How Long will a typical smoke shaft air test take?

A very common questions we get asked is ‘what’s the duration of a typical smoke shaft air test‘. This is quite a difficult question to answer as it can vary based on factors such as the size of the building, the complexity of the smoke shaft system, and the testing methodology. However, I’ll try to provide a general estimate:

  1. Small Buildings or Single Shafts: For smaller buildings with a single smoke shaft, the test may take 1 to 2 hours. This assumes straightforward access and minimal complications.
  2. Larger Buildings or Multiple Shafts: In larger buildings, or those with multiple smoke shafts, testing can take a bit longer. Expect 2 to 4 hours or more, depending on the scope.
  3. Preparation and Setup: Setting up the equipment, sealing openings, and ensuring safety precautions add to the overall time.  Allow additional time for safety checks and coordination.
  4. Air Testing Process: The actual air testing involves pressurising the shaft and measuring air leakage. The time spent on this step depends on the shaft’s size and complexity.
  5. Reporting and Documentation: After testing, data analysis, reporting, and documentation take additional time. This includes recording results, identifying any issues, and recommending corrective actions.
  6. Failed Air Test – If the shaft fails the test, a combined thermal imaging and smoke air leakage test can be undertaken, and a report collated. The time required to collate the report, varies depending on the size of the shaft and the amount of air leakage paths identified.
  7. Remedial Work (if required): If the shaft fails the test, remedial work inside the shaft may be necessary. The time required for repairs or improvements varies depending on the amount of remedial works required and the ease of access to undertake the works as well as the size of the shaft – a shaft constructed over 6 floors will be much quicker to seal than a shaft that runs over 20 floors!.

Remember that accuracy and thoroughness are essential during smoke shaft testing. It’s crucial to follow established procedures and prioritize safety. Consult with experts to determine the specific duration for your building’s smoke shaft air test.



Our pathway to a smoke shaft air test pass!

Our experienced engineers at Air Pressure Testing have over 10 years in the field of smoke shaft testing, so we know how to help clients to pass their testing and achieve smoke shaft signoff. As a UKAS and ATTMA level 2 accredited company, you can be sure of the highest quality service and reportage.

This is our usual roadmap to a smoke shaft air testing pass:

  • Site visit to undertake air leakage survey to smoke shaft 
  • Air tightness test to your smoke shaft
  • Smoke testing in the event of a smoke shaft test failure
  • Thermal Imaging in the event of a smoke shaft test failure
  • Air tightness test pass for your smoke shaft


Air Pressure Testing Ltd boasts a client base from one of self-builders to the largest construction companies in the UK. We offering leading design, consultancy and compliance for every part of your project, at all stages. It’s APT’s aim to provide a friendly and professional stress-free experience for all your smoke shaft air testing requirements.

For more information call Darren on 07775623464 or email us at