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

Why Do Room Integrity Testing?

Why Do Room Integrity Testing?

We often get asked why do room integrity testing? there are two critical reasons why you need to undertake the testing, the first is It’s a legal requirement and the second is you may invalidate your buildings insurance if you do not have up to date room integrity certification.

Fire_in_server_room

The Relevant Standards

BS5306, ISO 14520 and BS EN 15004 – 1, 2008 all require a gaseous system (any system) to have its integrity checked annually. The equipment should be designed specifically for this and it should be regularly calibrated at least once a year. An Integrity test should be conducted in accordance with BS5306, ISO 14520 (BS EN 15004 – 1, 2008) or NFPA 2001 and at a minimum this should be conducted annually.

When Should Room Integrity Tests be done?

An room integrity test should be performed immediately after a system has been installed and routinely every year thereafter. Any alteration such as changing a door, putting a cable/s in or even replacing equipment can affect the rooms (enclosures) gas holding ability (Integrity), routine servicing of equipment will not reveal this, so an Integrity Test should be carried out after any alteration and the annual testing dates adjusted to follow annually thereafter.

How is the Room Integrity Tests Carried Out

A portable fan is temporarily installed in the doorway via a collapsible panel. The fan then both pressurises and depressurises the room. The results are then fed into the specialist software which then works out the retention time. If the enclosure attains results in excess of 10 minutes then the protected enclosure will pass the test, anything under 10 minutes and it will result in an integrity test failure due to excessive air leakage. If it fails the test APT can help you to locate the excess air leakage paths via smoke testing.

Room_integrity_test_With_blower_fan

If you require more information in regards to room integrity test please do not hesitate to contact us. Air Pressure Testing provides the necessary Room Integrity Testing in London and throughout the South East to the required NFPA 2001 or ISO BS EN 14520/ 15004 methodologies. We have undertaken hundreds

If you require room integrity testing in London, please call Darren on: 07775623464 or email us at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk

 

What Happens if my Enclosure Fails the Room Integrity Test?

What Happens If my Enclosure Fails the Room Integrity Test?

If your protected enclosure fails the room integrity test, APT’s highly trained and experienced test engineers will be able to locate the problem areas and identify where air is leaking out of the building by walking around the test enclosure with a localised smoke puffer – as shown in the image below)  checking the most common problem areas first.

room_integrity_test_smoke_test

By combining our door fan blower equipment and a small smoke puffer we can quickly pressurise the room, which makes smoke testing far more effective. Using this method can quickly locate any penetrations within the room envelope as the smoke is more visible. The smoke can then be photographed to provide a record of any external leakage paths so they can be accurately targeted during the air sealing works. 
Pressurised smoke tests are ideal for identifying both generic and torturous areas of air leakage. Crucial remedial sealing work should then be undertaken to reduce the leakage from the enclosure. The sealing works may include:

  • Addition of door sweeps or drop seals, weather stripping around jambs
  • Sealing all holes, cracks or penetrations leading into or out of the protected space
  • Pipe chases and cable trays to be sealed around the outside and inside where they penetrate the perimeter boundaries of the enclosure
  • Walls to be caulked around the inside perimeter at both high and low level
  • Sealing of porous block walls
  • Sealing of windows/glazed sections to the area

One of the advantages of the sealing works being conducted whilst a test fan kit is in place, is that it can be seen if the works being conducted are effective via ongoing smoke testing and sealing works as the smaller air leakage paths may not be visible until the larger penetrations are sealed.  Once the appropriate remedial work has been undertaken the enclosure should be retested to confirm the acceptable retention time as been achieved, which is usually 10 minutes.

Air Pressure Testing provides the necessary Room Integrity Testing in London to the required NFPA 2001 or ISO 14520 methodologies. We have undertaken hundreds

If you require room integrity testing in London, please call Darren on: 07775623464 or email us at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk

Room Integrity Testing in London

Room Integrity Testing in London

There are literally tens of thousands of protected enclosures – such as server rooms and data centres) throughout London and the South East. With many of the banking and commercial institutions based in the capital the requirement to provide a safe environment for critical equipment is greater than ever.

It is now a requirement of the BFPSA that all protected enclosures such as server rooms and/or data centres have valid enclosure certification – it is also a requirement of all major commercial institutions to comply with ISO standard BS EN15004.

The benefits of ensuring room integrity are widely recognised by insurers and regulatory authorities, who frequently require room integrity testing in London to prevent critical system failure on valuable assets such as server rooms and data centres.  It is also worth noting that you may negate your buildings insurance if you don’t have the valid certification.

Enclosures protected by gaseous fire suppression system -such as server rooms should be tested for air-tightness upon commissioning of the system and annually thereafter; however you are also required to undertake testing if you make any changes to the room envelope such as the introduction of new data trays and/or pipework. etc. This is critical to ensure that the system will work effectively when activated; too much air-leakage will result in the concentration of the fire suppressant agent falling too quickly resulting in rapid fire spread as shown in the image below.

Fire_in_server_room

For most extinguishing system types, a retention time of ten minutes is the minimum period the suppressant agents is required to be retained for within the enclosure. NFPA 2001, Standard on Clean Agent Fire Extinguishing Systems, requires that a minimum concentration of 85% of the adjusted minimum design concentration be held at the highest level of combustibles for a minimum period of 10 minutes. This is usually long enough to prevent re-ignition for most deep-seated fires and should provide adequate time for the emergency services to attend and prevent the fire taking hold.

An Integrity test predicts how long fire suppressant agents take to descend to a given level in the room without having to discharge the actual suppression system. The room is sealed, and then the air pressure is tested with door fan and sensor equipment. The fan unit is temporarily located within the test doorway to pressurize and depressurize the enclosure. A series of pressure and air flow measurements are taken from which leakage characteristics of the enclosures are established. The predicted retention time is calculated from the leakage characteristics and the enclosure and extinguishing system data.

Room_integrity_test_With_blower_fan

Air Pressure Testing provides the necessary Room Integrity Testing in London to the required NFPA 2001 or ISO 14520 methodologies. We have undertaken hundreds of enclosure integrity tests around the UK and Europe. If you require room integrity testing in London, please call Darren on: 07775623464 or email us at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk

Simple Acoustic Upgrades

Simple Acoustic Upgrades

There are many simple acoustic upgrades you can undertake to improve the sound insulation values of your dwelling. Plate A below shows one cost effective ceiling upgrade that can be undertaken on conversion projects. Firstly retain the existing floor joists – check them for general wear and tare) then above the joists install 22mm chipboard. Above the floor board install an acoustic resilient membrane and above this install the 22mm engineered floor. Within the joist cavity install 100mm AW IsoWool. To the underside of the joists fix a resilient hanger system and below this install two layers of 12.5mm sound boards ensuring that boards have adequate laps. It is worth noting that although the above system should work, it is essential that you contact us before going ahead with any works as each project is different and may require extra acoustic design input.

Plate A – Acoustic Floor Upgrade

Good Conversion Diagram - 15-01-16Also, to try and help our clients achieve compliance with Approved Document E at the first attempt we offer the following 4 step acoustic design 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 E.

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 follow our blog at: http://soundtestinguk.blogspot.co.uk or contact us at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk and 07775623464 or visit our website at: www.aptsoundtesting.co.uk