Sound Testing on Conversion Projects

Sound Testing on Conversion Projects

In our experience acoustic design and sound testing on conversion projects don’t need to be problematic. If you are currently in the process converting offices and/or houses info flats or ‘Rooms for Residential Use’, then its very important that the acoustic design is embraced from the start of the project.

Air Pressure Testing  have many years of experience in providing acoustic design and sound insulation testing in a comprehensive package designed to help you meet the legal requirements of Building Regulations Part E.

Acoustic Design Advice

As a  multi UKAS accredited company, you can be sure that all our services are undertaken to the highest laboratory standards. The types of projects that need to comply with Approved Document E for conversion projects or ‘Rooms for Residential Use’ are:

  1. House to flat conversions
  2. Commercial building to flat conversions.
  3. Hotels and hostels
  4. Boarding houses
  5. Halls of residence
  6. Residential homes

We can offer you the following services to help your development comply with Approved Document E:

  1. We review the architect’s drawings to check the required acoustic principles have been followed and meet the requirements of Approved Document E.
  2. We undertake a site visit and analyse the current state of building construction. And to check there are no site specific construction problems that may affect the acoustic performance of the building.
  3. We under take sample sound testing to check the sound insulation properties of the buildings existing floors and walls.
  4. We will provide you with a full and detailed acoustic design report that outlines which acoustic treatments taking into account the most cost and buildability.
  5. We will provide ongoing support and site visits to assist the builder/consultant to ensuring that the level of detail required is met and deal with any ongoing issues that may arise.
  6. We will undertake the final precompletion sound testing to achieve compliance with Approved Document E.

We’ve successfully guided our clients through hundreds of different conversion projects helping our clients achieve compliance with Approved Document E.

If you would like advice on your acoustic design or sound testing in London, please contact us now at info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or call us on 07775623464.

Airborne and Impact Sound Tests

Airborne and Impact Sound Tests

You are required to undertake two types of sound testing to comply with Building Regulations Part E, they are Airborne and Impact sound tests. Airborne sound tests are undertake on wall and floors and impact tests are undertaken on floor only.

To test the sound insulation properties of a floor or wall via airborne sound testing, you need to provide a sound source which consists of an amplifier and loud speaker is set up on one side of the wall or floor partition that is to be tested. We then turn the setting to turn on Pink noise. Pink noise sounds like the static that can be heard on a radio that is off station. Pink noise is used  because it is made up of a wall of sound that has a wide spectrum of frequencies. This provides an indication of sound insulation performance for a wide range of sounds that may be experienced within a dwelling from musical instruments to loud TV noise sources.

sound testing

The pink noise is measured in the room which contains the speaker or sound source using a Class 1 Norsonic sound level meter; thereafter the noise is measured on the other side of the wall or floor partition that is being tested. In layman’s terms the difference between these two levels is the amount of sound that is stopped by the sound insulating qualities if the wall or floor partition/s. The result is then corrected and adjusted depending on the echo or reverberation time within the receiving room, and any background noise such as builders work noise etc.

To test the impact sound insulation performance of a floor, a Norsonic tapping machine which consists of five small hammers that are dropped onto the floor to simulate foot fall, is placed on the floor. The resultant noise in the room below is measured with a Norsonic Class 1 sound level meter and the amount of noise that passes through the floor is the impact sound transmission level and is expressed as a single number. This result is then corrected and adjusted depending on the reverberation time of the rooms as well as any background noise to give the impact sound transmission result (LnT,w).

Impact Sound Testing

Both types of sound tests results are then compared to the performance criteria of Approved Document E, which stipulates that airborne sound needs to achieve 45dB for new build & 43dB for conversion projects. To achieve a pass for impact sound testing you need to achieve 62dB for new build & 64dB conversions.

If you have a project that’s needs acoustic design advice or needs precompletion sound testing then please contact us at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or call us directly on 07775623464.

Sound Testing Services for New Dwellings

Sound Testing Services  for new dwellings

Sound Testing Services became mandatory in England & Wales in 2003, when Approved Document E was updated. Approved Document E requires new and converted to achieve a reasonable level of sound insulation between dwellings. The easiest way simplest way to comply with the requirements of Approved Document E; is to have on-site pre-completion sound insulation testing carried out on your project.

Many of our clients are clients are apprehensive prior to having to undertake pre-completion sound insulation tests.  This is often down to the fear of failure; however if the the acoustic design specification has been undertaken from the offset of the project and is closely followed during the construction phase then he chance of potential failure is greatly reduced.

sound testing equipment

Approved Document E requires a minimum of one ‘set’ of tests for every ten units in each group and/or sub group.  This is usually broken down to two airborne wall, two airborne floor and two impact sound tests. If you have a development of 25 houses, with five different sub-groups (5 units in each) then you would usually conduct 5 ‘sets’ of tests.  If no separating floors are available, i.e. in semi-detached or terraced houses, one set of tests would consist of two airborne tests of separating walls only.

If the precompletion test results do not satisfy the performance criteria of Approved Document E, then our test engineer will attempt to determine the possible causes of failure. This may be to do with construction detailing around services or at junctions, or simply, poor acoustic design. Once a specific reason for failure has been determined, we can then advise the client on remedial actions that can be undertaken.

If you have a project that’s needs acoustic design advice or needs precompletion sound testing then please contact us at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or call us directly on 07775623464.

Successful Sound Testing in London

Successful Sound Testing in London 

From the offset careful consideration should be shown to the acoustic design detailing for both conversion and new build projects if you are to achieve a successful sound testing in London at the first attempt.

For instance many of the dwellings in London consist of flats converted from large Victorian houses. At the time of the original build some 100 years ago, designing for sound insulation was not a consideration and so many of the dwellings suffer from adverse noise transference between the floor and wall partitions. This can be extremely stressful to the occupant’s well-being is a major cause for concern.

ACOUSTIC_DESIGN

There are ways to improve the airborne and impact performance by improving the wall/floor partitions ability to reduce the amount of sound transmission from one side of a construction element to the other and subsequently  from dwelling to dwelling. By adding isolation and  mass to the floors and wall construction compliance with Part E for conversion projects can be achieved.

To help our clients achieve successful sound testing we offer the following ‘3 step package’:

  1. Sample Sound Testing of the existing building. 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.
  2. Acoustic Design Review of the proposed developments party walls and floors to ensure acoustic details with be sufficient to pass Building Regulations Part E
  3. Site Survey Visits to check that the onsite construction is being undertaken in-line with manufacturer’s guidelines.

In our experience if the acoustic design is taken into consideration from the offset of the project, then it usually results in compliance with Building Regulations Part E.  In many cases sound test failure is down to poor acoustic design and poor workmanship, that is why we offer the 3 step process to achieve successful sound testing on your London project.

If you have a project that requires acoustic design advice or sound insulation testing, then please contact us at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or phone us directly on 07775623464.

Sound Insulation Testing Terminology (3 of 3)

Sound Insulation Testing Terminology (3 of 3)

Often confusion can arise from the large amount of ‘terms’ used in conjunction with acoustic design and sound insulation testing. To help with this we have made a list of the following terms for clarity – this is the last blog in the series:

Isolation – This is a strategy to limit the number and type of rigid connections between elements of construction.

L’nT,w – This is the weighted standardized impact sound pressure level. A single-number quantity (weighted) to characterise the impact sound insulation of floors, in accordance with BS EN ISO 717-2: 1997.

sound testing

Mass – This is a physical quantity that expresses the amount of matter in a body. Walls and floors may be described in terms of the surface density (mass per unit area, kg/m2) of the wall face or the floor surface, which is the sum of the surface densities of each component of the construction. The density of materials is expressed as mass per unit volume, kg/m3, which can be provided via the core structure and linings such as in-situ concrete or solid dense block walls.

Mass per unit area (or surface density) – This is is expressed in terms of kilograms per square metre (kg/m2). This is often used to describe boards, panels, flooring and dry linings (see gypsum based board).

Resilience – This can reduce structural vibration transmission and still maintain material performance and overall dimensions, examples include floating floor treatments such as resilient battens or cradles, or resilient ceiling bars.

Resilient ceiling bars – This acoustic solution is generally metal based and vary in thickness from 11 mm to 30 mm. They are mounted perpendicular to the joist span direction and can increase both airborne and impact sound insulation. Care should be taken to ensure that the ceiling board fixings into the resilient bar do not come into contact with the joists and reduce the potential performance.

Resilient noggin – This is a small section of resilient ceiling bar which is used to assist in bracing non load bearing partitions.

Rw – This is a single-number quantity (weighted) which characterises the airborne sound insulation of a building element from measurements undertaken in a laboratory, in accordance with BS EN ISO 717-1: 1997

Sound Insulation Testing – Sound Insulation Testing is required near the end of a development to show that the performance of the party wall and floor partitions meet the standards as stipulated in Building Regulations Approved Document E. The testing methods for airborne and impact sound insulation is in full accordance with the suggested methods presented in BS EN ISO 140-parts 4 & 7: 1998.

Stiffness – This is can improve low frequency sound insulation, for example in floors, by reducing the potential for deflection or movement of the primary structure, therefore the correct spacing and depth of joists is important.

We hope the last blog in the Sound Insulation Testing Terminology series has been helpful. If you would like more information in regards to our acoustic design and sound insulation testing services, please contact us at info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or visit our website at: www.aptsoundtesting.co.uk

Sound Test Terminology (1 of 3)

Sound Test Terminology (1 of 3)

Often confusion can arise from the large amount of ‘terms’ used in conjunction with acoustic design and sound insulation testing. To help with this we have made a list of the following terms for clarity – this is the first of three blogs:

Absorption – This is the conversion of sound energy into heat, often by the use of a porous material.

Absorbent Material – This is a material that absorbs sound energy, such as acoustic mineral wool.

Airborne sound – This is sound which is propagated from a noise source through the medium of air. Examples of these are speech and sound from a television

Airborne Sound Transmission – This is direct transmission of airborne sound through walls or floors. When sound energy is created in a room, for instance by conversation, some of the energy is reflected or absorbed by room surfaces but some may set up vibrations in the walls and floor. Depending on both the amount of energy and the type of construction, this can result in sound being transmitted to adjacent parts of the building.

Air Path – This is a void in construction elements, which adversely affects the performance of sound resisting construction. Examples of air paths include incomplete mortar joints, porous building materials, gaps around pipes and shrinkage cracks – this can also effect the air tightness results.

Bonded resilient cover – This is a thin resilient floor covering normally of minimum 3-5mm thickness, which is bonded to the isolated screed surface to reduce impact sound transmission such as footfall noise, however it has a lesser effect when it comes to airborne noise.

Cavity stop – This is a proprietary product or material such as mineral wool (fibre) used to close the gap in a cavity wall.

Composite Resilient Batten – This is composed of a timber batten with a pre-bonded resilient material to provide isolation between the flooring surface layers and floor base.

Cradle/Saddle – This is an intermediate support system (with a resilient layer base, either pre-bonded or already integral) using levelling packer pieces to support a timber batten, isolating it from the floor base.

Acoustic_Ceiling_Upgrade

Decibel (dB) – This is the unit used for different acoustic quantities to indicate the level with respect to a reference level.

Density (kg/m3) – This is the mass per unit volume, expressed in kilograms per cubic metre (kg/m3). Blockwork is commonly referred to by industry in terms of strength (in Newtons). However, it is the density that has the important role in terms of sound insulation.

Direct transmission refers to the path of either airborne or impact sound through elements of construction.

DnT,w – This is the weighted standardized level difference. A single-number quantity (weighted) which characterises the airborne sound insulation between two rooms, in accordance with BS EN ISO 717-1:1997

We hope the above information in regards to Sound Test Terminology has been helpful. If you would like more information in regards to our acoustic design or sound insulation testing services, please contact us at info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or visit our website at: www.aptsoundtesting.co.uk

Broken Down Rating Methods for Sound Testing

Broken Down Rating Methods for Sound Testing 

The sound insulation rating methods that follow are defined in:

Sound insulation testing is usually undertaken near the end of a project to show that the party wall and floor partitions meet the standards shown in Building Regulations Approved Document E.  The method for testing for airborne and impact sound insulation is in full accordance with: the suggested methods presented in BS EN ISO 140-parts 4 & 7: 1998. Sound tests are broken down into various rating methods.

sound testing equipment

The sound insulation rating methods that follow are defined in:

 Rating Method – RW

This single figure rating method is the rating used for laboratory airborne sound insulation tests. The figure indicates the amount of sound energy being stopped by a separating building element when tested in isolation in the absence of any flanking paths.

 Rating Method – DnTw

The single figure rating method that gives the airborne sound insulation performance between two adjacent rooms within a building as measured within site conditions. The result achieved is affected not only by the separating element also by the surrounding structure and junction details.

 Rating Method – Ctr

The Ctr adaptation term is a correction that can be added to either the RW (laboratory) or DnTw (site) airborne rating. The Ctr term is used because it targets the low frequency performance of a building element and in particular the performance achieved in the 100 – 315 Hz frequency range. This term was originally developed to describe how a building element would perform if subject to excessive low frequency sound sources, such as traffic and railway noise. This rating is expressed as RW + Ctr and allows the acoustic designer to critically compare performances. The rating method has not been universally welcomed. Some

acousticians believe that the method is too crude as it only considers the low frequency performance, and because site measurements at low frequencies are prone to difficulties, which can lead to a lack of confidence in the results achieved.

 Rating Method – Lnw

This single figure rating method is the rating used forclaboratory impact sound insulation tests on separating floors. The figure indicates the amount of sound energy being transmitted through the floor tested in isolation, in the absence of any flanking paths. With impact sound insulation, the lower the figure the better the performance.

Rating Method – LnTw

The single figure rating method that is used for impact sound insulation tests for floors. The figure indicates the sound insulation performance between two adjacent rooms within a building as measured on site. The result achieved is affected not only by the separating floor but also by the surrounding structure, e.g. flanking walls and associated junction details.

Rating Method – Dncw

The single figure laboratory rating method, which is used for evaluating the airborne sound insulation performance of suspended ceilings. Laboratory tests simulate the room-to-room performance of the suspended ceiling when a partition is built up to the underside of the ceiling with sound transmitted via the plenum.

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 have the technical experience to help identify and rectify your soundproofing or noise control problem.

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 or visit our website at: www.aptsoundtesting.co.uk

The different types of Sound Testing

The different types of Sound Testing.

There are two distinct types of noise to consider through floors, they are:

  • Airborne Noise (for example speech and music) and
  • Impact Noise (for example footsteps directly on the floor above)

To take this into account there are two different types of Sound Testing required in compliance with Approved Document Part E. Even if both types of sound are emitting through the ceiling/floor then there are some easy installations that should reduce the sound levels and improve your sound test results.

sound testing equipment

To help our clients overcome this problem, we also offer our acoustic design service which helps clients to pass the sound testing upon completion of the acoustic upgrade. By advising on a simple cost effective wall and/or floor upgrade, we are able to forward simple to follow acoustic design reviews, utilising our extensive knowledge of different materials and construction methods. Using this philosophy, to date, we have had no sound test failures where our acoustic upgrades have been incorporated into the site construction, ensuring compliance with Part E of Building Regulations.

Pre-completion sound testing has been a mandatory requirement since July 2003 and all new build properties and conversions which were built after this date require 10% of each party wall/floor construction type to be tested. The Sound testing is to be carried out between pairs of rooms separated by party walls and/or floors. Part E stipulates that it sound testing should take place between dividing partitions between living rooms and bedrooms as these are classed as the two main habitable rooms; however, other rooms can be used if this is not possible such as dining rooms, kitchen and studies.

APT Sound Testing can undertake UKAS accredited Part E sound testing throughout England and Wales. Our sound test engineers carry all the latest class 1 acoustic equipment and we provide full UKAS accredited air and sound testing, so our clients can be sure that all testing is completed to the strictest  ISO quality controlled standards.

If you would like advice on your acoustic design or sound testing in London, please contact us now at info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or call us on 07775623464

Simple Design Solutions to Pass Part E Sound Testing

Simple Design Solutions to Pass Part E Sound Testing

There are many simple solutions to reduce the noise levels and achieve compliance with Part E sound testing. We can provide easy to follow acoustic design reviews, utilising our extensive knowledge of different materials and construction methods.

Our clients often convert large houses into multiple flats, i.e. a flat on each of the ground, 1st and 2nd floors. They usually leave the floor boards in place and install a layer of plasterboard to the underside of the existing plasterboard/lathe and plaster. Unfortunately this simple type of upgrade usually achieves 30dB for airborne sound, which will result in sound testing failure. The sound test result needs to be 43db and above for airborne noise and 70dB for Impact sound.

Failed_sound_Testing_Due_to_existing_floor_Construction_

One simple solution to overcome the above problem would be to add another ceiling element to the overall construction. This can be achieved by incorporating resilient metal bars which are connected to the underside of the joists and mounted perpendicular (90˚) to the joist direction. If plasterboard has already been tacked to the underside of the joists you can firstly add timber batten and then add the resilient bars, also mounted perpendicular (90˚ to the batten, thereafter 2 x 12.5mm layers of soundboard can be tacked to the underside of the resilient bar and an acoustic insulation added to the newly formed void. In between the joist void add 100mm acoustic insulation. Above the floor boards add an acoustic resilient membrane to lower the chance of impact noise transmitting down to dwelling below.

Acoustic_Ceiling_Upgrade

The aforementioned acoustic design solution will usually result in successful sound testing and compliance with Approved Document Part E.

If you require more information in regards to sound testing and/or acoustic design on your project please visit our site at www.aptsoundtesting.co.uk or contact us at info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk, or call me direct on 07775623464.

Poor Acoustic Design

Poor Acoustic Design 

Sound test failure is often down to poor acoustic design detailing during the design and construction phase of a project.

Sound test failure are often associated with poor acoustic design which allows noise flanking transmission through dividing floor and wall partitions. Unwanted noise travelling along flanking paths can make the building structure vibrate which causes the sound to radiate into your room. One simple cost effective solution is to build another wall or ceiling in front of the original, to offer extra isolation. For this upgrade to work you need to make sure that the independent wall or ceiling is not directly connected to the existing failed partition; so it provides isolation between materials.

ACOUSTIC_DESIGN

One of the main reasons for excessive noise flanking down to the use of lightweight blocks in the construction of the wall construction. Due to the lightweight mas of the inner wall it allows sound to transmit from dwelling to another, both vertically and horizontally. If a building has failed its sound testing, it is essential to establish if the problem is due to direct transmission, flanking transmission or a combination of both so that the most cost and time effective remedial treatment can be designed and applied to the failed partitions.

One way to reduce the chance of sound testing failures due to excessive noise flanking transmission is through a careful consideration to the acoustic design at the start of the project.  Unfortunately, by simply specifying high performance wall and floor partitions, it is no guarantee to adequate sound isolation and successful sound testing.

APT offer preconstruction design advice to help you achieve successful sound testing in London in-line with Building Regulations Part E. We also offer onsite inspection services to ensure that the sound insulation elements are being installed as per manufactures guild-lines, as its not use having a robust design if it not being installed properly on site.

If you require more information in regards to sound testing and/or acoustic design on your project please visit our site at www.aptsoundtesting.co.uk or contact us at info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk, or call me direct on 07775623464.