MA: Completing a Total Leakage Duct Test

     If you have not been asked to complete a duct test by your local Massachusetts Inspector, it is just a matter of time before you are surprised by this additional code requirement.  Despite some push-back from city and town Inspectors, all of MA is required to test new or altered duct systems - with varying enforcement, and held to various degrees of leakage rates.  All of MA adopted the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) back in 2010.  Some cities and towns wished to be eligible for the available funding from the Green Communities Act, and voted to adopt a Stretch Code - known to most contractors as the more stringent regulation.  It pays to know which towns you are working in, and their permit structure, to avoid losing what could amount to be a significant part of your profit on these jobs.
     If you are working in most of the cities and towns across the state, you are able to complete your own "Total Leakage Duct Test". If the town adopted the Stretch Code, third-party testing by a RESNET Certified HERS Rater will be required.  This means that even if you went and got your certification, you could not test your own jobs in these towns anyhow.  Don't worry though, a HERS Rater is needed to rate the home or addition, and their testing is not exclusive to your duct system.  This means a rating is needed when a Building Permit is pulled, a change to a structural wall.  In other words, if the testing does not fail due to your duct system, the general contractor will be paying for this rating.  For all other cities and towns across MA, you can complete your own testing and no certification is needed.  In fact, there are no certifying bodies for duct testing that I am aware of.  Many organizations like BPI or RESNET will offer training, but no certification.
     Anyhow, take a look at the attached document I created, I think it will help those that are just becoming involved with Duct Testing in MA.  Also, please share your experiences with the local city and town requirements by commenting below - nobody likes to be surprised!

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