Simple Acoustic Floor and Wall Upgrades

Simple Acoustic Floor and Wall Upgrades 

There are many quick and simple acoustic wall and floor upgrades to help you achieve compliance with Build Regulations Part E. One of the easiest wall solutions is to install a 70mm met-sec partition in front of the existing wall abutting dwellings. Firstly leave approx. 25mm gap between the back of the met-sec and the existing wall. Then install 50mm acoustic wool to the inside of the met-sec and add two layers of soundboard to the outside of the met-sec frame, ensuring all boards are properly lapped and ensure the perimeter joints are kept back from the surrounding construction and filled with acoustic mastic. Also make sure that all sockets etc. are placed in a different position to the sockets on the other side of the wall to prevent noise transference.

Acoustic_Ceiling_Upgrade

To reduce airborne and impact sound transmission through the floor, one simple solution is to add a timber baton to the bottom of the joists. Then add an acoustic resilient hanger. To the inside of the newly formed void add an AW 25 Isowool acoustic insulation. To the underside of the hangers install 2 x 12.5mm layers of soundboard. Allow for the correct laps in the plasterboard and and ensure the perimeter joints are kept back from the surrounding wall construction. Add AW100 Isowool to the centre joist void and to the top of the joists install 18mm flooring. To the top of the flooring add a 4mm resilient matt.

The above Air and Wall solutions should help your project comply with Approved Document E for Sound Testing in London. If you have a project that’s needs acoustic design advice or needs sound insulation testing then please contact us at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk and we should be able to offer you an expedient acoustic solution to help you achieve practical completion.

Noise Flanking Can Lead to Sound Test Failure

Noise Flanking Can Lead to Sound Test Failure

Noise flanking can be a huge problem and one of the main causes of excessive sound transmission. If your project fails the sound testing, more often than not noise flanking will be the culprit.

To get an understanding for why the acoustic partitions are performing poorly a detailed diagnosis and invasive investigation, such as the removal of some of the wall and floor partitions will usually need to take place. In many cases a large amount of noise flanking is due to serious design faults such as the use of lightweight blocks in the construction of the walls in an apartment development, this allows the sound to travel along the walls and floors from dwelling to dwelling. In many cases a wall and/or floor partition may have a very good acoustic design and construction; however the partition will still fail as the sound is travelling along a noise flanking path.

Sound_Insulation_Test_London

We often get asked what ate the main reasons noise flanking on new and existing dwellings, in our experience they are:

  1. Where lightweight blocks used in the inner envelope construction. This allows sound to travel along the lightweight blocks both vertically and horizontally from dwelling to dwelling.
  2. Through dividing floors if there is lack of mass or acoustic insulation has not been installed and/or or direct fixing of plasterboard and/or floorboards to joists without using a resilient ceiling construction and/or floating floor.
  3. Through Windows if they are no double glazed or have secondary glazing as a minimum
  4. Through Fixtures & fittings such as light switches, telephone outlets and TV cable ducts where they sit back to back against the adjoining property.
  5. Along structural joints along the perimeter wall and floor joint. These areas should be filled with acoustic mastic)
  6. Structural steels that run through one property to the other without material isolation, i.e. plasterboard is screwed directly to the steel offering little or no noise isolation.

There are many quick and simple solutions to improve the acoustic performance of dividing wall partitions. One of the easiest wall solutions is to install a met-sec partition in front of dividing partition.

If you have a project that’s needs acoustic design advice or needs sound insulation testing then please contact us at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk. We should be able to offer you an expedient acoustic solution to help you achieve practical completion.

SOUND TESTING FOR LONDON

SOUND TESTING FOR LONDON

London is a massive city containing in excess of 5 million dwellings, many sharing wall and floor partitions. In this noisy environment it is essential that good acoustic design and construction is incorporated into all new and refurbishment projects along with sound testing for London.

To try and help enforce good acoustic design principles, pre-completion sound testing was introduced in July 2003 to comply with new Approved Document E. The new building regulations required 10% of each party wall/floor construction type to be sound tested on all new build and conversion properties.

We have undertaken thousands of sound tests on converted properties in London and in our experience if the partitions haven’t received any acoustic upgrades the wall and floor partitions – as per the plate below) normally achieve approx. 30-35dB for airborne sound and 68-74dB for Impact Sound. Obviously these figures fall well short of the required 43dB & 64dB as stipulated in Approved Document E. Also, it’s worth taking into account that sound doubles every 10dB, so 30-35dB for airborne sound and 68-74dB for impact sound would be massive failures and careful acoustic design and construction upgrades would be required.

Detail 1: Existing Floor Partitions (rated at approx. 30-35dB)

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Using our many years’ experience in building acoustics, we are able to offer a total design and testing solutions for new and conversion projects. We help many architects and top 10 construction companies with their acoustic design requirements from the largest developments containing hundreds of units through a pair of semi-detached dwellings. We always endeavour to find the best solution, always taking build-ability and cost into consideration.

If it’s a conversion project and you are unsure of the floor/wall construction, we often recommend our ‘sample sound testing service. Firstly, we visit site and undertake sample sound testing to at least one floor and wall partition, is consists of at least one airborne and impact test to the proposed dividing floor and an airborne test to the dividing wall. Once the sound test results are established we can then offer a targeted acoustic design solution to achieve a successful sound test in London in compliance with Approve Document E.

Whatever the problem we can usually find an acoustic solution that will help you achieve Building Regulation compliance  If you have a project that’s needs acoustic design advice or needs sound insulation testing then please contact us at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk

Preparing Your Project For Sound Testing

Preparing Your Project For Sound Testing

There are many important things to remember as you near completion on your project, one of which is to adequately prepare your London project for Sound Testing. This means that the dwellings and the ‘habitable rooms’ i.e. living rooms and bedrooms should be the final finishing stage – usually a week or two prior to completion.

Sound_Insulation_Test_London

To help our clients prepare for compliance with Approved Document Part E throughout London, we have provided a site preparation checklist – shown below. It’s worth noting that where items are not in place this will negatively affect the sound insulation performance of the dwellings:

  1. Internal & external doors and windows must be hung, glazed & close-able on the latch.
  2. Trickle vents and other ventilation systems should be fitted and closed.
  3. All wall, floors & ceiling constructions must be completed
  4. Skirting boards and cornice should all be completed
  5. Electrical sockets, TV Aerial sockets & light switches should be fitted
  6. Rooms must be clear of building materials, tools & unfurnished
  7. No cosmetic floor coverings should be fitted (i.e. laminate, carpet, vinyl, ceramics)
  8. No noisy operations such as drilling, cutting or ground-works to occur nearby during testing
  9. Provision of 240v 50Hz mains power is required within all the dwellings under test 110v cannot be used.

To attain compliance with Approved Document E one set of tests needs to be undertaken for every ten flats or houses provided the construction system is the same. A set means that the test should include two locations where the party element (wall or floor) is tested. This is equivalent to two individual tests when assessing the performance of a wall – airborne performance only) and four individual tests when assessing a floor (two airborne and two impact tests).

All sound insulation tests must be undertaken between habitable spaces (e.g. bedrooms, living rooms) and not to or from common spaces such as stairwells and corridors. Approved Document E 2003 states that a minimum of 10% of all party walls and floors is sound tested for every construction group or sub-group; however, where variations in the construction such as a different wall and/or floor type then further testing may be required.

APT Sound Testing provides a full range of Sound Testing in London in compliance with Approved Document E. if you would like more information please contact us at info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or call me direct on 07775623464.

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.

The Two Types of Floor Noise

The Two Types of Floor Noise

Under Building Regulations Part E there are two distinct types of floor noise to consider; they are:

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

By utilising our extensive knowledge of different materials and construction Even if both types of sound appear to be are excessive through the ceiling/floor, then there are some easy acoustic design upgrades that should reduce the sound levels and improve your sound test results. By utilising our extensive knowledge of different materials and construction we can forward a simple, cost effective solution for wall and/or floor upgrade. Where our clients have followed our advice they have achieved a 100% success rate for sound insulation testing – ensuring compliance with Part E of Building Regulations.

noise_flanking

The sound testing procedure is quite simple and our engineer will be happy to explain this on site. Essentially, for party walls there is one type of sound insulation test which is airborne sound test and for compartment floors there are two types of sound insulation tests which are airborne and impact sound insulation tests. The airborne sound insulation test is carried out by means of a loudspeaker emitting a steady source of noise on one side of the partition (wall or floor) to be measured. The corresponding sound level is measured on the other side of the partition. Impact sound insulation tests are carried out by means of a tapping machine placed on the floor sample to be measured and the noise measured in the room or space below

All our engineers carry out the sound test measurements in full accordance with the measurement procedures of BS EN ISO 140-4:1998[3] for field measurements with a single figure DnTw and LnTw in accordance with BS EN ISO 717. As per the new regulations the Spectrum Adaptation Ctr which is a correction factor calculated from the measured DnT.w and the corresponding third octave band DnT values.  It uses a set of weighting levels in third octave bands derived from a road traffic noise spectrum.  It is applied to airborne test results and is measured in dB.

We can carry out final pre-completion sound testing on all new build or conversion projects throughout London. If you would like advice on your acoustic design or sound testing please contact us now at info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or call me now 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