Ventilation testing

How Has Ventilation Testing been affected by Approved Document F?

How Has Ventilation Testing been affected by Approved Document F?

What is Approved Document F?

Approved Document F specifically applies to a building’s ventilation and indoor air quality. This statutory guidance document dictates that adequate ventilation must be provided to guard against internal moisture build-up that could adversely impact the property’s structure. If not addressed, condensation and poor indoor airflow can affect the long-term health and wellbeing of residents.

In this post, we’ll consider some of the impacts the new legislation will have on Ventilation Testing and how Eecobuild can help.

What is Ventilation Testing?

Ventilation testing and ventilation commissioning are actually two different things. Testing refers to extractor fans like you would find in a toilet, bathroom or kitchen. These are tested to see how much air they extract.

Commissioning refers to more complicated ventilation systems, such as Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery (MVHR). These need to be balanced, to make sure the correct amount of air is either being extracted from or supplied to every room in the house.

The tests must be undertaken using UKAS calibrated equipment and should be conducted by an engineer registered with a competent scheme. As such, Eecobuild engineers have successfully completed the BPEC Domestic Ventilation course and all of our equipment is fully UKAS calibrated.

As part of our service at Eecobuild, we offer our expertise from the very start of any project to give your property the best chance of passing.

What is changing in Approved Document Part F?

Given the tightened targets for air permeability, there is a greater emphasis on proper ventilation installation and choosing the correct method to achieve the required air changes to maintain air quality. Of course, there is more to the legislation changes than this, but this is the most significant amendment.

What are the new ventilation targets?

Within Part F, it is now specified that for buildings with an air tightness score of 3 or below, there is a requirement for continuous mechanical ventilation which can be centralised or decentralised. You can view our blog on changes to Part L (Conservation of fuel and power)

Targets to airflow rates have not been changed. Instead, the regulations have been simplified as it has been shown that a large proportion of new dwellings were failing due to ignorance or misinterpretation of Part F.

Air Tightness testing affected by Government Building Regulation updates

Air Tightness testing affected by Government Building Regulation updates

On 15th December 2021, the government published their updated Building Regulations for England, which included amendments to Approved Document F (Ventilation) and Approved Document L (Conservation of fuel and power), as well as the release of a new approved document for Overheating (Part O).

Here, we’ll take a look at how the changes to Part L, in particular, affect one of our services – Air Tightness Testing.

When will the changes to Approved Document L affect Air Tightness Testing?

The new Approved Document L becomes mandatory from 15 June 2022. A grace period will apply for older, previously agreed planning permissions until 15 June 2023.

SAP Testing

How will Air Tightness Testing be affected through Approved Document L?

Approved Document L (Conservation of fuel and power) for England will impact Air Tightness Testing profoundly. The updates signal a move towards greater energy efficiency in new buildings.

The new Approved Document L has made air tightness testing simpler, to some extent. England has, to the best of our knowledge, become the first country in the world to enforce mandatory air tightness testing for every house and apartment. This removes the tricky and complex rules for sampling.

Eecobuild and other air tightness testers will be busy come June 2022! The newly approved document highlights the requirement for an airtightness test to be undertaken on every single dwelling. Buildings that are not dwellings (including extensions that are being treated as new buildings to comply with Part L) must also be pressure tested – some exemptions will apply here.

Originally calibration of testing equipment was required every 12 months, however, Airtightness Testers can now choose to recalibrate according to the manufacturer’s guidance. It is still recommended that recalibration is completed at least every 24 months.

What is ESOS?

What is ESOS?

One of the methods in moving towards a carbon zero 2050 adopted by the current UK government has been to create energy-saving schemes for households and businesses, such as the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS).

What is ESOS?

The ESOS is a mandatory energy assessment scheme for large organisations in the UK. It was introduced as a part of the government’s response to Article 8 of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) – a common framework of measures for increasing energy efficiency within the European Union back in 2012.

SAP Testing
SAP Testing

Who does ESOS apply to and when is the next compliance period?

For the qualification date for the third compliance period (31 December 2022), a large undertaking is any UK company that either:

employs 250 or more people has an annual turnover in excess of £44 million, and an annual balance sheet total in excess of £38 million

If the business meets this threshold but is fully covered by ISO 50001 then you don’t need an ESOS assessment. However, if you’re not covered then you will need an ESOS assessment. The assessment establishes what’s needed to comply with ESOS regulations.

ESOS Assessment Process

1. Calculate your total energy consumption

This is the energy used by assets held or activities carried out by your organisation or group. This includes the energy consumed by buildings, industrial processes and transport. To find out how to calculate your total energy consumption, read the full guidance on complying with ESOS.

2. Identify your areas of significant energy consumption

This is the energy used by assets held, or activities carried out, by your organisation that account for at least 90% of your total energy consumption. You then need to:

  1. Find out whether ISO 50001, DECs or GDAs cover any of your areas of significant energy consumption.
  2. Identify whether ESOS compliant energy audits have been, or need to be, carried out for the areas of significant energy consumption not covered by ISO 50001, DECs or GDAs.

As long as 90% of your total energy consumption is covered, you can use a mix of approaches with some of your energy consumption covered by ISO 50001 – some by DECs or GDAs and some by ESOS energy audits.

3. Appoint a lead assessor

You need to appoint a lead assessor to carry out and oversee or review your energy audits and overall ESOS assessment. Lead assessors can be employees or external contractors as long as they are members of an approved professional body register.

If you want to become a lead assessor you have to be (or become) a member of an approved professional body register. Individuals cannot apply directly to the Environment Agency to be approved.

Professional bodies can submit registers of their members for approval for them to act as ESOS lead assessors.

4. Notify the Environment Agency

You need to submit your ESOS notification of compliance to the Environment Agency when you have undertaken an ESOS assessment and are compliant with your obligations. Use the online notification system to do this.

You do not need to log in to the system or create an account to submit your notification details. There is no charge for submitting your ESOS notification.

You can start your notification whenever you’re ready. You can also partially complete your notification and save it for submitting later. The system will send you an email with a link to use to resume. Do not lose this email otherwise, you’ll have to start again. As long as you have the email the saved information will not disappear or expire. You can return to it at any time.

5. Keep records

You need to keep records of how you have complied with ESOS in an evidence pack. There is no set format for this.

Keep in mind that organisations that qualify for ESOS must carry out ESOS assessments every 4 years. These assessments are audits of the energy used by their buildings, industrial processes and transport to identify cost-effective, energy-saving measures.