Information for Builders. Air Tightness Consultancy is important.
Achieve commercial building airtightness contractually or for government regulations.
What Services does a builder need?
There is a lot more to airtightness than just testing. If a builder has a low air tightness permeability rate that they are targeting of at least 10 m3/h/m2@50Pa, the builder will need consultancy advice before and during construction.
It should be the goal of every builder to pass an airtightness test the first time every time, for a project that requires a particular leakage rate.
The best way to ensure you pass an airtightness test the first time, is to contact Efficiency Matrix. It will cost you nothing to call us, and one of our Principal Air Tightness Testing experts will assess your project and advise you on what services you require to minimise your risk. We empower your staff to be able to leverage off our experience. You may need to use less of our services in the future.
- It’s expensive to retrofit air tightness, it can cost TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS
- It’s a great learning experience to use our consultancy
What is an Airtightness Desktop Review?
An experienced Efficiency Matrix Principal consultant reviews your drawings and other information that may be provided and identifies potential risk areas, advising you on details, materials and any possible improvements. This service has saved some of our client’s tens of thousands of dollars.
The Desktop Review also includes the redline markup, which is crucial with respect to airtightness, to understand which walls make up part of the building envelope.
If you are unsure about the benefits of this service, give us a call, we are here to help, and it could save you thousands of dollars.
What is an Airtightness on-site Design Review/Workshop?
Our Principal Airtightness Testing Consultants will come to your site and have a meeting with your project team and main contractors. The on-site design review will determine how air testing has been incorporated into the design; we go over how responsibilities across details and interfaces are being allocated and nut out where improvements and cost savings could be realised to achieve the construction of a better performing building.
If you are not sure if you need this service, give us a call, we are here to help, and it could save you thousands of dollars.
What is an Air Tightness Site Advice Visit?
One of our experienced air tightness testing consultants will visit your site. We will review the design or as-built details and determine if the building is on course to pass its air test the first time or if remedial works are required to mitigate the potential of an air tightness test failure. We document all the locations of the issues around the building envelope, and we can also attribute what all the reported leakage would contribute to your leakage rate.
What is air tightness testing or blower door testing?
A highly trained, experienced and accredited Air Testing expert will come to your site with fully calibrated and certified blower door equipment. Efficiency Matrix are fully AIVAA accredited as Level 2 Testers, and we are founding members of the Australian Chapter Air Tightness Testing Measurement Association (ATTMA). Therefore we provide valid airtightness testing and ATTMA will accept your air test result for accumulating points for Greenstar . With an impressive number of air tests carried out Australia-wide, and the largest capable (we have over 20 blower door fans) air tightness tester working on some of Australia’s flagship projects, you can have confidence in Efficiency Matrix equipment, technicians, consultants and office staff. We aim to help you pass your air test the first time, on time and within budget.
If you are not sure when you need to call about Air Tightness Testing, it is never too early, so please call us and we can ensure you get the right advice at the right time.
Finding a qualified air tightness tester is important, it can save you tens of thousands of dollars.
Here are some questions you should be asking your air tightness tester:
1. What organisation is a tester accredited with?
Ask the tester the below questions, and feel confident, that they will be assisting you in understanding airtightness while also having the confidence that whatever testing is conducted that it will be accepted as part of satisfying your specifications
ATTMA, NEBB, Retrotec Training
What level of accreditation does the tester have?
- Level 1 ATTMA
- Can only conduct air tightness testing with 1 blower door on a building up to 4000 cubic metres only
- Level 2 ATTMA
- Multi-fan testing on large commercial buildings
- Level 3 ATTMA
- Multi-fan testing LCHR @ HVAC air tightness testing
- Level 1 Retrotec training
- Level 2 Retrotec training
- Level 3 Retrotec training
- NEBB Certification
- Have a minimum of four years experience
- Holds Associate degree or Bachelor of Science Engineering degree
- Demonstrate knowledge of building enclosure testing by passing NEBB BET online and practical exams
- There may be others…
Commercial air tightness testing must have at least Level 2 ATTMA certification or NEBB certification.
What types of buildings has the tester completed tests on?
Compare the size (surface area, or volume) of the building to your building.
What type of testing did they do on these buildings?
- Whole Building testing
- How much equipment do they have?
- Have they got enough equipment to test your building to your target leakage rate?
- Pressure neutralisation testing (Guarded Blower door testing)
- Compartment Testing Level 1 ATTMA Accredited testers cannot conduct compartment testing on large commercial buildings.
- How big was the area that was tested?
- If it was a tiny percentage, this experience should not be considered beneficial for the project.
Compartment testing is not a useful method of testing building performance, and it adds no value of experience to your project and your people. It should also never be accepted for a specification requirement. Compartment testing always looks leakier, because it is haemorrhaging leakage internal to the building envelope via ductwork, risers, etc.
What experience in consultation has the air tightness tester got?
Was there a target leakage rate of the building?
- Did they conduct a desktop review?
- Did they conduct workshops and a design review?
- Did they conduct regular detailed inspections, and supply reporting in time for the builder to organise remediations?
- Did the project come close to achieving their target?
What tools can your air tightness tester introduce to assist you in mitigating issues with the construction of your building?
- Smoke machine
- How much smoke can it produce?
- Smoke Pencil
- Other tools?
How quickly can an airtightness test be arranged?
If you require a specific test day contact Efficiency Matrix, we prefer to have 1 weeks notice before your airtightness test date. If you have fewer than 5 days to conduct your air test, contact us, and we will do our best to accommodate you with the date you require.
Our airtightness testers based in Melbourne Australia can usually arrange airtightness tests even with short notice. At times we have arranged airtightness tests within a day of receiving a call/email, ensuring that our clients achieve their hand over dates for practical completion. Please do contact us; the Efficiency Matrix team will do everything they can to meet our customers needs.
How long does it take to do an air tightness test?
Most air tests to residential units and simple commercial units are carried out in 45 – 60 minutes which may be extended if the test fails and leakage paths are investigated with smoke. Re-tests can be carried out at no extra charge if completed within an agreed time.
On smaller commercial buildings, which require only 1 commercial grade blower door fan, air tests usually take 1-2 hours if all temporary sealing has been done before starting the blower door test.
If a building is large or complicated, multiple blower door fans may be required to achieve the required pressure of 50Pa of induced pressure, so in these circumstances allow up to 6 hours for the test to be set up and conducted.
How and where is the air tightness test result reported and logged?
Initially, the air tightness test data is checked and verified by Efficiency Matrix onsite, it is verified for quality before a final result is announced on site. The client is sent a PDF version of the final air tightness test report, and the result is lodged to ATTMA, which can be accessed by clients.
Smoke Testing, Ultra-sonic, Thermal imaging?
Smoke generators or smoke pencils are used to help identify air leakage paths in the case of an air test failure.
Our highly trained and experienced air tightness testing consultants are capable of locating problem areas where air is leaking out of the building envelope by just walking around site without the use of any fancy gadget. With some tricky airtight enclosures a smoke pencil, smoke machine, ultrasonic device or even a thermography camera can be excellent tools in troubleshooting a building.
From our experience, we recommend the most useful troubleshooting tools for the job at hand. Efficiency Matrix can Pressurize a building while activating a high volume commercial grade smoke generator to do a full building smoke test. The smoke will cause no damage to the building. However, the building does need to be emptied of all occupants for Health and Safety. Efficiency Matrix also recommends that the Fire Brigade is informed to avoid unnecessary call outs. The smoke is a harmless food grade water-based monopropylene glycol.
Contact for more information on other troubleshooting methods…
Efficiency Matrix is accredited to perform air tightness testing to:
AS/NZS ISO 9972: Thermal Performance of buildings – determination of air permeability of buildings – fan pressurisation method
BS EN 13829: Thermal Performance of buildings – determination of air permeability of buildings – fan pressurisation method
Proud members of:
AIRAH (Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air-Conditioning and Heating)
AIVAA (Air Infiltration and Ventilation Association of Australia)
ATTMA (Air Tightness Testing & Measurement Association)