Why EPS Group?
Our in house team of Technicians have have been testing commercial buildings since 2007.
We have experience in testing all forms of commercial building, from small offices to large factories and industrial units.
We provide instant results onsite and certificates the same day.
We’ll work with you, not against you.
Commercial air tightness testing, also known as commercial air pressure testing, of non-domestic buildings is a requirement of Part L2A of the current Building Regulations. It is intended to prevent air leakage in buildings which is the uncontrolled flow of air through gaps and cracks in a building fabric, also known as infiltration or draughts.
Most new build non-domestic buildings will now require a commercial air tightness test, as will large extensions to existing buildings.
In the UK, the approved procedure for air tightness testing, or air pressure testing, commercial buildings is ATTMA TSL2, which is based on BS EN 13829:2001 ‘Thermal Performance of Buildings – Determination of Air Permeability of buildings – Fan pressurisation method’.
Part L2A of the Building Regulations requires that any building undergoing a commercial air tightness test, or commercial air pressure test, must achieve an air Permeability Result of less than or equal to 10m3/h/m2 at a pressure differential of 50 pascals.
There are many benefits to an airtight building, such as:
- Lower heating costs
- Lower carbon emissions
- Smaller requirement for Heating and Ventilation systems (HVAC)
- Better comfort for occupants
Research has shown that poor air tightness can be responsible for up to 40% of heat loss from buildings and also effect comfort levels for building occupants, hence the requirement for a test.
Organisations that provide commercial air tightness testing services should be registered as part of an approved testing scheme, such as the Air Tightness Testing & Measurement Association (ATTMA) or the Independent Air Tightness Testing Scheme (iATS).
EPS Group are members of the iATS Air Tightness Testing Scheme and are therefore able to guarantee that our Air Test Certificates will be accepted by all Building Control Bodies, no matter where you are based within the country.
Commercial Air Tightness Testing – The Process
Air tightness testing for commercial buildings is undertaken by means of a fan pressurisation or depressurisation technique. In the UK this is measured at a pressure differential of 50 pascals between the internal and external environment.
In order to achieve this, UKAS calibrated blower door fans are temporarily placed within the the ‘building envelope’ to provide the required flow. In commercial buildings personnel doors are generally selected as the most suitable location, with 1 – 2 blower door fans placed in each door.
Due to the size and complexity of commercial buildings, the client generally assumes the responsibility of preparing the building for air tightness testing by following our simple checklist.
Some of our clients prefer EPS Group to undertake the building preparation prior to a commercial air tightness test. If this is a service that you require please notify us when requesting a quotation.
One of our team will take measurements of the building from the architectural plans prior to the test which allows us to determine the building envelope area. This is an essential stage of the air tightness testing process as the building envelope area is one of the main parameters that the result is based upon. The measurements will be verified onsite by our Technician on the day of the air test to ensure that they are correct.
All heating and ventilation systems should be switched off prior to a commercial air tightness test and all internal doors to conditioned spaces should be open. Lift doors should be closed but not sealed.
Several environmental readings such as temperature, barometric pressure and wind speed are also recorded before and after the commercial air tightness test to ensure that conditions are suitable.
During the test, readings are taken at several pressure differentials, which must include 50 pascals. The process of running a commercial air tightness test generally takes around 20 – 30 minutes and results are available instantly.
EPS Group generally allow 2-4 hours to complete each commercial air tightness test, meaning there should have plenty of time to address any unexpected problems that may arise.
Common Areas of Leakage identified during Commercial Air Tightness Tests
The image shows a sample of the common air leakage areas within commercial buildings or non dwellings, however this is not exhaustive.
There are several key principles for constructing an airtight building:
- Identify the air barrier at an early stage of design
- Refer to airtightness in all contracts which may impact the air barrier
- Highlight the importance of the air tightness barrier to project teams
- Select Airtight components
- Check interfaces between components
- Ensure all site workers are aware of the importance of the air barrier
- Complete regular checks on the air barrier throughout construction
- Ensure that all works are complete prior to the final test
If you have any concerns prior to a commercial air tightness test, our technicians will be more than happy to discuss them.
We are also able to offer a mid-construction commercial air tightness testing service, which can eliminate problems at an early stage through the use of smoke tests or thermal imaging.
EPS Group provide an air leakage diagnostic service, which can be particularly useful when used in conjunction with a commercial air tightness test.
Sometimes it can be difficult to locate areas of air infiltration within commercial buildings due to their size and complexity.
Thermal image cameras, smoke pens and smoke machines can be used alongside our air pressure testing equipment to quickly and efficiently identify areas of air leakage, and offer advice on cost effective solutions.
Smoke Pens – Used to identify all types of leakage. Whilst a simple tool, they are still one of the most widely used and one of the most effective.
Thermal Imaging – Used to identify all types of leakage when environmental conditions are suitable. Proving there is an adequate temperature differential between the internal and external environment, thermal image cameras are an ideal way of both identifying and recording gaps in the air barrier.
Smoke Machines – Used to identify large or high level leakage. Can be used under positive and negative building pressure and are particularly useful when trying to identify leakage at high levels or within areas that are difficult to access.
With EPS Group you can be confident in the advice that we provide.
EPS Group – The Full Package
In addition to commercial air tightness testing EPS Group can also provide SBEM Calculations and On Construction Energy Performance Certificates, meaning your part L compliance can all be dealt with under one roof.
Using EPS Group for all Part L services can be particularly helpful if you are having difficulty achieving the required air permeability result. It may be that our SBEM Assessors can suggest a more cost effective alternative to undertaking further airtightness tests.
EPS Group are able to provide the following services:
With EPS Group you can be confident that you are working with a fully accredited consultancy for Air Pressure Testing.