Room Integrity Testing

Optimising Energy Efficiency

An Integrity test predicts how long fire suppressant agents take to descend to a given level in the room without having to release the gas itself.

This is done by sealing the room and testing the air pressure in the room – with our door fan equipment.

First the room is pressurised, readings taken, then afterwards to check those measurements the room is depressurised to take measurements to compare. The predicted retention time is calculated from these leakage characteristics and the enclosure and extinguishing system data.

A retention time of 10 minutes is the normal minimum period the suppressant agents are required to be retained for. Ten minutes is long enough for most deep-seated fires to be cooled so that re-ignition is unlikely. All room integrity tests conform to the guidelines set out in BS5306 and NFPA2001. It is applicable to all sizes of enclosure and all extinguishing gases, including IG55, IG541, FM200, FE25, HFC 227ea, FE25, Novec 1230 and CO2. After initial installation, integrity tests should be carried out at least annually thereafter.

Why test for air tightness

A development of one dwelling ‘must’ be tested as it will not be possible to obtain comparative data on the quality of construction from similar dwellings.

Alternatively, for any single dwelling or number of dwellings, where a default design value of 15m3/h.m2 @ 50 Pa is stated in demonstrating compliance under standard 6.1, testing need not be carried out. If the dwelling has an Air Permeability rating over 10m³/h/m² at 50pa in Scotland then the property will fail the test, due to significant uncontrolled air leakage. This leakage can result in:

  • Unwanted heat loss
  • Discomfort for occupants (cold homes)
  • Increase heating bills
  • Greater C02 emissions

Testing should be in accordance with BS EN 13829: 2001 – ‘Thermal performance of buildings – determination of air permeability of buildings – fan pressurization method’ http://shop.bsigroup.com/. Practical advice on procedure for pressure testing is given in the ATTMA publication ‘Measuring Air Permeability of Building Envelopes’ http://www.attma.org/

Stuart King

Architecture

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Testing

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