Air tightness - residential
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Free guide specification for air tightness testing

The Air Infiltration and Ventilation Association of Australia (AIVAA) has published a free guide specification for air tightness testing.

It is intended to be used by projects with a defined target for air tightness and testing, to verify it has been met. The guide specification is appropriate for residential or simple buildings.

SUHO ESD Consultant Jessica Allen, Pro Clima Australia Building Scientist Jesse Clarke and Technical Manager Sean Maxwell, and Air Leakage Measurement Australia Director Andrew Champness were all involved in the project.

Allen says the group felt there was a gap in the industry that prompted them to work on the guide.

“We wanted to make it easy for architects, consultants and builders to specify air tightness and keep the instructions clear and simple,” she says.

Clarke says standardisation is important for compliance and to expedite industry learning.

“If designers, installers and trades all get used to seeing the same information specified in the same way, it makes it easier to understand what is being asked of them,” he says.

“Although this is not an enforceable standard specification, it will hopefully act to encourage common wording and prevent misinterpretation or incorrect specification.”

Clarke has seen cases of incorrectly specified air tightness benchmarks before. It has meant good intentions to have a post-construction validation test have been lost due to a lack of a clear benchmark, missing units of measurement and/or no test method stated – making it impossible to know what the intent was.

The aim is to get people using the guide as a part of their architectural documentation. Allen compares it to a floor plan or lighting specification.

Clarke says in energy efficiency, the insulation R-value, window u-Values and solar heat gain coefficients are indicated on the plans or architectural documentation.

“The air barrier system (red line), assemblies (e.g. wall sections with red line) and product requirement should also be designated, along with the test procedure and the expected performance outcome, to deliver the design intent.”

an example of a specification for air tightness and air tightness testing on a residential project:
An example of a specification for air tightness and air tightness testing on a residential project

AIVAA is accepting comments and suggestions on their guide specification via email.

The next focus will be to develop specifications for defence, multi-residential buildings, commercial buildings and Green Star.

Click here to access AIVAA’s air tightness test guide specification – residential

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