The two types of sound insulation testing through floors.

There are two distinct types of sound insulation testing through floors, they are:

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

In the event of  both types of sound – Airborne & Impact) are emitting excessive noise 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

We also offer an 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. Where our acoustic upgrades have been incorporated into the site construction, all the pre-completion sound tests have passed, ensuring compliance with Part E of Building Regulations.

Pre-completion sound testing has been a mandatory requirement since 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. In is usual to test 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 study’s, kitchens and dining rooms.

We also carry out a large amount of sound tests in council/housing association blocks, where the residents are experiencing excess noise between the dividing wall and floor partitions.

We provide full UKAS accredited air and sound testing in London, using the latest Class 1 equipment, so our clients can be sure that all testing is completed to a strict ISO quality controlled standard

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.

GOOD ACOUSTIC DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION TO PASS SOUND TESTING

 GOOD ACOUSTIC DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION TO PASS SOUND TESTING

There are many misconceptions when it comes to acoustics. Unfortunately; by simply constructing a good separating wall or floor this may not in itself provide sufficient sound insulation to pass the sound testing for Part E, as the junctions of each separating wall and/or floor with other parts of the building are equally as important. There may be other potential issues such as flanking sound transmission that can occur via construction components such as:

  1. the internal partitions
  2. the inner leaf of the external wall
  3. the external wall cavities
  4. the external façade or outer leaf
  5. the roof structure
  6. the foundations.

When undertaking the overall design and construction, the overall acoustic system should be considered and not just the separating wall or floor partitions.  Flanking sound 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 where there are large existing penetrations through the floors. In all instances it is essential that acoustic isolation is provided, between all acoustic partitions – both wall and floor.

Acoustic Design Advice

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.  We can undertake acoustic design reviews of floor and wall partitions too ensure that the sound insulation testing passes at the first attempt. We can also undertake facade testing to ISO 140-5, to ensure the design of your building envelope is acoustically robust, as this can also add to sound testing failures even if the internal partitions are acoustically robust.

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

Sound Testing On Refurbishment Projects

Sound Testing On Refurbishment Projects

When it comes to refurbishment projects i.e. large houses that have been converted into flats and/or an office block into flats, we can undertake a sample sound test of the existing wall and floor construction to ascertain the existing sound insulation levels. Once we have established the sound levels for the existing construction, we can then look at extent of the acoustic upgrades to attain Part E Compliance. This is much more effective than just forwarding an acoustic design that may be to excessive and expensive, especially when the existing construction is already ‘acoustically’ robust and therefore only needs to improve by a a minimal amount such as 1-3dB. By having the existing sound levels of the partitions we can recommend targeted, acoustic upgrades to comply with Building Regulations Part E.

This Video show some of the sound leakage paths

The sound insulation levels required to pass Part E for refurbishment projects are less stringent than new build projects. Instead of 45dB for airborne its 43dB (2 dB less), and for instead of 62dB for Impact Sound Testing its 64dB on new build (2 dB more).

On refurbishment projects you cannot use Robust Details, therefore sound testing has to be undertaken. Obviously due to the complex nature of refurbishment projects its best if you consult with us at the beginning as we can offer advice on how to upgrade the partitions to pass the sound testing.   We can also help if your building fails the sound insulation testing by offering a targeted acoustic design solution saving time and potential costs.

If you have a project that requires sound insulation testing then contact us now, we can propose a sound testing schedule that should comply with Part E. Please contact us at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or call us at 07775623464

Sound Insulation Testing In Compliance With Building Regulations Part E.

Sound Insulation Testing In Compliance With Building Regulations Part E.

Sound Testing is usually undertaken near the end of a project to show that the party wall and floors meet the Building Regulations. Approved Document E stipulated performance values.  The method for sound 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.

Detached houses don’t require sound insulation testing, however if the house has been built on to the end of an existing house and/or terrace it usually requires 2 airborne wall tests – 1 through the lower kitchen/lounge and one through the bedroom walls on the upper floors.

Buildings such as apartment blocks often require airborne and impact sound insulations tests. Airborne sound insulation testing is normally required between horizontally and vertically separated pairs of rooms i.e. the wall and floor partitions. The sound tests are undertaken by using a sound source, amplifier and loudspeaker to generate a high noise level in one room (the source room). Noise measurements are then taken in both the source and receiver rooms using a prescribed number of source and microphone positions. The background levels in the receiver room are measured and the reverberation time in the receiver room is also measured. From the results, the airborne sound insulation (DnT,w + Ctr) is calculated and compared to the requirements of Approved Document E.

sound testing

Thereafter impact sound testing may also be required for vertically separated dwellings. Impact sound insulation testing is undertaken using a “tapping machine”, which drops a series of weights/small hammers onto the floor of the upper room. The noise level in the lower (receiver) room is measured for a prescribed number of source and microphone locations. The background levels in the receiver room are measured and the reverberation time in the receiver room is also measured. From the results, the impact sound insulation (L’nT,w) is calculated and compared to the requirements of Approved Document E.

Impact Sound Testing

When it comes to refurbishment projects i.e. large houses converted into flats and/or an office block into flats we can undertake a sample sound test of the existing wall and floor construction. Once we have established the sound levels for the existing construction we can then look at extent of the acoustic upgrades to attain Part E Compliance. This is much more effective than just forwarding an acoustic design that may be to excessive and expensive, especially when the existing construction is already ‘acoustically’ robust and therefore only needs to improve by a 1-3dB.

The sound insulation levels required to pass Part E are usually 45dB for airborne wall and floors and 62dB for Impact Sound Testing on new build, however sometimes a higher target may be required in-line with the Code for Sustainable Homes; this is usually in defined in the following figures +3, 5 & 8dB, this means if its plus 5dB you will need to achieve 50dB for airborne and 57dB for impact sound testing.  Obviously if you need to comply with the Code for Sustainable Homes then special attention must be shown to the acoustic design from the offset to reduce the chance of sound testing failure.

APT Sound Testing can help you to achieve this more robust design criterion. We can also help if your building fails the sound insulation testing by offering a targeted acoustic design solution saving time and potential costs.

If you have a project that requires sound insulation testing then contact us now, we can propose a sound testing schedule that should comply with Part E. Please contact us at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or call us at 07775623464

DESIGNING YOUR BUILDING TO PASS PART E SOUND INSULATION TESTING

Designing your Building to Pass Part E Sound  Insulation Testing

We at  APT Sound Testing often get asked what architectural features or plan arrangements can reduce the level of sound insulation or introduce additional sources that may cause us to fail our sound insulation testing.

Here is a quick list of the most common problems:

  • Internal stairs directly beside a separating wall – this can lead to footsteps being heard inside the adjacent dwelling, especially in bedrooms.
  • Using lightweight blocks on flats – lightweight blocks are often used in the construction of internal walls despite the block manufacturer’s warnings that they should not be used for the inner envelope or dividing wall construction. The walls are so lightweight they vibrate (almost like a snare drum) so sound can travel up or across the partition.
  • Chimney stacks, flues and fireplaces built within a separating wall – this can lead to sound traveling up the flue and being heard in flats above and/or below.
  • Recessed cupboards (presses) within a separating wall – this usually means that the width of the sound insulation is compromised which directly leads to a reduction in sound insulation levels.  
  • A flat spanning over several flats below, for instance a penthouse;
  • Communal stairs beside a separating wall – as this is a heavy trafficked area it can lead to footsteps being heard inside the adjacent dwelling, especially in bedrooms.
  • Communal vertical soil vent pipes and horizontal service pipes within a separating floor – if the services are not properly boxed out this can lead to general noise going straight through the floor as well as the noise of flushing water as it runs down the SVP pipes etc.
  • Lifts beside separating walls – this is often a bad scenario due to the higher start up current that’s needed to start a lift, this can cause a loud whine when the lift first starts and if there is insufficient sound insulation within the lift wall this will usually be heard by the adjacent resident/s
  • Water pumps used to raise water pressure – this can be problematic especially where a bedroom is located on the opposite side of the partition.
  • Chimney stacks, flues and fireplaces built within a separating wall – this is often a major cause of noise problems as they are often built quite close to each other thus reducing the mass of the separating wall/partition.  
  • Recessed cupboards (presses) within a separating wall – again this reduces the sound insulation levels as it reduces the mass of the wall partition.

It is worth noting that with careful consideration during the design phase most potential sound transference problems can be negated.

ACOUSTIC_DESIGN

Unfortunately, general exposure to excess amounts of noise from adjacent dwellings may act as a catalyst affecting the occupant’s health and well-being.  Noise that is unavoidable, unimportant or emotive is often the most annoying. Disrupted sleep and listening to television/radio are the most common noise-disrupted activities. Noise transmission between dwellings causes increased tension between neighbours and leads to disputes, which may result in physical assaults.

If you are unsure of your buildings acoustic design and/or you require sound testing contact APT Sound Testing at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or call us on 07775623464

ACOUSTIC DESIGN FOR PRECOMPLETION SOUND TESTING

ACOUSTIC DESIGN FOR PRECOMPLETION SOUND TESTING

It’s extremely important that careful consideration is given to the acoustic design for pre-completion sound testing at an early stage of the design and construction process. It can be very problematic if the building fails the pre-completion sound testing just before buildings due to hand over.   To try and reduce the chance of a sound test failure APT can visit site to conduct a comprehensive acoustic design survey and  review. We also take this opportunity to meet; the site/project manager, architects etc. to go through the building’s design, site constraints and most cost effective method of achieving Part E of Building Regulations.

Our proactive acoustic design service, takes into account the build-ability, programme time and material cost. We ensure the relevant parties are fully aware of the installation detail required, highlighting possible ‘onsite’ construction problems and their prevention to achieve a successful installation and building sign off.

PROACTIVE SITE SUPPPORT

Once we have completed the acoustic design report our services don’t finish there. We provide the site team with on-going design support. You will have direct contact with the allocated acoustician from the start of the process through to the successful completion of the project.

Once the part of the building is completed we can undertake sample sound testing to ensure the design and onsite construction methods are sufficient to achieve a Part E sound test compliance.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LABORATORY AND ONSITE SOUND TESTING

Unfortunately, it is very difficult to construct acoustic details to the stringent standards of the laboratory. When the construction assembly is tested in the lab, it is also certified and an exact description of the materials and the installation techniques are described in detail and followed to the letter, obviously this should be replicated on the your site as closely as possible. However, it is not always possible to replicate the exact conditions on the job-site compared to the ideal conditions normally present in a lab setting, which is the reason why a 5dB point difference is allowed between the construction design on paper and the actual on site construction performance.

NOISE FLANKING

To try and work out if you have flanking sound you first need to understand how the sound is travelling into your home. It may be coming directly through the separating partition, i.e. wall or floor or it may be coming along another indirect route – called a flanking path. The most common such flanking path is the inner leaf of an external cavity wall.

Problems with airborne and structure borne sound are often associated with direct flanking transmissions through floors and supporting walls and other associated structures. It is essential to establish if your problem is due to direct transmission, flanking transmission or a combination of both so that the most effective remedial treatment can be chosen. If you are unsure where the sound is getting through, then contact us as we should be able to identify the worst areas by undertaking sound testing on the problematic partitions.

NoiseFlankingWall

Unwanted noise travelling along flanking paths makes the building structure vibrate and this causes the sound to radiate into your room. One solution is to build another wall or ceiling in front of the original, but not connected to it (often called an independent wall or ceiling). APT can help to locate the flanking sound and propose a cost effective design that will satisfy Part E of Building Regulations.

If you would like more information in regards to sound testing please also follow our blog at: http://soundtestinguk.blogspot.co.uk/, or contact us at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or phone us on 07775623464 or visit our website at: www.aptsoundtesting.co.uk

OUR SOUND TESTING & NOISE SURVEY SERVICES

A SUMMARY OF OUR SOUND TESTING & NOISE SURVEY SERVICES.

Here at APT Sound Testing our clients often ask for a summary of our sound testing and noise survey services we undertake in compliance with Part E of Building Regulations . Here is a quick summary of our acoustic services:

We are UKAS accredited to carry out Sound Insulation testing for:

  • Houses and flats in compliance with Part E of the Building Regulations.
  • Houses & Flats in compliance with the Code for Sustainable Homes.
  • Classrooms within schools in compliance with BB93.
  • All commercial buildings in compliance with BREEAM.

We also carry out carryout various noise surveys to comply with the following:

  • Noise Surveys 8233 for Planning Applications.
  • Background Noise Surveys for Air Conditioning Plant.
  • Industrial Noise Surveys

The sound insulation levels required to pass Part E are usually 45dB for airborne wall and floors and 62dB for Impact Sound Testing on new build and 43dB for airborne wall and floors and 64dB for Impact for converted properties. Sometimes a higher target may be required in-line with the Code for Sustainable Homes; this is usually in defined in the following figures +3, 5 & 8dB. Obviously if you need to comply with the Code then special attention must be shown to the acoustic design from the offset. APT Sound Testing can help you to achieve this more robust design criteria. We can also help if your building fails the sound insulation testing by offering a targeted acoustic design solution saving time and potential costs.

sound testing

The amount of sound testing you require depends on the size of the development. All new build properties and conversions require 10% of each party wall/floor construction type to be tested, i.e. if you have 10 flats you would require 1 x 6 pack, this consists of 2 airborne wall, 2 airborne floor & 2 Impact sound tests. However if you have 11 units this would rise to 12 Sound Tests or 2 x 6 pack. Sometimes more tests may be required if you have many different types of walls and floors, however we will always try to propose the minimum testing required to comply with Part E.

Impact Sound Testing

We also offer planning noise surveys comply with BS8233 and BS4142, this allows us to provide all you acoustic requirements in one easy package; reducing cost and improving onsite co-ordination. Air Pressure Testing is UKAS accredited to undertake both Sound and Air Tightness Testing and is also accredited to ISO 17025:2005 ‘General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories’

 If you have a project that requires sound insulation testing and you are unsure how to comply with Part E of Building Regulations then contact us now, we can propose a sound testing schedule that should comply with Part E. If you are unsure of your projects acoustic requirements please click here at; info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or visit our website at www.aptsoundtesting.co.uk  or call us at 07775623464

PLANNING NOISE SURVEY GUIDANCE

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

POOR DWELLING LAYOUTS CAN CAUSE SOUND TESTING FAILURE.

POOR DWELLING LAYOUTS CAN CAUSE SOUND TESTING FAILURE.

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.

 Facade_Sound_Testing

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

LABORATORY SOUND TESTING COMPARED TO ONSITE SOUND TESTING

LABORATORY SOUND TESTING COMPARED TO ONSITE SOUND TESTING

We at APT often get asked why a design that has passed easily in the laboratory has struggled – and sometimes failed to pass the sound testing for Part E

Despite site contractor’s best endeavours, it is extremely difficult to build to the stringent exacting standards of the test laboratory. When the construction assembly is undertaken in the lab, it has gone through an exacting installation technique prior to the sound test, which is the reason why better sound testing levels are achieved.

Throughout the acoustic installation the manufacturer’s guidance is followed to the letter by the lab technicians. Although, this should be replicated on site, it seldom is and so a design which can be robust and well in excess of Part E requirements can lose 10dB or more compared to the results achieved in the laboratory. Unfortunately there are many reasons why this occurs and it’s usually down poor quality operatives and other on-site other issues such as cost, time and programming constraints come into play.

We have undertaken many sound tests where the acoustic design details showed the partitions should achieve in excess of 50dB, only for it to fail with sound test results below the required 45dB.  This is why a 7-9dB tolerance should be allowed between the dB rating of the acoustic solution and the onsite construction. Unfortunately, if cost constraints come into play and subsequent allowances aren’t made for the onsite acoustic performance there is a high probability it will fail the sound testing, which may lead to expensive remedial works as well as delayed handover which will be far more expensive in the long run.

sound testing

There are many reasons why the onsite construction results are worse than the laboratory,   issues such as such as using the wrong fixings and not installing the insulation to name but two. Either of these can easily lead to a sound test failure.

It is very important that acoustic installation details are closely followed to ensure that the onsite results are as close as possible to the laboratory target. We offer an acoustic design service, to help you achieve Part E compliance at the first attempt.

The following list explains what should be done to achieve a successful sound tests and Part E compliance:

  1. Ensure that the construction team is fully briefed of the acoustic details.
  2. Ensure that the manufactures installation booklet is on site at all times.
  3. Ensure that the Acoustic floor is fitted with staggered joints.
  4. If you are installing floating screed ensure all isolation layer joints are overlapped and taped.
  5. Ensure all the Acoustic floor is sealed watertight even around heating pipes.
  6. Do not nail or screw through an Acoustic Floor.
  7. Do not screws plaster board into joists, when using a Resilient Bar system.
  8. Ensure the insulation fills the whole width of void
  9. Pack around pipe work and double board with staggered joints.
  10. Ensure that the plasterboard on any walls is complete right down to within 5-10mm of the subfloor and seal all gaps.
  11. Ensure you use the isolation tape around the wall of each room.
  12. Ensure plasterboard is fitted with staggered layers and all joints sealed.
  13. If using Resilient Bars ensure that they are fitted as per manufacturer’s recommendations.
  14. Ensure all Fireplaces are blocked up with brick or a twin lined plasterboard system and filled with acoustic insulation.
  15. Ensure that any RSJ’s or supporting steel work is insulated and isolated from plasterboard.
  16. Ensure all waste pipe service runs are boxed in with insulation and plasterboard.
  17. Ensure all doors and windows are installed before the test is carried out, to stop noise transference.

APT offer an acoustic design service to make sure the acoustic elements are being installed as per the manufacturer’s guidelines, if you are worried about passing your sound testing at the first attempt please don’t hesitate to contact us now at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or visit our website at: www.aptsoundtesting.co.uk