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Airtightness testing
DWTC One Central.jpg

The high temperature and humidity resulted in growth of using full HVAC systems mechanism for most residential and commercial buildings. With the past several studies done by the experts and academicians, it is found that 70-80% of building energy consumption for the building would be due to use of the air conditioning of the building.

The building envelope itself is a very complex system. Lack of airtight building envelope would eventually increase the demand of energy to “cool” the building. The leaky buildings are also prone to moisture intrusion.

 Under this service, building envelope or an enclosure contained within the building are tested to measure the air leakage through the building façade. 


The enclosures are tested strictly in accordance with the required standards & specifications, of which the following are the most common:

  1. CIBSI TM-23

  2. ISO9972 (EN13829)

  3. ASTM E-779-10

  4. USACE

  5. LEED IEQp2 Environmental for ETS (tobacco smoke control)

Local regulations:

Dubai green building regulations

Dubai Green Building regulations section 501.05 states that,

“All new air conditioned buildings with a cooling load of 1 megawatt (MW) or greater must be tested to demonstrate that air leakage does not exceed ten (10) cubic metres of air per hour for each square metre of building envelope (10m3/hr/m²) into or out of the building, at an applied pressure difference of fifty (50) Pascal (Pa).

 Testing must be carried out in accordance with a method approved by Dubai Municipality (DM).”

EHS- Trakhees

Demonstrate a maximum leakage of 0.23 cubic feet per minute per square foot (1.17 liters per second per square meter) at 50 Pa of enclosure (i.e., all surfaces enclosing the apartment, including exterior and party walls, floors, and ceilings).

Buildingdoctor DMCC is a leading independent airtightness testing service provider in the UAE. The team was involved in many prestigious and iconic projects in UAE such as Louvre Abu Dhabi,Mohammed Bin Rashid library, EXPO 2020, Dubai.

Airtightness Regulations in United Arab Emirates
Temporary refuge test (TR testing)

Air leakage and associated risk to TR


The TR provides protection from credible fire and explosion scenarios and has some sealing function to prevent excessive air outflow and ingress of toxic smoke and gases. In the event of smoke detection, the TR heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) dampers are designed to automatically close, leaving the TR as a sealed unit. In practice, it is not possible to achieve complete air-tightness and various leakage paths exist in the TR fabric through which contaminants can enter. The leakage paths in the shut-down TR can be classified as either purpose provided such as openings for ventilation, doors, windows or unintentional such as leaks, or mere leakages because of errors in design, construction malpractices and degradation as the structure ages.

Temporary refuge is required to prove a defined performance standard in the event of any major mishap on offshore platform. This includes integrity of TR façade from preventing ingress of toxic gaseous elements such as CO2, CO, H2S, NOx, SO2 and so on.

One of the most dangerous and challenging gas is hydrogen sulphide (H2S). Since the gas is heavier than air, it tends to accumulate at low-lying area. Even at low concentrations, H2S can affect the eyes as well as the respiratory tract. The gas is extremely poisonous and, at concentrations over 1000 ppm, people die immediately. And hence, in the event of H2S contamination, fresh air is drawn from higher levels and it is passes through the filters and then it is pressed into TR compartment.


Buildingdoctor team provides training as well as service of TR integrity testing in the Middle East and Africa region.

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Field air leakage measurement through installed doors and windows

Excessive air leakage is one of the major sources of energy loss, poor indoor air quality, low occupant comfort, noise pollution, and enhanced risk of moisture damage which seriously compromises the buildings ability to achieve the owner’s expectations of efficiency, affordability, durability and occupant comfort.

The in-site air leakage test for the installed doors and windows are performed to compare the actual performance of these units to laboratory test results. The main objective behind performing this test is to measure air leakage associated with the assembly.  Testing a sample of new units being installed ensures that the products and assemblies meet design specifications and the installations were completed in a detailed manner to prevent air and water leakage.

To perform this test, a temporary chamber is constructed around the window/ door to create natural environmental conditions that induce air leakage. With a calibrated fan, air is supplied or exhausted until desired differential pressure is achieved. Once the desired pressure achieved, airflow across the test chamber (through the fan) is measured with a manometer.

Buildingdoctor facade consultancy team provides expertise for performing mock-up tests. The team is well equipped with necessary equipment, tools and software to perform the test in accordance with relevant standard.

Reference standards:

  1. ASTM E783-02 (2010) - Standard Test Method for Field Measurement of Air Leakage Through Installed Exterior Windows and Doors

  2. AAMA 503: voluntary Specification for Field Testing of Newly Installed Storefronts, Curtain Walls, and Sloped Glazing Systems

  3. AAMA 502: Voluntary Specification for Field Testing of Newly Installed Fenestration Products.

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