The government has released its response to the Future Homes Standard consultation for England, which proposed new versions of Part L and Part F of the Building Regulations to be introduced in 2021.

This includes changes to the airtightness testing requirements  within Part L to improve the as built performance gap and encourage appropriate ventilation based on airtightness levels.

The accepted proposals include:

  • Introduce a lower limit of 3m³/(h.m²) in both as design and as-built SAP assessments for naturally ventilated dwellings.
  • Government will not add a percentage or standard level of uncertainty to airtightness test results.
  • All new dwellings should be airtightness tested, including small developments – no more sample testing regimes.
  • Pulse testing will be introduced as an alternative approved airtightness testing method.
  • Government will adopt an independent approved airtightness testing methodology, which will be CIBSE TM23.

Pulse now an approved method of measuring airtightness!

Currently, the approved method of performing airtightness testing is the blower door method. The consultation sought views on introducing the Pulse test as an alternative approved airtightness testing methodology.

Respondents to the consultation, including local authorities, competent persons schemes, manufacturers and those in the energy sector, agreed with this proposal and commented that innovative technologies should be encouraged. Respondents from the builder / developer sector noted that Pulse tests are easier to perform, which means that more could be done in one day and to a lower cost. iATS will be looking at Pulse in more detail and intended to provide more information including training courses on the use of Pulse later in the year.

Acting iATS Coordinator Jason Hewins comments: “We are delighted to finally see the response to the FHS consultation which has been long overdue. Our first observations are that the Government are intent on deliver really meaningful new standards as quickly as possible. Certainly it is very much aligned with our official response. We will of course digest the information and let our members know the detail, but initially it seems to be good news for airtightness testers. It certainly appears that Government wish to get the new regulations implemented in 2021. Which comes as no surprise as we head to the COP in Glasgow in November. We fully support the meaningful step towards 2025. We must all work together to ensure that the timelines are achievable for all stakeholders. Looks like 2021 will be a very busy and exciting year for our members.”

Read the consultation in full

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