I'm interested to know if the State you live in requires Blower door testing of the residential building envelope on new construction?
Here in Washington State the Code official in the jurisdiction has the right to require third party testing but none do so.
As a consequence of that situation the insulation contractors are usually chosen to perform the blower door testing at Final inspection and there is no system of verification in place.
It is not my intent to imply wrong doing with this process but in my opinion this is not a good arrangement. The insulation contractor runs the risk of losing future jobs when blower door tests fail at Final inspection.
The State of California requires third party testing by a HERS rater and anyone under contract otherwise is not allowed to submit test results. This to me seems like a logical arrangement.
We create these code requirements to provide for a better/safer future then give them no teeth in implementation.
If your jurisdiction requires third party testing I would love to know about it. I could use some feed back as grist for the mill when submitting for this code change before our State Building Code Council.
Most of the states I know that require testing allow HERS Raters, those with BPI certifications (though they never teach duct testing except for 1 class) and those that go through a DET certifier course (HVAC / Builders / Insulation companies / etc..) to do the testing.
Is having an individual that has a vested interest in the result the best choice? Might not be depending on that company but in many cases they also can see what they can improve. Along those lines just because you have a third party, that doesn't mean they might not fudge the numbers also. The best one I have heard of is an inspection office in our area that has the equipment & spot checks the results - if you are off they can quite simply say, no more
As for the insulation component - unless they are fully responsible for air sealing (which actually every trade should be) they shouldn't really lose any jobs for a failed result.
Thanks for your reply. As for duct testing I reluctantly admit that the better scenario from a cost perspective is to have the installer provide testing results. I don't like that but with regard to practicality it probably makes the most sense since they're already there. What I'm referring to is envelope testing. The insulation installers must come back anyway to conduct the blower door test. We all want to see the best results from the testing and having someone under contract for additional services is not, in my opinion the best case scenario. The State of California has had third party testing rq'd since 2004 ( I think). They explain their rqmt in their Title 24 of their energy code.
Let's say that as per your suggestion the insulation installers are on the hook for sealing measures (which they are not in WA.. that task is completed by a separate entity) What is the solution for a failed test at Final? Will they then dismantle the interior to seal ( for instance) penetrations between conditioned space and the garage? Tear off siding to further seal the rim joist? Remove attic insulation to increase attic sealing? or...........simply state that the project passed. Remember, there is no verification system in place to come back in after homeowners have moved in. Lastly, would you please further explain the motivation a third party tester would have for fudging the numbers? Thanks much.