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The Importance of Air Tightness Testing in Modular Homes

Modular homes remain something of a novelty in the UK, but as the government and private sector look for ways to tackle the national housing shortage, modular designs are receiving more attention than ever.

Indeed, the UK housing minister, Esther McVey, wants the UK to be a leader in modular home design “within 10 years”. McVey believes the UK can supercede Germany and Japan, who are the established world leaders in the field.

Speaking at Mipim UK in October 2019, McVey said the objective should have “safety, quality and choice, and precision at its heart”.

What are the advantages of modular designs?

Aside from being considerably more affordable to build than regular houses, modular home firms place a heavy emphasis on energy efficiency.

For example, Liverpool-based Ideal Modular Homes says its “Our Home” range could cut residents energy bills by 50%.

Ideal Modular Homes’ boss, Luke Barnes, says the homes can be manufactured in just four days, meet London minimum space requirements, and can be adapted for disabled and older residents.

What role does air tightness play?

As with any energy efficient building, air tightness testing plays a critical part in the modular housing puzzle.

Barnes said, “Superior air tightness, better insulation and greater thermal values [mean an] Our Home property will keep costs down, cutting annual expenditure on energy bills by more than 50%.”

Indeed, air tightness is fundamental to preventing the escape of heat. Ideal’s modular homes are not built to the Passivhaus standard – arguably the strictest energy efficient building code – but if they were, they would need to be up to 14 times more airtight than current UK building regulations demand.

As the UK looks for new ways to meet energy efficiency targets and, more importantly, provide quality housing to its citizens, relatively new trends such as the Passivhaus building code and modular housing are likely to offer some solutions.

But whichever building codes and construction methods are used to tackle the UK’s housing shortage, rigorous air tightness testing services will remain at the heart of all future developments.

Need professional air tightness testing services?

Here at Air Tightness Testing Ltd. we work alongside all stakeholders, including government departments, housing associations, architects and developers, to ensure air tightness standards are met.

Get in touch to discuss your needs.

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We are registered with iATS (Independent AirTightness Testing Scheme) and use equipment calibrated by UKAS laboratories. Our testing procedures are also recognised by UKAS.