Sound Insulation Testing – Questions & Answers.

 Sound Insulation Testing – Questions & Answers.

APT sound testing often get asked a similar bunch of questions in regards to sound insulation testing. Over the last couple of years we have collated these questions and answers and to help our valued clients we have shown these below.

What is sound testing for Part E
Sound Insulation Testing is a method of quantifying the sound insulation performance of  walls and/or floors. Sound testing can be carried out on party walls, party floors or facades of any building.

What is sound insulation?
Sound insulation is the property of a wall and /or dividing partition to resist the passage of noise.

Why do I need sound testing on my Project/Property?
The largest single reason for disputes between neighbours is noise complaints. Approved Document Part E – Resistance to the passage of sound describes minimum standards to be achieved by newly built domestic dwellings.

What building regulation do we work to?

Approved Document Part E, sets out minimum standards for sound insulation performance to be achieved by party wall and party floors. Building contractors may show compliance with Part E of the Building Regulations by two methods. One method is to register plots to be built with Robust Standard Details Limited and the other is to show as-built performance by Pre-Completion Sound Testing to Part E of Building Regulations.

When are Pre-Completion Sound Tests carried out?
Pre completion Sound testing is carried out when the construction of party walls and floors are largely complete. Windows should be in place with any vents closable. Internal and external doors should be in place, along with skirting, cornicing and plug sockets in place. Sound testing on floors must be carried out before any soft coverings are in place.

 Do detached properties require sound testing for Part E of Building Regulations?

No, only attached properties require sound tests, detached properties share no common partitions with any other properties.

Are internal walls/floor between rooms within a single dwelling sound tested?
No, Laboratory test based performance standards (Rw) exist for certain internal walls and floors, but they are not intended to be verified as-built by on site measurement and therefore sound insulation testing is not a requirement.

How many sound tests are needed on my Project?

Approved Document E states that one set of sound tests is required for every 10 units in a group or sub-group. A group or sub-group is defined where significant differences in construction or layout occur, for instance:

  • For a pair of semi-detached Houses – a set of tests would usually comprise two airborne sound insulation tests of a separating wall.
  • For Flats (up to 10 units) – a six pack would normally be required, this comprises of: two airborne wall tests, two airborne floor tests and two impact floor sound tests. The easiest way to work out the number of tests required is to multiply 1 x 6 packs for every 10 flats, i.e. if you have 22 flats you will require 3 x 6 packs which equals 18 sound tests in total.
  • For Rooms for Residential Purposes (student accommodation, hotel rooms, care homes etc.) – a set of tests would usually comprise: one airborne sound insulation tests of a separating wall; one airborne sound insulation test of a separating floor; one impact sound transmission test of a separating floor.

How are plots selected for sound testing?
We will usually specify the sound insulation tests that are required. We first look at the plans then work a testing schedule taking into account testing through both the projects lounges & bedrooms where possible. We will also try and undertake testing across walls and floors in different areas of the building. The building control officer, warranty provider or other concerned parties may require you to carry out sound testing in specific areas or plots. However where this has not been stipulated we can advise accordingly. When we have specified the sound testing schedule it should always be checked by building control and/or the client to seek their approval before the commencement of testing.

How do I Preparing my Site for Sound Insulation Testing?

APT always send out a checklist with our fee proposals to help you prepare for the sound testing, as we always want our clients to be fully prepared so they can pass their sound testing at the first attempt.


Will the sound insulation testing disrupt work on site? 
There should be minimal site disruption during the sound insulation testing. However, although high levels of noise are generated but in order to make accurate test measurements, relatively quiet conditions are needed to take accurate measurements. This means that anyone working in the testing area will have to leave temporarily and any noisy works in the vicinity of the test rooms will need to be halted i.e. using power tools.

How long will the sound testing take?

The time taken for London sound testing varies with site conditions, but generally a ‘6 pack’ set of tests on houses and flats takes about one to two hours. Obviously this depends on the site being fully prepared in line with our sound testing checklist.

How do I know if I’m ready for a sound insulation test?
The plots should be at least at second fix stage – for further details please refer to our checklist.

Do I need all internal and external doors and windows installed?
Yes, all internal and external doors must be fitted and operable prior to the sound testing. Trickle vents must also be installed where required.

 What if I only have 110 volt on site?

Unfortunately we cannot undertake the testing; we will need 240V to undertake the sound insulation testing.

Should I inform my neighbours of the impending sound testing?
If the building is attached in any way to occupied properties then you will need to inform the neighbours. To comply with Part E we need to gain access to the neighbouring properties to undertake the sound test. You will need to ensure that access is provided to the neighbouring properties throughout the sound testing.

Can you offer advice to help me to pass my sound insulation testing?
We offer an acoustic design service to help you design your buildings partitions to pass Part E sound testing. If you send through the relevant drawings such as sections and plans during the design stages of the project, we can check the design to see if there are any junctions or details where ‘noise flanking’ may occur. You can then change your design to lower the chance of a sound test failure.

Do you have a check-list to help us prepare for the sound testing?
Yes, we have an informative checklist to help prepare for the testing, please visit our website at to download the checklist.

Is it easy to upgrade the sound insulation in my Existing Home?.

Yes of course. If excess noise is causing you stress and anxiety, in comparison upgrading the walls/floors to your existing property can be a worthwhile process. its normally quite easy to upgrade walls and floors/ceilings to lower sound transmission. Sometimes it can be as easy as installing an acoustically (insulated) backed board against the offending partition. In all instances it is important not only that the right products are used to cause minimal disruption but they are also fitted correctly in-line with manufacturer’s guidelines. .

Rest Assured

We believe in working with our clients whether they are existing home owners suffering acoustic problems or large developers requiring a more expansive service to achieve sound testing compliance. We believe that by being involved at the beginning of a project we can often save our clients expensive and difficult remedial works at the completion stage of a project.

If you would like more information on our full range of services please contact us now at or call us on 07775 623464


Planning Noise Survey Guidance

This guidance is to assist developers and consultants who are involved in  developments where planning permission is required and noise is a consideration and a noise survey for planning is a planning condition requirement .

At what stage will a noise survey and PPG24 report required?

A noise survey and PPG24 report may be required at the application stage or once planning.

permission has been granted. A noise survey and report are required if:

  • the proposed development with commercial areas that may create noise which may affect nearby noise sensitive properties. For example, a new commercial activity near existing residential properties.
  • the proposed development positioning will be sensitive to noise and is likely to be affected by existing noise sources i.e. busy roads, railway, airports or commercial activity.

What is the PPG24 noise report for?

The PPG24 noise report is to demonstrate that:

  • the source of noise is evaluated and quantified
  • nearby noise sensitive receptors identified
  • noise receptors have been determined with reference to noise standards

The PPG24 noise report (where required) will also set out control measures where it is necessary to reduce noise to acceptable levels. For example, the installation of different glazing e.g. from double to triple glazed panels or acoustic trickle vents are installed so that internal noise standards are met.

sound testing equipment

When should a PPG24 noise report be submitted?

A PPG24 noise survey and report should be submitted during pre-application discussions or

more commonly during a planning application. In some circumstances, a planning condition will be included on the planning permission requiring the submission of a noise report.

As noise surveys are usually carried out prior to completion of a development, compliance with any noise standards are demonstrated by calculation. However, the local authority may also request a post-completion noise survey to prove that noise standards have been achieved.

Who is suitably qualified to carry out noise assessments and provide a noise report?

A noise survey must be carried out by a suitably qualified acoustic consultant. APT Sound Testing is a UKAS accredited company and as such is deemed suitably qualified to undertake noise surveys for planning, we also have vast amount of experience and skill in dealing with PPG24 Noise Surveys for the planning applications for all types of developments throughout the United Kingdom.

If you would like more information on our PPG24 noise assessments or PPG24 Noise Surveys then please contact us at: or visit our website at:



In our experience its often the location and poor dwelling layouts that can cause sound testing failure. plays an important role in relation to the levels of subsequent ambient or background noise that surrounds the occupants. Loud  noise sources such as Roads with high traffic volumes, railway lines or airports or entertainment venues can provide a high level of ambient background noise, which may help to ‘mask’ the perceived noise that is being transmitted between dwellings.

Planning Room layouts and functions

Planning a good acoustically favorable dwelling layout can help to reduce the number of noise problems that will occur and help you pass Part E Sound Testing

Main ‘habitable’ rooms such as Kitchens or living rooms, which back onto bedrooms of the adjacent dwelling, are more likely to lead to noise complaints. Kitchen cupboards doors may transmit impact noise through to the bedroom next door through the dividing partition; this can lead to annoyance and frustration for the neighbor.

If neighbours have varied working patterns the layout and the use of rooms are particularly important. Complaints about noise may more often result when the living room of one dwelling is over a bedroom of another dwelling, for example.

Changes to the external building façade

APT have undertaken many façade sound tests to ISO 140 Part 5, in our experience many of the new buildings are struggling to achieve a rating of 40dB, which makes a mockery of Part E as you need to achieve 43dB and 45dB for sound testing on refurb and new build dwellings. Often simple upgrades such as the replacement of double to triple glazing can reduce the level of external noise (termed background noise) entering the dwelling. As such, there may be less background noise and neighbours may hear each other more easily.


Neighbour Relationships

Often the perceived quality of sound insulation may also be influenced by the relationship with their neighbor. If the relationship is amicable then the noise intrusion and the level of noise may be more acceptable than in situations where there is disagreement or hostility between neighbours. Noise issues may only become apparent when there is a change in the lifestyle or the neighbor adopts new work patterns, or when new neighbours move in. Even if the building has passed their dwelling sound test with good results, people may pick up noise in the early AM if neighbours are returning from their work shift.

New building works

Previous service works for water pipes, drainage and heating systems can influence the overall performance of a wall or floor, i.e. access may be needed the SVP pipes within the pipe boxing. During the works the acoustic lagging may be removed to get to the SVP pipe; unfortunately this may not be replaced after the works are complete. The subsequent sound of rushing water may then be audible. Also during other works ceilings such as lathe and plaster may have been removed and replaced by one layer of 12mm plasterboard, even though this is a new material, it may not have the mass of a 40mm lathe & plaster ceiling resulting in the increase of noise levels from the property above.

Surface material changes (carpet to timber)

In our experience one of the most common triggers for complaints is the change of room surface (e.g. from carpet to laminate flooring) treatments or materials. We have undertaken many sound tests on existing buildings where the occupier has changed from carpet to timber and/or tile. Without the applying the acoustic upgrades for this change in material this can typically lead to a 20dB reduction in insulation performance. This can lead to occupants below this floor changing their assessment of impact noise from “acceptable” to a level they may describe as “unacceptable”.

Past experience

People who have previously lived in detached houses and move into a flat or attached dwelling they may feel that the level of sound insulation is poor, however this may not be the case and the sound tests results may actually be quite good – well in excess of the minimum standards as set out in Part E of Building Regulations.

If you would like more information in regards to our acoustic and sound testing services, please contact us now at or visit our website at: