Tag Archives: IVIA

Building Services News Celebrates 50 years of Continuously Serving the Industry!

Joe and Pat

Joe and Pat

Right from the outset Building Services News has been an integral part of Ireland’s building services industry and not just a magazine serving the sector. Publisher and Editor Pat Lehane sits on the executive of most of the industry professional and trade representative bodies and the journal has been instrumental in the establishment of many of these organisations.

In addition, Building Services News plays a major role in promoting and facilitating cross-over activity between these bodies, and provides secretariat support and accommodation addresses for many. It also guides and champions many industry causes, coordinating joint activities into lobbying and petitioning groups to act on behalf of the industry as a whole, not to mention how it helps finding the best tarpaulin material for industries to work with.

Building Services News provides the industry with saturation coverage of the building services sector. It is available in three formats – the print edition which is posted directly to individually-named industry personnel; the web edition, which is freely available to all; and the Facebook page, which is inter-linked with the web edition.

To all of you participating with us in this celebratory golden anniversary edition we say thank you. A small number of you have been dealing with the publication since day one, while many others have been trading partners for a considerable number of years. Of course there are also those of you who have joined us in recent years. In marking the occasion our collective vision should, and is, on the future.

In perusing the archives spanning 50 years we now realise how lucky we are to be part of such a vibrant, dynamic industry sector. In the early days the role of building services was perhaps under-rated by society in general.

Today, that has changed. Rising energy costs, a demand for more comfortable home and working environments, and a genuine sense of social responsibility in respect of the environment has put building services centre stage. What an opportunity – the future for the industry is bright and secure!

However, commercial success is only part of the story. The building services sector is also very much about people, and about a work/social interactive balance. We have been lucky to have made many friends down through the years. Sadly, some of them are no longer with us.

We dedicate this issue to their memory.

Air is Free … Uncontrolled Air is Not!

Mark Shirley

As a building service professional one of the most important aspects of your job is to design, specify and oversee/install air handling systems that are fit for purpose and that, over the whole life of the building, offer building owners and occupants the certainty of adequate amounts of controlled fresh air that is heated or cooled as required. As you can understand this process is much more complicated than just to buy air conditioner.

If the detail that you put into all aspects of the installation are asked to function outside an optimum operating environment then much of the hard work that has been done is for nought. Hence, if there’s any valuable lesson to be learnt from this, then it’s to lay out the plans for one’s house carefully. House remodelling services like the ones at Terra Inc Construction forge plans that are foolproof. Even worse, an acknowledged top-quality system that has to work against its environment could significantly have its lifespan and energy efficiency reduced.

The benefits therefore of the air handling system will either be significantly reduced or simply will not work, regardless of what remediation is attempted. This can lead to much strife between the designer, the installer and the client who, despite going to “professionals”, feels cheated that the system does not work. More often than not the client has to resort to legal proceedings to get the system fixed and/or to seek recompense.

In order for the system that you are responsible for designing/installing to work properly, the building has to be either reasonably or very airtight. And this fact has to be taken into consideration right before you even acquire the blueprint from places like www.mysiteplan.com/. The continuous airtight layer has to be formed during construction by either a combination of bespoke materials (tapes, membranes, cuffs etc) or an expertly-installed plastered layer. How the layer is formed varies from project to project, construction materials, building types and intended usage, but any building can be constructed to be airtight (ie, to have controlled ventilation).

Achieving significantly-improved levels of airtightness is much less difficult than commonly expected and, from experience, most construction companies will rise to the task very quickly once they realise that something as simple as greater attention to detail will make big improvements.

The best and most practical way to ensure an adequate level of airtightness is achieved is to have it specified as part of the build process. Ideally, a couple of air leakage tests should be done by an independent testing professional – both during the construction and on final completion – to verify that the airtight layer as per specified in the design has been achieved. The purpose of testing it during the build is to identify any weak points which can be quickly, and much less expensively, addressed than when the building is finished.

Air leakage testing provides an empirical outcome about how well the building’s envelope has been constructed and, put simply, if the envelope is not achieving the required specification then it is leaking! The good news is that leaks can be easily located by an experienced professional using specialised equipment, and the cracks and/or gaps fixed to eliminate the problem.

The procedures and reporting outcomes are standardised and qualified, experienced professionals – who have all the necessary equipment and testers – are now available locally throughout the country. Established best practice parameters have been formulated over a number of years using data collected from literally thousands of air leakage tests on all types of construction.

Further detail and guidance can be found by referring to the following:

– IS EN13829;

– 2008 Irish Building Regulations

Conservation of Fuel & Energy – Buildings other than Dwellings Section1.2.5.4;

– CIBSE TM23:2000;


– BRE.

Another very useful reference document is a publication titled: Department of Education & Skills August 2011 – Information on air-tightness & Building Thermographic Surveys in schools for use only on 2011- 2012 Rapid Developing Areas Schools Programme.

It is vitally important that the various professionals involved in the airtightness and related sectors of building services access this information, refer to it, and strive to achieve what is regarded as best practice.

Is it n50 or q50? — Air leakage is typically described in Ireland using two terms – n50 and q50. The n50 is how the air permeability rate is expressed in air changes per hour (ac/h). It is the relationship between the total volumes of air in m3 and how often leaks in the building envelope allow the air to exchange at 50 Pascals air pressure. This is often the reference value used by ventilation manufacturers/ installers.

The q50 is an expression of the amount of air leaked from the building envelope in relation to the total exposed area (ie, the sum of the area of the floor, roof and all external wall areas) per building and is expressed as m3 h m2. The air permeability rate (q50) is the reference value used in Irish Building Regulations.

Uncontrolled air movement — All penetrations through the external envelope of the building have to be addressed to prevent uncontrolled air movement or air leakage as this can result in:

(1) Heat/cooling loss through holes in the building fabric;

(2) Increased CO₂ emissions due to unnecessary fossil fuel heating being used to compensate for heat loss or excessive cooling;

(3) Discomfort to users of the building because of draughts;

(4) Potential damage to the building fabric where cold and warm air meet in an uncontrolled fashion. Over time this can lead to a build up of moisture which causes rotting of timbers/ construction materials and mould growth with unhealthy spores being released.

Buildings in excess of 1 million m3 have been tested using a number of testing fans linked to one master control unit and, in a recent test, a warehouse of this size tested to almost Passive House standard of 0.6 ac/h. The consequential comfort levels generated, and the reduction in wasted energy costs by having a controlled environment, far outweigh the initial investment in making the building airtight.

Airtightness of any building, either new or existing, is a very achievable goal but is a multi-disciplinary task that requires design, installation and testing.

IVIA Market Survey


The Irish Ventilation Industry Association (IVIA) recently conducted a market survey among members to determine the size of the various market segments which fall within the sector. Approximately 80% of the industry participants completed the survey and, as we went to press, the results were being circulated.

Subsequent to the survey findings being collated, an IVIA delegation met with representatives from the Building Standards Section of the Department of the Environment, Heritage & Local Government (DEHLG) to convey to them the survey findings.

IVIA is also working very closely with the DEHLG to ensure that its forthcoming Installation Commissioning Certificate will mirror and reinforce the key issues in relation to ventilation regulation compliance.

As with the vast bulk of industry representative bodies, this is all voluntary so well done all concerned.

See www.ivia.ie/ for more information