Lee Richardson carrying out a domestic air test result

Five Things To Know About Improving Your Air Test Result

Get a Pass Air Test Result First Time

As one of the last steps to be carried out before building control sign off on your project, air leakage testing is often a bit of an afterthought, especially if you’re under pressure to hand over. But getting an air test result that doesn’t meet your DAP will mean you have to re-do air testing, causing more delay.

Here’s what you should know about getting a pass air test result on new build houses first time:

1.    Dot and Dab Dry Lining Won’t Do

If you’re using a masonry construction, with dry lining, then it can be tempting to affix the plasterboard using the dot and dab technique. I see it all the time – the air test fails, but no-one knows where the leaks could be coming from. It often turns out that the plasterboard has been stuck up using dot and dab, which means that air is still pouring through the block walls and through the gaps left at the edges of the dry lining.

To sort this out, you should instruct your team to use a continuous ribbon of adhesive around the edge of the plasterboard, which reduces the air flow through the block wall.

2.    Your Skirting Boards Need Sealing Properly

If I had a pound for every time I saw an air test result fail for leaky skirting boards – well, I wouldn’t need to be an air testing engineer!

The lesson for your development? Pretty simple. Make sure the entry point for air, which is usually along and on the underside of the skirting board, is sealed. You can do this by applying mastic behind the skirting boards, and sealing your skirting boards above and below with mastic.

3.    Your Plumber Doesn’t Care if You Pass an Air Test, For the Most Part

Plumbers are sabotaging your air tests. It’s not deliberate fortunately, it’s just the sign of a rushed job.

Service penetrations in bathrooms and kitchens, and possibly even behind radiators, are often fed through a hole in the wall that is way bigger than necessary. Then the bath panel, kitchen cupboard, boxing in or radiator is put in front, and the hole is out of sight and out of mind.

By requiring plumbers to make good any service penetrations, even if they will be hidden from sight in the finished dwelling, you can vastly improve your air pressure test result and increase your chances of getting an air test certificate first time.

4.    Install Your Sockets and Switches Before the Air Test

It seems obvious, but I regularly get to site to find all the light fixtures, plug sockets and switches hanging off the wall. Then it’s a job for whoever’s about to come and fix them all on to get the air test to pass.

The air will flow through the holes left behind these fittings, and you can be sure that will have a negative impact on your air test result. So, before you book your test, ensure second fix electrics are complete – it’s definitely going to make a difference to your air leakage test.

5.    Windows and Doors Are Obvious – And Overlooked

Your windows and doors need to be properly fitted before an air test can be carried out. That means that the doors and windows seal tightly when they’re closed, and the seals have contact for the entire perimeter of the opening edge.

It also means that access doors, like internal doors to the garage and loft hatches, are air tight – and not temporarily sealed for the test! (Click here to find out what else can’t be temporarily sealed – you’d be surprised!)

Ask for Guidance if You Need It

Most of the above issues are easily prevented with a good standard of workmanship – but if you aren’t sure if you’ve done enough, or if you’re worried about how to achieve your Design Air Permeability on your SAP calculation, it’s best to ask for our input early on.

As I said above, I’ve been testing for years, and the rest of the consultancy team are experienced too. We’re here to provide help from design stage if you need it, and can even carry out early testing.

To find out more about how we can help you, or to book in an air test in your area, call our team on 0800 917 1471.


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