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Frequently asked Questions

 

Airtightness FAQ’s

What is airtightness testing?
What is Air Leakage?
What qualifications are required by testing organisations in order to carry out airtightness testing on commercial and residential buildings?
BET are Accredited by INAB to carry out testing to ISO 17025, what does this mean?
What is the difference between ISO Accreditation and NSAI Certification?
What specification should I choose on my building?
What qualifications are required to fully comply with the ATTMA?
 

Thermography Frequently asked Questions

What can a thermographic survey do for you?
What is a level 1 thermographer qualified to do?
What is a level 2 thermographer qualified to do?
What is a level 3 thermographer qualified to do?

Airtightness FAQ’s

What is airtightness testing?

A building that complies with recommended levels of air leakage has a guaranteed performance.

An air leakage test is carried out after the external fabric has been completed to confirm (or otherwise) that the building achieves the minimum air leakage standards set by the buildings designers.

The continuity of the air barrier is fully tested and any areas of failure can be identified. This allows any remedial work necessary to be carried out before retest.

Air leakage measurement on a new building is really the end of the process in ensuring a high performance low leakage envelope.

It follows work at the design stage to ensure continuity of the air barrier around openings and at all joints in the building fabric.

During construction, quality control must be maintained so that the design details are reproduced on site.

Finally the building is tested to confirm that the specified standards have been achieved.

What is Air Leakage?

Air Leakage (or infiltration) is the flow of outside air into and out of a building.It is not planned by the designers and is due to imperfections in the building ‘envelope’ (or outer skin).

It will typically take place through:

  • joints, gaps and cracks in the construction
  • gaps created where the structure penetrates the outer skin of the building
  • cracks around door and window openings
  • gaps where services enter the building

Air leakage will have detrimental effects on the buildings thermal performance, comfort levels and energy efficiency.

What qualifications are required by testing organisations in order to carry out airtightness testing on commercial and residential buildings?

Test As Per: INAB ISO 17025 NSAI All Others/No Qualifications
Non-certified testing (Note non-certified testing can be carried out for sample tests for information ONLY)
Compliant with SEAI Requirements to be used in Residential  BER  
Compliant with  Part L (Residential)  
Compliant with Part L (Non Domestic)    
Fully Compliant Per ATTMA TSL 2 2010 (Commercial)    
Fully Compliant with ATTMA TSL1 2010 ( Residential)    
Fully Compliant with CIBSE TM 23    
Fully Compliant with DoES TGDS    

 

BET are Accredited by INAB to carry out testing to ISO 17025, what does this mean?

BET are accredited as a testing laboratory by INAB (the Irish National Accreditation Board) The term accreditation is often misunderstood, often by those who claim ‘to be accredited’ without having any understanding of what it really means!

Accreditation is only awarded in Ireland by INAB and requires a company to operate and maintain an ISO compliant quality management system. The process of gaining accreditation is not for the light hearted and involves the development and practice of many technical and managerial procedures to ensure complete traceability and quality of the test results. Our quality management system covers all aspects of our testing activities including calibration and maintenance of equipment, training of staff and the way that we deal with contracts and our customers.

The importance of providing a technically excellent service to our clients has always been at the center of what we do and the need for us to establish complete traceability was a clear company objective from the very beginning.

An accredited company has been assessed against internationally recognised standards to demonstrate competence, impartiality and performance capability. This process is continuous to ensure that high standards of quality are always maintained.

Using an accredited company gives you and your clients the confidence and traceability necessary in the environment of today’s construction industry.

Specifying a test becomes more straight forward if you simply specify that an INAB accredited specialist with a proven track record is required to carry out the airtightness test.

What is the difference between ISO Accreditation and NSAI Certification?

ISO Accreditation to 17025  is the highest standard achievable for an Airtightness Testing Organisation. NSAI certification is a certifies a testing organization to test in compliance with I.S. EN 13829 ONLY. ISO Accreditation enables the testing organization to fully comply with the aforementioned I.S. EN 13829, CIBSE TM 23 and ATTMA TS1 &  TS2. A testing organization cannot test in full compliance with the ATTMA unless they have achieved Accreditation to ISO 17025. Second page of ATTMA TS1 & TS2 states:

“For a testing organisation to show full compliance with this standard, they should have suitable third party monitoring systems in place. This is demonstrated by either holding building air leakage testing UKAS accreditation (INAB Equivalent) for organisations in line with BS ISO:17025:2005”

In conclusion NSAI certification enables organisations to become certified to test in accordance with I.S. EN 13829 only, ISO Accreditation enable organisations certify the actual building in accordance with I.S. EN 13829, CIBSE TM 23 and ATTMA TSL1 &  TSL2.

 

What specification should I choose on my building?

The recommended airtightness specification for your building depends on its type and use. By good design, attention to detail and good levels of quality control on site 10 m3/(hr.m²) for commercial buildings and 7 m3/(hr.m²)   should be achieved with minimal or no additional expense. In other words if we do what we’re supposed to be doing anyway! The ATTMA offer guidance on best practice and good practice guidelines, BET have written specifications for some of Irelands leading architectutal, service engineering firms, developers and government organisations. If you require an airtightness specification for your project please contact us to request access to our downloads page.


What qualifications are required to fully comply with the ATTMA?

For a testing organisation to show full compliance with ATTMA, they are required to be ISO Accredited to 17025 and therefore they should have suitable third party monitoring systems in place.

BET are accredited as a testing laboratory by INAB (the Irish National Accreditation Board).

Accreditation is only awarded in Ireland by INAB and requires a company to operate and maintain an ISO compliant quality management system. The process of gaining accreditation is not for the light hearted and involves the development and practice of many technical and managerial procedures to ensure complete traceability and quality of the test results. Our quality management system covers all aspects of our testing activities including calibration and maintenance of equipment, training of staff and the way that we deal with contracts and our customers.

Thermography Frequently asked Questions


What can a thermographic survey do for you?

Thermographic surveys can be conducted to identify cold bridging, discontinuity in or sub standard levels of insulation. Thermographic photography can also be useful in identifying air leakage paths when more cost effective methods (tracer smoke) cannot be used.

BETs’ thermographraphic engineer is Level III qualified and uses camera equipment recognised as the highest quality available.

Thermography requires a high level of skill, experience and training to conducting surveys effectively and interpret images correctly.

The standard of the camera used is also critical. Certain conditions must exist if thermographic observations are to give an accurate view of air leakage and thermal bridging in the building fabric.

What is a level 1 thermographer qualified to do?

This is the industry standard for thermographer’s. It is the basic level, and certification is seen as acceptance that the operator can use a camera and perform basic analysis. A level 1 Thermographer should be working under the guidance of someone certified at a higher level, and he should be following procedures prepared by a Level 3. He should be told which measurement technique that he should be following. Level 1′s are able to collect data, take images and understand how to reduce potential errors. Sometimes they are limited to taking images and restricted from writing reports. In other cases they will only work qualitatively. A Level 1 thermographer should have received 32 hours of training, and should have 400 hours of documented experience over a 12 month period. He is NOT permitted to carry out a building survey in accordance with BREEAM. Under the PCN scheme a level 1 thermography certification is “general”, meaning there is no specialisation.


What is a level 2 thermographer qualified to do?

A level 2 thermographer is someone with a higher degree of training and experience. He understands more about the camera and how it works, and the physics related to thermography. Level 2 thermographer’s are better placed to specify thermography equipment, and to supervise level 1 thermographer’s. Like Level 1 thermographers, Level 2′s should be following procedures developed by a Level 3. Usually they are able to perform and direct IR thermography according to established procedures. They are able to select the correct measuring technique for themselves, they can write reports, and can work quantitively. A Level 2 thermographer should have received an additional 32 hours of training, and should have 1200 hours of documented experience over a 24 month period. Under BREEAM a level 2 PCN certified civil thermographer is permitted to carryout thermography on a building. PCN certification at Level 2 introduces specialisation, so thermographer’s may be certified as Level 2 electrical, Level 2 mechanical, or Level 2 civil. Thermographer’s may have more than one area of specialisation.


What is a level 3 thermographer qualified to do?

Level 3 thermographers undertake the highest level of thermography and enjoy the most freedom. Since they develop the procedures, they are free to develop new ones as and when required. They usually understand more about the laws of physics as they relate to thermography. Level 3′s often get involved with machine prognostics and get involved with preventing problems from re-occuring at the highest level through recommending thermodynamic corrective actions. He is able to perform and direct all types of thermodynamic measurements, and analysis. Level 3′s are qualified to establish thermography programmes, determine acceptance or failure criteria, intrepet codes and standards, perform prognostics. They are also usually familiar with other test methods and can recommend supplimentary tests. A Level 3 thermographer should have received an additional 32 hours of training, and should have 1920 hours of documented experience over a 48 month period. A PCN Level 3 thermographer in civil applications is permitted to carry out a survey for as part of BREEAM. Under PCN thermographers may be certified as Level 3 electrical, Level 3 mechanical, or Level 3 civil. Thermographers certified under the PCN scheme may  have more than one area of specialisation.