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.

Sound Testing Terminology (2 of 3)

Sound Testing Terminology (2 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 second of three blogs:

Façade Testing  – This Standard – ISO 140-5:1998) specifies the testing methods to evaluate the sound insulation in buildings and building elements for facades. Three rounds of a proficiency testing scheme for airborne sound insulation measurements have been performed according to the methods specified in the standard for a whole facade by using an external loudspeaker as the noise source.

sound testing equipment

Flanking element (flanking wall) – This is any building element that contributes to the airborne sound or impact transmission between rooms in a building which is not the direct separating element (i.e. not the separating wall or separating floor).

Flanking strip or edge strip – This is a resilient strip using foamed polyethylene normally 5 mm thick, which is located at the perimeter of a floor to isolate the floor boards from the walls and skirting.

Flanking transmission  – This is airborne or impact transmission between rooms that is transmitted via flanking elements and/or flanking elements in conjunction with the main separating elements. An example of a flanking element is the inner leaf of an external wall that connects to the separating ‘core’ of a wall or floor.

Flexible closer – This is a flexible cavity stop or cavity barrier which seals the air path in cavities linking adjoining dwellings.

Floating floor treatment (FFT) – This is a timber floating floor system which may use battens, cradles or platform base, all of which use a resilient layer to provide isolation from the base floor and adjacent wall elements.

Gypsum based plasterboard  – This is a dry lining board applied to walls, ceilings and within floating floor treatments which has gypsum content. It may also have fibre reinforcement within the board.

Impact sound – This is sound which is propagated from a noise source through a direct medium. An example of this is footfall on a floor.

Impact sound transmission – This is sound which is spread from an impact noise source in direct contact with a building element.

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

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.

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