Subscribe to our Newsletter

Air Barrier Association of America (ABAA)

The Center of Excellence for the Air Barrier Industry

Information for Design Professionals

An air barrier system is a system of building assemblies within the building enclosure—designed, installed and integrated in such a manner as to stop the uncontrolled flow of air into and out of the building enclosure.

Why use an air barrier system?

  • Reduces building enclosure moisture problems
  • Improves indoor air quality
  • Reduces building heating and cooling costs
  • Reduces greenhouse gas production
  • Improves acoustical isolation
  • Isolates the indoor environment
  • Results in sustainable, durable buildings

Keep in mind that:

  • Agencies of the US Government require them on federally funded building projects.
  • Several states now include air barrier requirements in their building codes.
  • The US Department of Energy has stated that up to 40% of the energy used to heat and cool a building is due to uncontrolled air leakage.
  • The US Department of Energy has instituted a program with a goal to reduce building energy consumption by 25% by the year 2010 and by 50% by the year 2020.

Education for Design Professionals

To view Education for Design Professionals, please click here.

Air Barrier Materials

Air barrier materials are defined by their air permeance. To be defined as a air barrier material the air permeance must be equal to or less than 0.02L/(s•m2) @ 75Pa (0.004 cfm/ft2  @ 1.57 psf) when tested in accordance with ASTM E2178. Keep in mind that air permeance is the amount of air that migrates through materials and not through holes or gaps.

The ASTM E2178 has provisions to test rigid materials, flexible materials and fluid applied materials. When flexible materials are tested, a screen is used to provide support. When fluid applied materials are tested, CMU is used to provide a rough substrate.

Air Barrier Construction Design Details

View our list of ABAA Evaluated Air Barrier Assemblies that have completed a ASTM E2357 Standard Test Method for Determining Air Leakage of Air Barrier Assemblies. This test combines the primary air barrier material with supporting air barrier accessories such as transition membranes and sealants to form a complete air barrier assembly, identical to how a wall would be designed and built in your construction project.

For each air barrier assembly listing, you will find air barrier construction design details from the manufacturer which you can download and use in your project design. Click here to download these design details.

A number of general details were developed when the State of Massachusetts adopted air barriers in their current energy code. The details provide a number of wall systems and provides general guidance into some of the design considerations:

Want to learn more about air barriers, their use in construction, cost benefits and design guidelines ? Check out our technical library and air barrier materials page.

ABAA Air Barrier Master Specifications

Please click here for ABAA Air Barrier Master Specifications

ABAA Quality Assurance Program

The ABAA Quality Assurance Program was developed specifically for the professional building enclosure community. The program consists of 9 components all working together to provide you with the highest level of confidence that the air barrier will be installed correctly and to high industry standards. ABAA's QAP is modeled after the standards laid out in the ISO 9000 program.

Learn more about the ABAA Quality Assurance program

Why Specify the ABAA Quality Assurance Program?

The ABAA on-site quality assurance program is a comprehensive program to increase the level of quality on your opaque air barrier wall installation. Learn about the benefits of specifying the ABAA QAP program and how you can do it !

How do I Specify the ABAA QAP?

We always recommend design professionals using our Division 7 air barrier master specifications for the project but if the design professional has a generic air barrier specification already written, simply reference that the Air Barrier Contractor needs to be ABAA-Accredited and the Installer needs to be ABAA-Certified. Particularly, if you add Section 1.3 line B (Quality Assurance Program (QAP), line I (Air Barrier Subcontractor Qualifications) or line N (Field Quality Assurance), you will ensure that you will receive the ABAA QAP and its benefits including, Accredited Air Barrier Contractor, Certified Installers and third-party audits.

What are Costs for the ABAA QAP?

There are upfront one-time costs for a project that is specified with the ABAA QAP.

Since we have Auditors that inspect every job, those costs of the inspections are added into the Air Barrier Contractors bid price. The cost of each audit is $2000 and the number of audits is dependent on how many the design professional specifies. The scale on the number of audits that ABAA recommends can be found in Section 3 of all of our master specifications or on this document.

We also charge $0.085 per square foot of ABAA-QAP specified projects which assists in funding the association's day-to-day management and marketing of its QAP and members to the design community.

The General Contractor needs to ensure that the awarded contract is awarded to a ABAA-Accredited Contractor because if it isn't, the costs factored into the bid may not be comparable from a ABAA-Accredited Contractor and a non ABAA-Accredited Contractor.

Search for Members

Need to find an accredited ABAA contractor in your area? Looking for a manufacturer or distributor of a specific product? Design Professionals with experience in air barriers across the country? Use our online search tool to locate someone closest to you.

Upcoming Events

Workshops, Symposiums, Training and ABAA University.

Browse through the ABAA upcoming events

Interested in becoming a member of ABAA. ABAA provides a number of benefits to design professionals.


Get more information on joining ABAA