3.1901.2 Performance-Based Air Sealing of Dwelling Units and Corridors

Multifamily Compartmentalization Techniques
For supporting material, see Building America Solution Center.
Desired Outcome: 
Control of one or more of the following: building air leakage, stack effect, noise transmission, or improved indoor air quality

Conduct pre-inspection in accordance with SWS 2.0100.4 Work Area Inspection and Stabilization

Gaps, cracks, and holes in fire separations located within the work area will be visually identified and incorporated into air sealing work scope, including those that span two conditioned or unconditioned spaces

Where drawings are available that identify specific fire-resistance ratings (i.e., 1 hour, 2 hour), materials and methods will be employed to preserve or restore such rating

Where drawings are unavailable or do not identify specific fire-resistance ratings, the fire-resistance rating of the assembly may be inferred from the current construction (i.e., single 5/8 sheetrock, concrete masonry unit), and materials and methods employed will be consistent with restoring or preserving such inferred fire-resistance rating.

Work order repairs requiring access to dwelling units will be reviewed with all relevant authorities (e.g., building management, property management)

Access to work areas within dwelling units will be obtained

Repairs necessary to stabilize work areas and protect or preserve integrity of energy improvement will be completed before subject work begins

Provide a safe and stable work environment

Repair or address moisture, pest, and structure-related issues

Obtain access to units and work areas within dwelling units

Work coordination among trades

Work will be coordinated with all other trades performing work in compartmentalized spaces to schedule any required system wide test-out verification

Ensure system wide air sealing and pressure boundary benefits will be achieved


Health and safety concerns for occupants and workers, in relation to repairs and materials, will be addressed in accordance with OSHA OSHA U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, www.osha.gov standards ( OSHA OSHA U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, www.osha.gov 1926, 1910)

The area will be prepared and isolated in accordance with health and safety standards for the application and materials (e.g., extreme temperatures, lead, asbestos)

Work lighting, work platform, and adequate ventilation will be provided

Provide a safe work environment

Provide a safe indoor environmental quality (IEQ) in the work environment

Provide effective repair access

Identification of penetrations

Penetrations will be identified using visual inspections, infrared thermography, smoke, and/or pressure tests ( ASTM ASTM ASTM International, www.astm.org E1186-03 [2009])

Note: Work will preserve existing ventilation performance, including apartment door undercuts, where existing central ventilation design incorporates these undercuts as an intentional pathway from hallways to apartments

Establish baseline air leakage

Identify air leakage repair locations

Monitor repair progress

Preserve IEQ for occupants

Installation, sealant, and materials selection

Sealants and materials will be compatible with their intended surfaces and applied in accordance with manufacturer specifications

Selection will be durable, pest resistant, and have a weather-appropriate seal

Indoor sealants will be low volatile organic compound ( VOC VOC Volatile organic compound ) products that meet independent testing and verification protocols, such as Green Seal GS-36, "GREENGUARD Children and Schools," or comparable certifications

Fire-resistance-rated assemblies will be provided with sealants permitted by the authority having jurisdiction and adopted building code

Prevent intrusion of moisture and pests into the sealed assembly

Prevent exposing workers or occupants to excessive VOC VOC Volatile organic compound levels

Ensure sealant meets or exceeds the performance characteristics of the assembly and is compliant with local fire code requirements


Repairs will be verified by pressure tests consistent with the pre-inspection

Any pressure balance test-out verification will be performed after all work from all trades is completed

Ensure quality and effectiveness of air sealing

Meet performance specifications

Property manager/occupant education

Documentation of material and maintenance requirements will be provided to property manager/occupant, as appropriate

Properly maintain the system