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Taking a Proactive Approach to Airtightness Testing

Airtightness testing on site.

The key part to an airtightness strategy is to know how the building is predicted to perform by considering all the building elements at the design stage. A virtual predictive airtightness model of the building, based on the actual building fabric, is an essential tool to enable you to accurately track the airtightness target as the building evolves. All buildings have an air permeability target, whether that be to satisfy the requirements of Building Regulations or more stringent requirements set by the client e.g. the Passivhaus Standard.


Conducting airtightness testing on buildings early in the construction process offers technical and commercial benefits by identifying and addressing risks that can significantly impact both short-term and long-term outcomes. Airtightness testing, often referred to as blower door testing, involves measuring the volume of air leakage in and out of a building. By prioritising this assessment early in the construction phase, contractors and architects can help ensure that the project’s energy efficiency and sustainability requirements are met and potentially exceeded.


One of the primary advantages of conducting airtightness testing early is the ability to identify and address potential issues before they become costly to rectify. Airtightness is a crucial factor in achieving energy efficiency, as a building with excessive air leakage can lead to increased energy consumption for heating and cooling. By testing for airtightness early on, construction teams can pinpoint areas of concern, such as poorly sealed windows, doors, or gaps in the building envelope. Addressing these issues promptly not only contributes to enhanced energy performance but also prevents the need for costly retrofits later in the construction process.


The adage of "pass and test less, fail and test more" underscores the importance of setting rigorous airtightness standards. This means that achieving a passing grade in airtightness testing should be challenging, encouraging builders to prioritise and optimise airtightness from the outset. This principle shifts the focus from merely meeting minimum requirements to exceeding them, ensuring that buildings are constructed with the highest standards of energy efficiency, such as ATTMA standards.


Incorporating airtightness testing early in the construction process aligns with the broader goals of sustainable building practices. Reduced air leakage translates to lower energy consumption, contributing to a smaller carbon footprint. Energy-efficient buildings not only benefit the environment but also result in lower utility costs for occupants, making them more attractive and economically viable in the long run.


In conclusion, the benefits of conducting airtightness testing on buildings early in the construction process are numerous and far-reaching. If you have a challenging airtightness target in your latest projects, Henriksen Studio’s proven systems and track record will ensure you give your project the best chance of achieving the targets you require, even in the most complex buildings. Contact us to find out more today.

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