The British Board of Agrément (BBA) is preparing for the arrival of super-sized, super-stringent test equipment which goes beyond the climatic extremes to challenge the performance of externally applied wall systems.

The leading, independent product accreditation and test body has invested in a bespoke environmental chamber – capable of sending temperatures soaring to 70°C and plummeting to -20°C to put domestic and commercial wall systems under one of the most onerous test conditions.

Measuring 3m in width and 2.8m high, the chamber increases the BBA’s capacity to carry out a wide range of hygrothermal tests – thermal cycling with water spray – designed to simulate and accelerate the most extreme conditions a wall system can expect in service.

The results and report can be used as part of a BBA Certification assessment or European Technical Assessment (ETA), leading to an estimate of durability on various externally applied wall systems including external wall insulation, render systems and prefabricated wall panels.

Stuart Sadler, Head of Test at BBA, said: “We’re delighted BBA has invested in this equipment to enable us to double our capacity for this type of testing so we can continue to deliver excellent levels of service to our customers.”

As well as being subjected to extreme temperatures, exterior wall systems are subjected to the environmental chamber’s powerful water spray feature to ensure systems meet the requirements of the following Standards:

  • MOAT 22 UEAtc Directive for the Assessment of External Insulation Systems for Walls (Expanded Polystyrene Insulation Faced with a Thin Rendering).
  • ETAG 004 Guideline for European Technical Approval of External Thermal Insulation Composite Systems (ETICS) with Rendering.
  • ETAG 017 Guideline for European Technical Approval of VETURE Kits – Prefabricated Units for External Wall Insulation.
  • Draft EN 16383 – Thermal insulation products for building applications. Determination of the hygrothermal behavior of external thermal insulation composite systems with renders (ETICS).
  • BBA specification for park homes.

To complement its investment and in keeping with the robust nature of its assessment, inspection and test services operations, BBA has also expanded its capabilities to carry out complimentary tests for weathertightness, dynamic wind loading and small scale testing in accordance with the above Standards.

Construction of the new chamber is already underway. It is estimated it will be commissioned and available for use in June 2016.

The latest, state-of-the-art addition to BBA’s renowned test facilities is part of its ongoing programme of work and investment to maintain high service levels and improve turnaround times.