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

Good Acoustic Design

Good Acoustic Design to Pass Your Sound Insulation Testing

We have carried our hundreds of acoustic design reviews and sound insulation tests, so we are well placed to help you overcome any potential problems to achieve compliance with Building Regulations Part E.

It is essential that good acoustic design is actioned from the offset of any new construction project. When designing acoustic partitions you will need to consider the following

architect drafting a house blueprint

  1. The careful design of floor plans to avoid habitual rooms being placed side by side.
  2. The mass and density of products that you are using.
  3. Using good design detailing to ensure the careful isolation of materials.
  4. The whole construction detail and how it is made up.
  5. Undertaking careful acoustic detailing of junctions between walls, ceilings and floors.
  6. Using acoustic wall ties in cavity walls.
  7. Types of doors in sound resisting walls.
  8. Containment of noise within noisy parts of a building such as lift shafts.
  9. Positions of sockets and flues on opposite sides of walls to ensure they don’t sit back to back.
  10. Sealing and filling of joints.
  11. The use of cavity closer’s on window/door reveals.
  12. Careful sealing of service penetrations.
  13. Designing to reduce potential reverberation in common parts of buildings such as corridors and entrance areas and the subsequent use of absorbent materials.

Unfortunately unless the acoustic design has been taken into account, the floor and ceiling partitions can be the main pathways for sound transmission.  The first type of sound transmission is airborne sound such as TV and speech; and the second is the passage of impact sounds such as footfall or children’s toys being dropped on the floor above.  Achieving good airborne and impact sound isolation requires careful acoustic design considerations.

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 testing providing a ‘one stop’ solution for all your acoustic requirements.

If you would like more information in regards to good acoustic design and/or 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

 

Sound Insulation Testing in London

Sound Insulation Testing in London

Unless plans were fully approved prior to 1 July 2003, sound insulation testing will be required on your London development between rooms or spaces that share a common area of separating wall and/or floor as stipulated in Building Regulations Part E for the passage of sound. Sound insulation Testing is not generally required for internal walls and floors within a dwelling-house, flat or room for residential purposes; however all internal partitions should be designed to achieve 40dB.

The buildings that 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.

The main aim of Sound testing in London is to ensure that minimum standards of sound resistance have not been compromised by poor workmanship and/or poor design. You are normally required to undertake sound testing to each type of construction, i.e. if you have a mixture of brick, blockwork, timber and metal studwork walls all four types would need to be tested, followed by a 10% sample of that type using the equipment shown in Plate A below.

Plate A – Our Sound Test Equipment.

sound testing equipment

For instance, if you have a project with 25 flats you would be required to do 3 x 6 pack of tests; each 6 pack contains 2 airborne wall, 2 airborne floor and 2 impact sound tests; however if any test failures occur, then the number of sound tests may need to increase on the development. When sound test failures occur, then the design and construction of the failed partitions will need to be revisited to try and evaluate the reasons for the failure; thereafter, agreement can be reached on how to rectify problem.

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 testing providing a ‘one stop’ solution for all your acoustic requirements.

If you would like more information in regards to sound insulation 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

Noise Damping to Improve Sound Testing

Noise Damping to Improve Sound Testing 

Noise damping is the most efficient and effective ways to control vibration and noise radiation at the source. Damping materials lessen this noise by turning the vibration into a low-grade heat. By using viscoelastic materials, it changes the resonant frequency of a substrate. By combining vibration damping materials and sound absorbers a composite acoustic construction can be achieved, that can control both airborne and structure borne noise – the final element for good soundproofing.

acoustic_wall_upgrade

It is worth noting that a  large number of manufacturers now produce a wide range of systems designed to improve sound insulation in homes and commercial buildings. In all instances, the effectiveness of these materials will vary depending on the situation in which they are installed. When choosing the acoustic product/s, detailed information on the likely sound insulation performance should be requested from the supplier. If you have an existing property you should check the existing construction of the dividing wall/floor partitions and work back from there. You are advised to give careful consideration to the data supplied by a manufacturer before using a proprietary product. it is also worth noting that the sound insulation value/s given for each product will be ‘best case’ as they have been tested in laboratory conditions and not on site – this is usually worse result by up to 3-5 dB) which may be the difference between a sound test pass or failure.

acoustic_floor_roll_

Also when undertaking remedial work to improve the sound insulation, the acoustic materials are often quite heavy which may result in considerable weight being added to the structure of a property. Thus it is essential to check that the ceiling or floor joists can carry the increased loads satisfactorily.

So in a nutshell if you allow for the following four main elements of sound insulation on your acoustic partition design; Decoupling, Absorption, Mass and Damping, your development should pass the sound insulation test at the first attempt.

If you would like more information in regards to acoustic design and sound insulation testing, please contact us now at info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or call Darren direct on 07775623464.

Adding Mass to Improve Sound Insulation

Adding Mass to Improve Sound Insulation

Adding mass to improve sound insulation can be one of the most important elements to improving precompletion sound testing results. In summary it basically means you add extra weight/mass to the construction of the acoustic wall and/or floor partition. Materials such as solid block-work masonry is best for wall construction; however it is very important that the block-work envelope is constructed out of solid concrete block work as the use of lightweight block work often ends in sound test failure.

Sound_Insulation_Test_London

 For floor construction, solid concrete floors – min 150mm) are usually the best construction for outright mass; however soundboard, plywood and OSB can be found fairly cheaply and will also do the job – if installed as per manufacturer’s guidelines. It is very important that adequate site supervision is on hand to check the construction of all acoustic partitions.

It is basic physics, so for sound to conduct through a wall, it has to actually move (vibrate) the wall ever so slightly. As a heavier wall is harder to move than a lighter wall then it should vibrate less and turn let through less noise. Soundboard is one of the lowest cost sources of mass available and also one of the most commonly used. Wherever possible its best to use two layers of 12.5mm board with the correct laps to the boards. Although the wall will still vibrate it will be less due to the extra mass.

It’s worth noting that although the added mass improved things and it will be more difficult for sound to move this heavier wall, in many instances you will still hear low frequencies (bass noise) quite easily.

Our next blog covers the last – but not least) element of acoustic design – Damping. If you would like more information in regards to acoustic design and sound insulation testing, please contact us now at info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or call Darren direct on 07775623464.

Noise Absorption

Noise Absorption

It is usual for air cavities to resonate, such as the cavity within a timber wall. For instance if you blow across the top of a bottle and heard the sound, it sounds much louder; this is the trapped air resonating. In a similar way a hollow wall will also trap air that will resonate. When the wall is vibrated by loud sound such as a neighbour’s loud music of TV, the air in the wall cavity will vibrate just like a drum. Unfortunately this air cavity is another means for sound vibration to travel from one side of the acoustic partition wall to the other. So even though the wall framing may be decoupled, the vibrating air cavity may still transmit some sound through the wall between the wall studs. Acoustic fiberglass insulation will absorb some of this (absorption).

installing_acoustic_wool

In all instances acoustic Insulation should help the overall sound insulation test result, and should always be installed if possible. Although the vibration reduction is smaller than the other 3 elements it is still very important.  The key is to keep the density low, so don’t try to compress or pack the insulation as the vibration may use this to bridge the construction.

So to summarise we have now managed to de-couple and insulated the acoustic wall framing, which has helped to stop much of the vibration, but unfortunately not all of it. So what else can we do? – add mass of course. A full explanation of how mass can help your sound test results can be found in the next blog.

If you require any information on our acoustic design and/or sound test services, please contact us at info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or call Darren on 07775623464.

Decoupling of Materials

Decoupling of Materials

There are many things to consider with your acoustic design and construction, one of the first – and most important) is the decoupling of materials or also know as isolation of materials. Sound travels easily along direct construction pathways, i.e. if the construction is made up of a wooden wall frame with a layer of plasterboard fixed to either side, with this type of construction the sound has a solid mass of materials to travel across. If we “decouple the materials” it reduces the pathway for vibration and the sound levels drop accordingly.

When we design for acoustic partition construction we obviously want less sound vibration to travel from one side of the wall to the other. It is therefore hugely beneficial if we can decouple the partition framing in our walls and ceilings. Decoupling is a simple, inexpensive and highly effective way to improve the sound insulation results for Building Regulations Part E.  .

There are many types of decoupled construction that in turn offer varying degrees of separation of the drywall on one side from the drywall on the other side. For instance the image below shows a twin wall construction which is far superior to a single stud wall. if you require good sound test results, this is one of the best types of construction.

decoupled_wall_construction

By decoupling the wall studs limits by providing a cavity or break between the two walls reduces the vibration trying to conduct through the wall. although this will improves the airborne results, other improvements will still be required.  So although our decoupled framing system reduces a good deal of vibration, we need to continue to the other 3 elements, absorption, mass, and to damping to reduce the noise more effectively.

Our next blog will consider absorption and how it can make a  large difference to sound test results. If you would like more information to acoustic design and/or sound insulation testing please contact us at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or call Darren on 07775623464.

The Main Sound Proofing Elements

The main Sound Proofing Elements

Coupled Wall Construction

We often get asked ‘how can we improve our soundproofing on our development. The first thing to understand is the basic of soundproofing design and construction. If you understand the basics, you’ll have a more educated view point in regards to the way sound and vibration behaves within your new dwellings. Basically, we want to stop sound and vibration through the walls and floors of your development and one of the best ways of doing this is avoiding coupled wall construction. In general, we are trying to stop vibrations from getting to “your” side of the wall or ceiling.

The plate below shows a typical wall and noise problems associated with it. With this type of construction noise transference is a big problem. If there is even moderate levels of noise on one side of the wall the chances are you will hear it.

coupled_wall_construction

If you look at the red arrows in the above diagram it clearly shows how sound is conducted from one side of the wall to the other. As the wall elements are firmly fixed against each other, i.e. the plasterboard is rigidly connected to the timber, the vibration conducts straight through the whole wall construction.

If you look at the blue waves this indicates airborne transmission. The plasterboard is vibrating back and forth which produces a sound wave in the wall cavity. This, in turn, vibrates the plasterboard on the opposite side of the wall. the whole construction acts like a  huge diaphragm or like a large speaker with both sides of the wall vibrating in unison, which is not ideal.

Our next blog will explain how we can reduce noise transmission by decoupling the wall construction. if you would like more information on our sound testing or acoustic design services please contact us now at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or call Darren direct on 07775623464.