It’s never too early to consider air tightness and its impacts on a project.
- Irrespective of the building type, use or form, all buildings have the same challenges when trying to provide a stable environment internally.
- Engage a professional early to get the most economical and effective result.
- Test twice, once during construction and once at the end of construction.
- Ensure your tester is qualified , accredited and testing to an international standard.
Alistair Coulstock - Action Sustainability Asia Pacific Pty Ltd
patrick campbell - HUTCHINSON BUILDERS
Vanquish by Solair Properties
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Address: 88 Kallioota Street, Greenbank Q4124
Phone: 0413 934 546 or 0452 458 923