During the second half of 2014, industry and government have worked towards a rationalisation of the airtightness testing industry in the UK. This was driven principally by the intention, in England & Wales, to formally recognise registering organisations through the DCLG ‘Competent Persons Scheme’. In support of this, a Minimum Technical Competence document and a suite of National Occupational Standards to support the defined function of airtightness tester were developed. With the other UK administrations, the Scottish Government Building Standards Division was involved in this process.
Guidance to standard 6.2 notes that “Testing should be carried out by persons who can demonstrate relevant, recognised expertise in measuring the air permeability of buildings. This should include membership of a professional organisation which accredits its members as competent to test and confirm the results of testing”. As part of this process, to maintain the recognition of registering organisations which previously existed, it was agreed that an organisation that has already demonstrated it meets the provisions within the published MTC and applies the UK NOS in the assessment, training and management of their tester members would be recognised in Scotland as such a professional organisation without the need for further evidence or action on that organisation’s part.
Industry changes from 31 December 2014
Previously, there were two recognised industry schemes operated by ATTMA and BINDT.
As of 31 December 2014, the BINDT scheme was closed. From 1 January 2015, recognition of competence of air tightness testers will be on the basis of their registering organisation implementing requirements for Minimum Technical Competency and application of the new UK NOS for ATT. As identified in the UK NOS (ASTATT3), the basic category of tester under any such new registration scheme now covers testing of both dwellings and simple non-domestic buildings (volume < 4,000 m³).
Each registering organisation will publish and maintain a list of current individuals/organisations registered to undertake air tightness testing and the categories of buildings they are registered to test. These organisations will be listed below in relation to airtightness testing of buildings in Scotland in relation to section 6 (energy) of the building regulations.
Who can test? Current registrations schemes implementing the MTC and NOS
Note: as a transitional measure, testers who hold a current BINDT registration may continue to test and report on new dwellings only until the expiry date of that registration. Verifiers may accept dwelling tests on this basis. Details of BINDT registered testers and their registration expiry dates may be accessed on the BINDT website.
Testing can also be carried out by an organisation accredited by United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) against the international standard ISO/IEC 17025:2005 as able to undertake building air leakage tests as a site activity. Where not part of a registration scheme, a verifier should only accept a test if they have first satisfied themselves that the party in question meets the provisions set out within the MTC and NOS by other means.