Airtight, not completely airtight, not airtight at all. How (in)tolerant is the legal definition of flaw? Observations on the legal assessment of “structural tolerance” and possible related misunderstandings

Purpose of the work

When it comes to evaluating the quality of building work, technical and legal perspectives often clash. This is probably particularly true when it comes to evaluating the airtightness of building envelopes. This presentation is an attempt at clearing up frequent misunderstandings and at formulating questions that would help to combine the technical and legal ways of assessing quality in the most practical manner possible.

Method of approach

19 January 2021 - Upcoming Webinar "Building airtightness improvements of the building stock"

TightVent Europe and the Air Infiltration and Ventilation Centre are organizing the webinar "Building airtightness improvements of the building stock - Analysis of European databases" to be held on Tuesday January 19th, 2021 at 10:00-11:15 (CET).  The webinar aims at presenting three major European databases (in the UK, Flanders and France) and also at comparing their structures and their measurement data acquisition protocols. Weaknesses and strengths in the different aspects of the existing database setups will be identified.


Critical steps for a wide scale implementation of building and ductwork airtightness

This ebook, produced by TightVent Europe, includes a number of publications from the Intelligent Energy Europe programme and its predecessor, namely from the ASIEPI project, SAVE-AIRWAYS, and SAVE-DUCT projects.

Building and ductwork airtightness: Selected papers from the REHVA special journal issue on ‘airtightness’

The 2002 Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) already indicated the potential importance of airtightness. With the 2010 EPBD recast and its ambitious 2020 targets, there is even more pressure on these aspects since for most European climates and countries, good envelope and ductwork airtightness levels are necessary to achieve nearly zero-energy buildings.

Refined assessment and comparison of airtightness measurement of indoor chambers using the blower door and Pulse methods

Previous studies have compared the airtightness measurement of test enclosures utilising both the novel Pulse technique and the conventional blower door method.  Discrepancies between results of the two test methods were observed and it was concluded that differences either caused by wind or blower door installation integrity would have had an impact upon the results.

Evaluation of indoor pressure distributions in a detached house using the Pulse airtightness measurement technique

Building airtightness is a critical aspect for energy-efficient buildings as energy performance of a building can be reduced significantly by poor airtightness. The Pulse technique has been regarded as a promising technology, which measures the building airtightness at a low pressure of 4Pa by rapidly releasing a 1.5-second pulse of air from a pressurised vessel into the test building and thereby creating an instant pressure rise that quickly reaches a “quasi-steady” condition. However, questions have often been asked on the test viability due to the nature of the test.

Insights into the impact of wind on the Pulse airtightness test in a UK dwelling

Requirements for measuring the building airtightness have been proposed and included by many countries for national regulations or energy-efficient programs to address the negative effect of poor airtightness on building energy performance, durability and indoor environment. The methods for measuring building airtightness have continuously improved and evolved over a number of years.

Designing a model-scale experiment to evaluate the impact of steady wind on building air leakage measurements

Since the 1970s, many authors have discussed the impact of poor airtightness on building energy use, indoor air quality, building damage, or noise transmission. Nowadays, because poor airtightness affects significantly the energy performance of buildings, and even more significantly with low-energy targets, many countries include requirements for building airtightness in their national regulations or energy-efficiency programs. Building pressurization tests are increasingly used for compliance checks to energy performance requirements and may result in severe penalties.