Remedial action following a sound insulation test failure

Remedial action following a sound insulation test failure

If a partition fails a sound insulation test, it can be difficult to provide definitive guidance on resolving specific problems that have occurred in individual buildings as the building is usually complete at the time of testing. However, using our knowledge of acoustic construction and detailing APT Sound Testing are usually able to identify and resolve any problems with the acoustic partitions.

ACOUSTIC_DESIGN

If the sound testing failure is attributed to the construction of the separating and/or associated flanking elements, other rooms that have not been tested as part of the testing schedule may also fail to meet the test performance levels. Additional tests may be needed, over and above the number recommended under Building Regulations Part E.

Extra sound testing will assist in identifying, at an early stage, where the failures have been caused by intermittent poor workmanship and/or design. Sound Testing may then be required for all plots to identify the ones that require remedial treatment. Where failure is due to a design fault, additional testing may not be required, as all plots with the same design are likely to require remedial treatment and so a generic acoustic upgrade can be undertaken to the failed partitions and then retested thereafter.

sound testing

To try and negate potential problems with the sound insulation testing we offer the following 4 step acoustic design advice package:

  1. Site Survey Visits – to let us view the existing site construction. This allows us to check for potential problematic construction detailing and also lets us check that the installation teams are installing the acoustic materials as per manufacturer’s guidelines.
  2. Sample Sound Testing – of the existing construction. This offers an accurate overview of the acoustic performance of the existing partitions.
  3. Design Review – a full design review of the proposed developments party walls and floors.
  4. Pre-completion Sound Testing to satisfy Approved Document E.

APT Sound Testing can supply a ‘one stop’ solution for all your acoustic requirements. If you would like more information in regards to sound insulation testing or acoustic design please contact us at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk  or call Darren direct on 07775623464.

Sound Test Report Information

Sound Test Report Information

All our testing and reportage are undertaken in strict accordance with Annexe B of Approved Document E of the Building Regulations and BS EN ISO 140-4:1998 “Field measurements of airborne sound insulation between rooms” and BS EN ISO 140-7:1998 “Field measurements of impact sound insulation of floors.”

Acoustic_Design_Service

After the sound insulation test a sound test report or certificate should be provided in compliance with Building Regulations Part E. This normally provides the following information:

  1. The company name and/or testers name and address that carried out the test and the accreditation held by the membership organisation.
  2. The client/applicant name.
  3. Site address.
  4. Plots tested
  5. If it was a wall or floor test.
  6. List of equipment used (including details on calibrated equipment) and testing technique.
  7. Confirmation that the test was in accordance with BS EN ISO 140 Part 4 (airborne) and Part 7 (impact).
  8. Measurement procedure.
  9. The results should be calculated in accordance with BS EN ISO 717-1 and 717-2 1997. Detailed test results giving a declaration of a pass or fail.
  10. Date of test. The test results or certificates will be submitted to the verifier during the completion certificate process.

The test duration depends on the amount of sound insulation tests required on the project. Taking into account standard site conditions a set of two airborne wall tests (for a pair of houses) will take one to two hours. A six pack of tests on flats, consisting of two airborne walls, two airborne floor and two impact tests will take between two to three hours. Throughout the sound testing we will require full free uninterrupted access to the units/rooms in all test areas.

We offer an acoustic design service to review the construction detailing. We also offer a sample testing service along with site inspections which provides a ‘one stop acoustic solution’. We visit site during the build process to check for any workmanship issues that may cause problems during the final pre-completion sound testing.

If you would like APT Sound Testing to review your sites acoustic construction, then please speak to us about our acoustic design service, alternatively if you just require sound insulation testing please contact us at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk

Preparing for your site for Sound Testing

Preparing for your site for Sound Testing

To record accurate test measurements, we need to ensure that the correct site conditions are achieved prior to the precompletion sound testing. Relatively quiet conditions are required on site throughout the testing. Any site operatives working in the testing area will have to leave temporarily and any noisy works in the vicinity of the test areas including external site activity such as groundworks, drilling and banging will need to be halted, otherwise it may result in a sound test failure.  We always provide a full sound testing checklist within our quotation which identifies what actions need to be undertaken prior to the sound test.

sound testing equipment

The condition the buildings/dwelling is very important, as they can influence the results of the test. The following stages for sound testing will help preparation and also assess the point at which completed buildings can be tested. Generally before the test the parts of the building/rooms either side of the separating wall or separating floor should be complete. Particular attention should be paid to the following:

  1. All separating floors and walls and all flanking walls and floors should be complete.
  2. All wall and floor junctions should be complete – to include flanking strips etc.
  3. All wall finishes should be complete, this should include skirting’s being in place. This does not include decorative finishes such as paint.
  4. Floors must be bare and no carpets should be laid – where a concrete floor with bonded resilient cover is to be fitted with wood based flooring. In this case, the test sample resilient floor cover should be tested with a wood based floor covering laid over the test sample area.
  5. Windows should be installed with all glass fitted.
  6. Trickle vents should be in place and closed.
  7. All doors should be fully fitted and closed. This includes internal doors and external doors fully fitted with doors seals.
  8. Services should be complete and any voids around ducts finished.
  9. Electrical sockets should be fitted.
  10. A 240V electricity supply should be available to all the test plots.
  11. There should be no noise during the test other than from the testing equipment.
  12. The test plots and adjacent areas within the building should be quiet for the duration of the test.
  13. No work should be carried out or noise made in the building at the time of the test.
  14. Site workers should not enter the building or be in the parts of the building undergoing a test.

We try to offer a ‘one stop acoustic solution’ visa our acoustic design service, sample sound testing and site visits.

If you would like APT Sound Testing to review your sites acoustic construction, then please speak to us about our acoustic design service, alternatively if you just require sound insulation testing please contact us at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk

Acoustic Design Advice

Acoustic Design Advice

To try and help our clients achieve compliance with Approved Document E, we offer the following 4 step acoustic design advice package:

  1. Site Survey Visits – to let us view the existing site construction. This allows us to check for potential problematic construction such as inclusion of lightweight blocks in the existing construction. It also lets us check that the installation teams are installing the acoustic materials as per manufacturer’s guidelines.
  2. Sample Sound Testing – of the existing construction. This offers an accurate overview of the acoustic performance of the existing partitions which enables us to offer a targeted acoustic design using the sound insulation performance of the existing construction.
  3. Acoustic Design Review – a full design review of the proposed developments party walls and floors.
  4. Pre-completion Sound Testing to satisfy Approved Document.

ACOUSTIC_DESIGN

There are many factors to consider when considering good acoustic design, and they are usually split up into five key factors. If used together or in various combinations they will improve sound insulation properties over a wide range of frequencies. The main factors are:

  1. Mass
  2. Isolation
  3. Absorption
  4. Resilience
  5. Stiffness

Also, noise flanking transmission may in some cases be the dominant pathway between adjoining dwellings, especially in existing buildings where you are planning to convert offices/large houses into flats. Here are just a few of the potential noise flanking areas:

  1. Structural Steels
  2. Windows built very close to Internal partitions
  3. Inner leaf of the external wall
  4. External wall cavities
  5. External façade or outer leaf
  6. Roof structure

APT Sound Testing can advise on all types of acoustic design, whether it’s accomplished during initial construction or during a refurbishment/renovation project. We also undertake UKAS accredited sound insulation testing providing a ‘one stop’ solution for all your acoustic requirements.

If you would like more information in regards to sound testing please contact us at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or 07775623464 or visit our website at: www.aptsoundtesting.co.uk

Sound Insulation Testing

Sound Insulation Testing

At APT we offer Airborne and Impact Sound Insulation Testing in accordance with Part E of the Building Regulations and, where required sound testing on Schools BB93 & BREEAM. Under Part E of Building Regulations, this is a requirement for new and converted dwellings where there is a separating partition wall or floor. The sound insulation testing of existing buildings is carried out to assess current levels of sound insulation and to allow for the design of remedial measures, where the performance needs to be increased.

The buildings that currently require sound testing are:

  1. Dwelling-houses, flats or rooms for residential purposes created by conversion of existing buildings or new build rooms for residential purposes will need to be tested if work starts after 1 July 2004.
  2. New build dwelling-houses and flats will need to be tested if work starts after 1 July 2004.

Sound insulation testing is carried out to ensure that minimum standards of sound resistance have been met to ensure the well-being of new tenants is not compromised by adverse sound transmission. The testing checks that the dividing partitions have not been compromised by poor workmanship and poor design. We use the latest sound testing equipment as shown below:

sound testing equipment

You are normally required to undertake sound testing to each type of construction, i.e. if you have a mixture of brick, block-work, timber and metal stud-work walls all four types would need to be tested, followed by a 10% sample of that type. it is worth noting that if any test failures occur, then the number of sound tests may need to increase on the development.

If you are unsure whether the Regulations apply to your development or if your site needs sound insulation testing, please call your local office or email us at info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk where our team will be happy to discuss all aspects of acoustics or sound insulation within buildings, and explain the testing procedure.

Checking the Air Seal Line to Ensure Air Tightness

Checking the Air Seal Line to Ensure Air Tightness

Many companies don’t fully understand the importance of the air seal line in regards to air tightness. The air seal line is usually the building envelope but this is not always the case. In many instances buildings may have plant rooms where are heavily vented to outside atmosphere, in these instances the air leakage line will be the internal wall that encapsulates the plant room.

Also, the incorrect sequencing of construction work may weaken the air seal line prior to the air tightness test, such as the late addition of mechanical and electrical pipework & cables just prior to the air test, obviously the M&E should have been installed earlier in the project; however, due to insufficient information i.e. missing details on drawings, the M&E is often added at a later stage, thus requiring additional penetrations through the newly completed building fabric, thus compromising the potential air tightness of the building envelope.. Unfortunately once newly formed penetrations are in the envelope, nobody wants to take ownership for the new penetrations and the resealing of the areas, so the air leakage paths are left to the end of the project, often resulting in air tightness test failures.

Air_Leakage_Paths_Through_House

In many instances – due to programme constraints) operatives are rushed to install new installations, resulting in much larger access holes than is strictly necessary for the service pipework/cables, this often happens in kitchens, utility rooms, bathrooms, toilets and service cupboards. In these rooms service penetrations are often hid behind Kitchen cupboards, behind toilets, sinks, bath panels and under shower. Other areas are around services in airing and boiler cupboards. Once cupboards and boilers etc. are installed, it makes it almost impossible to seal the air leakage paths – especially if it’s close to the air seal line.

Room_integrity_test_With_blower_fan

In many cases a lack of understanding by building contractors can lead to multiple air test failures.  One common problem is the client putting cosmetic appearance above general airtightness; however, with careful air sealing both can be achieved.  Unfortunately, with the airtightness target being halved from the old standard of 10m3/hr/m2 to 5m3/hr/m2 or even as low as 1m3/hr/m2, it is absolutely essential that the all air leakage paths are sealed as soon as the M&E is installed.

In our experience another reasons for air tightness testing failures is down to a general lack of understanding as to where the air seal line within the building.  Some of the issues that may need to be addressed to overcome this would include adequate training, quality control and building design.

If you employ APT from the start of the project, we can send out our air tightness checklist to help you prepare for the air testing. If each item is actioned in-line with the checklist then our clients usually pass first time. We also offer a site visit service to make sure that the building is being adequately sealed as works progress, so the air leakage paths can be sealed prior to the air tightness test.

If you would like more information in regards to preparing for you air tightness test in London, please contact us at: info@airpressuretesting.net or phone us on 07775623464.

The Importance of Airtightness Testing

The Importance of Airtightness Testing

The importance of air tightness testing is often overlooked within the build process. Approved document L1 & L2 suggests that air permeability is the physical property used to measure the airtightness of the building fabric.  The test measurement is defined as air leakage rate of m3/hr/m2. The old building regulations stipulated an air leakage rate of 10m3/hr/m2; however, this has now been lowered to an average of 5m3/hr/m2 which is far more difficult to achieve

Wherever air infiltration occurs, there is a corresponding exfiltration somewhere else in the building. During the summer, infiltration can bring humid, outdoor air into buildings. In winter, exfiltration can result in moist indoor air moving into cold wall cavities and may result in condensation and ultimately mould and/or rot, which could result in serious lasting damage to the property.
Air_Tightness_Testing

The ATTMA – Air Tightness Testing and Measurement Association governing body for air tightness testing and  the defines ‘air leakage’ as the uncontrolled flow of air through gaps and cracks in the fabric of a building. The general public recognise it as draughts. In most cases the main air leakage paths are:

Services Penetrations

  • Service penetration’s around boilers pipes.
  • Service penetration’s around under floor heating.
  • Service penetrations in the kitchen and utility room.
  • Service penetrations in the toilets, bathroom and en-suite.
  • Pipework penetrations behind the radiators.
  • Service penetrations in the bathrooms and en-suite.
  • Around electrical fuse box.
  • Around extract fans.

General Air Leakage Paths

  • Gaps between skirting board and floor on each floor level.
  • Behind kitchen units.
  • Behind Utility Cupboards
  • Around poorly fitted trickle vents.
  • Around Patio doors.
  • Gaps around the stairs.
  • Around loft hatch.
  • Gaps around the bath panel and the shower tray.

If you employ our services from the start of the project, we will send out our air tightness checklist to help you prepare for the air testing. We also over an air tightness design and site survey service, to ensure the building envelope or the defined air leakage line is being constructed properly, we can then highlight any potential air leakage paths so they can be sealed prior to the air tightness test.

If you would like more information in regards to preparing for you air tightness test in London, please contact us at: info@airpressuretesting.net or phone us on 07775623464.

How we undertake a Room Integrity Test

How we undertake a Room Integrity Test

Our clients often ask how we undertake a room integrity test, so we have written this article to explain this in more detail.

  1. Any internal doors with the enclosure are opened and some of the false floor and/or ceiling tiles are removed so that the protected enclosure is tested as one space.
  2. The enclosure is measured, a plan made and the type and quantity of extinguishant recorded. The height of the highest protected equipment within the enclosure is noted.
  3. The door fan equipment is set up on an external door. Any other external access doors should be locked to prevent access by personal during the test. It is worth noting that operates  may continue to work within the enclosure during the test, however they won’t be able to leave during the test, i.e. when pressure readings are being taken.
  4. Any mechanical air handling equipment that supply and/or extract to/from the enclosure will need to be set by the client to the same condition as would occur on system discharge – usually dampers closed and fans off.  This need occur only whilst pressure readings are taken.  Re-circulation and a/c units without fresh air make-up – external air supply) may be left operating throughout the test to prevent temperature build-up and possible damage to the critical equipment within the enclosure.
  5. The extinguishing system and enclosure data obtained earlier is entered on to the computer.  This calculates the design concentration and the column pressure that would be exerted by the gas after discharge.
  6. The blower door fan is used to both pressurise and depressurise the enclosure to the column pressure and the fan pressure required in each case is recorded.  For certain system design a series of pressure readings are taken.
  7. The pressure data is entered on to the computer which calculates the airflow, equivalent leakage area and the retention time.
    If the result satisfies the specified retention time – usually 10 minutes) the enclosure is deemed to have passed the room integrity test.
  8. If the retention time is less than that required, a detailed smoke survey inspection is undertaken to establish the main leakage paths.  Our small chemical smoke pencils are used as they only produce very small quantities of smoke at the perimeter of the enclosure and are not used in the vicinity of any sensitive electronic equipment.
  9. If practicable, major leaks may be sealed by the client and new pressure readings taken and a revised retention time is then calculated.  Retention times meeting requirements are recorded as passes.
  10. A full written test report will be submitted. The report contains details of the enclosure, extinguishing system parameters, pressurisation results and predicted retention time graph.  Recommendations are given advising the sponsor of any leakage areas or other features requiring remedial action.
  11. A Room Integrity Test pass cert will is produced which should be laminated and attached to the front door of the protected enclosure.
  12. We usually allow 2 hours to undertake each Room Integrity Test enclosure.

Server_Room_Integrity_Testing

we hope this article goes some way to explaining how we undertake a room integrity test. If you require more information in regards to integrity testing compliance on your server room, please do not hesitate to contact Darren direct on: 07775623464 or email us at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk

Ensuring Compliance for Server Room Integrity Testing

Ensuring Compliance for Server Room Integrity Testing

Air leakage and smoke ingress are detrimental to an installation’s firefighting capabilities and can result in massive failure of your critical asset. Ensuring compliance for server room integrity testing compliance should be at the top of the agenda for all facility management companies.

Blower_Door__Integrity_Testing

The effectiveness of a gaseous fire suppression system can only be guaranteed, if the enclosure surrounding it is air tight. Unfortunately if the system does not operate effectively, by maintaining the correct concentration for an effective time period,- usually 10 minutes) it may cause the whole system to fail resulting in critical system failure.

Previous studies have revealed that the predominant cause of failure of gaseous extinguishing systems is inadequate room sealing to the building envelope. It is also found that room integrity performance reduces with time, usually due to changes in construction, mechanical and electrical services as well as a natural breakdown of sealing materials such as mastic and/or sealing foam etc.

Ensuring good room integrity should be shown the highest priority. And once the room/enclosure has passed its annual server room integrity test, it should be carefully maintained throughout the year. Any extra works undertaken to the room envelope within the annual test period may result in the need to undertake another integrity test.

The room integrity door fan test is undertaken in accordance with the general requirements specified in BS:ISO 14520, NFPA 12A, NFPA 2001 and isroutine practice for most major companies. The insurers and regulatory authorities usually insist on annual room integrity testing. It is worth noting in the event of a critical failure of your protected enclosure, if you don’t have complaint certification you may void your buildings insurance.

If you require more information in regards to a server room integrity test, please do not hesitate to contact Darren on: 07775623464 or email us at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk