Why do my Floors Squeak?

Why do my Floors Squeak?

We often receive complaints from clients in regards to their floors creaking. This is often because the Joists are often spaced too far apart, which can result in a reduction in floor stiffness. Over-notching of joists can also lead to a reduction in floor stiffness and also potential squeaking. Although the floors may pass the airborne and impact sound testing, however it won’t stop the squeaking of the floors under the extra load imposed by people walking above.

sound_transmission_through_floors

Other problems may be down to the contractor using 12mm floor boarding instead of 18mm to the top of the joists, again this may allow the boards to move and squeak. It may also be down to the chipboard not sitting level across the joists, this may down to the  joists being installed at slightly the wrong level or a joist hanger may have been hit or come loose during the build. If the joist has been built into the wall the bearing could be unsatisfactory. it may be as simple as a missing joist, or cut edge unsupported or an over span on the joists.

  • Incorrect bridging of resilient layer by over-long screws/nails
  • Fixings connecting ceiling boards to resilient bars should not bridge to joists
  • Extra wide joist spacing that reduces floor stiffness
  • Platform floor resilient layers damaged by inserting pipes and services within the layers
  • Reduction in stiffness due to use of joist hangers
  • Ceiling boards not staggered
  • Over-notching of joists for services reduces floor stiffness
  • Incorrect omission of flanking strips at floor edge perimeters.

In most cases, due to the complexity of acoustical and noise problems along with an overwhelming variety of material designs and combinations due to varying constructions, it is impossible to cover all problems in a short article such as this; however 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.

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

HOW MANY SOUND TESTS DO I NEED ON MY PROJECT

HOW MANY SOUND TESTS DO I NEED ON MY PROJECT

Our clients often ask ‘how many sound tests do I need on my project’? Part E stipulates that one set of sound tests needs to be undertaken for every ten flats or houses, provided the construction system is the same, if it’s not then you may be required to undertake a set of tests on each type of construction.

A set means 6  sound tests, this 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 this means 2 airborne wall, 2 airborne floor and 2 impact sound tests as a minimum wherever possible. Wherever possible tests must be undertaken between habitable spaces (e.g. bedrooms and living rooms. Here is a quick summary of the amount of tests required per type of project.

Semi-Detached Houses:

On a pair of semi-detached houses, two airborne sound insulation tests on a pair of separating walls would be required.

Sound_Testing_Semi_Detached_House

Flats (Up to 10 flats)

On flats a 6 Pack would normally be required, this would usually comprise of two airborne sound insulation tests on separating walls; two airborne sound insulation tests of separating floors and two impact sound transmission tests of separating floors.

Sound_Testing_Flats

Rooms for Residential Purposes (up to 10 Rooms)

On student accommodation, hotel rooms & care homes a set of tests would usually comprise of one airborne sound insulation test of a separating wall; one airborne sound insulation test on a separating floor and one impact sound transmission test of a separating floor

Sound_Testing_Hotels

If you are unsure of the amount of sound tests required on your development, please contact us now at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or call me direct on 07775623464.

Here is a link to our website www.aptsoundtesting.co.uk  which shows you our full range of services in compliance with the latest Building Regulations.

Tips to Pass your Sound Insulation Test

Tips to Pass your Sound Insulation Test

Our clients often get asked for tips in regards to passing their sound testing; here are a few tips to help you pass Building regulations Part E:

  • Ensure all penetrations are fully sealed where they terminate through floors and they are adequately boxed with acoustic quilt and two layers of plasterboard.
  • Avoid the use of lightweight blocks in the inner envelope construction as sound will travel both vertically and horizontally from dwelling to dwelling.
  • The use of resilient suspended ceilings will help improve the performance of the floor partition.
  • Ensure all support steels/timbers are carefully boxed out where they travel from flat to flat vertically and horizontally.
  • Use a high quality resilient acoustic membrane on top of the floor to improve the impact performance of a floor.
  • Ensure that you don’t position sockets back to back in acoustic partitions walls.

architect drafting a house blueprint

There are many factors to consider when considering good acoustic design, and they are usually split up into five key factors. If used together or in various combinations they will improve sound insulation properties over a wide range of frequencies. The main factors are:

  1. Mass
  2. Isolation
  3. Absorption
  4. Resilience
  5. Stiffness

Another potential problem can also be down to noise flanking transmission, especially in existing buildings where you are planning to convert offices/large houses into flats. Here are just a few of the potential noise flanking areas:

  1. Structural Steels
  2. Windows built very close to Internal partitions
  3. Inner leaf of the external wall
  4. External wall cavities
  5. External façade or outer leaf
  6. Roof structure

If you click on this link: http://blogyourbusiness.co.uk/designing-for-sound-testing-in-london/ it will take you to the corresponding article which should help explain this in more detail. Here is a link to our website www.aptsoundtesting.co.uk which shows you our full range of services in compliance with the latest Building Regulations. 🙂

If you would like more information on our acoustic services, please don’t hesitate to contact me at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or call me (Darren) direct on 07775623464.

Good Acoustic Design for Sound Testing

Good Acoustic Design for Sound Testing

To attain the standards stipulated within Building Regulations Part E, careful consideration should be shown to your buildings acoustic design  from the start of the project; however this requires different construction techniques and acoustic design detailing for new and build and conversion projects. With new build properties you have a blank canvas in terms of the overall design whereas conversions usually require you to work with the existing construction which can be quite difficult if the existing construction is not acoustically robust.

sound_transmission_through_floors

To try and overcome the problems with attaining Part E for your conversion project, we now offer an acoustic design package, which contains the following elements:

  1. Sample Sound Testing – of the existing construction. This offers an accurate overview of the acoustic performance of the existing partitions; this enables us to offer a targeted acoustic design using the sound insulation performance of the existing construction.
  2. Acoustic Design Review – a full design review of the proposed developments party walls and floors taking into account the performance characteristics of the existing construction as well as the buildability and materiel cost of the acoustic upgrade.
  3. 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.
  4. Final Precompletion Sound Testing  – in compliance with Building Regulations Part E to help achieve building control sign off.

We have undertaken hundreds of design reviews around London and the South East with our clients achieving  a 100% pass rate where the acoustic review has been followed. If you would like some more information in regards to our acoustic services and/or sound testing services please visit our website at info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk, or contact us at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or call me (Darren) direct on 07775623464.

 

Sound Testing to Comply with Lease Conditions

Sound Testing to Comply with Lease Conditions

Many people unknowingly fail to abide by the lease agreement as they may not know that there is usually a condition that states that they need to employ an acoustic company prior to making any changes to the floor of their apartment. The lease conditions often states that you need to undertake sound insulation testing prior to the commencement of works and upon completion of works.

In many cases their neighbour/s may complain that they can hear extra noise, this is often due to the fact that they may have changed the floor finish from carpet to wood. Unless extra acoustic design considerations are taken into account it usually results in an increase of extra airborne and impact noise being heard in unit below.

Sound_Testing_for_Lease_Agreements

Even if the floor assembly has been designed and constructed to provide adequate airborne isolation, impact noise can still be a major problem. If the finished floor surface had previously been carpet, the carpeting and underlay will normally provide a good degree of impact sound isolation. On the other hand, when the finished floor is floor is constructed in hardwood, stone or ceramic tile. Achieving good impact sound isolation requires much more attention.

If you think you may have a problem with sound in your dwelling and or you have encountered complaints from a neighbour due to modifications you have made to the floor partition then please contact us now. In all cases try be sure to describe the problem in as much detail as possible. Describe the nature of the sounds, when and where you or your neighbour can hear it. Is it impact noise or airborne noise or a combination of both? The more information you can provide us, the quicker we can try to determine the nature of the problem and subsequently find a solution.

In many cases, due to the complexity of acoustical and noise problems due to varying constructions, it is impossible to cover all problems in a short article such as this; however in our experience if we are employed from the beginning of a project, it usually results in compliance with Building Regulations Part E and /or compliance with your leasehold agreement, which may avert costly legal battles at the end of the project.

If you are about to make changes to your apartment, and you think you require acoustic design advice, then please contact us now at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk  or phone me directly on 07775623464.

 

Careful Acoustic Installation leads to Successful Sound Testing

Careful  Acoustic Installation leads to Successful Sound Testing

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. It is pointless having good acoustic design detailing if this is not carefully followed on site.

Acoustic_Design_Service

The following list explains what should during the onsite construction process to achieve a successful onsite 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.

We offer an acoustic design service which includes site visits 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 call Darren Direct on 07775623464.

The Difference Between Laboratory and Site Sound Testing

The Difference Between Laboratory and Site Sound Testing

Many suppliers of acoustic insulation products quote laboratory sound test results  to demonstrate the performance of their systems. This often causes considerable confusion regarding how well products will perform as there are usually large differences between the laboratory and site conditions. For instance laboratory sound tests do not take account of flanking sound and therefore produce sound insulation figures that would be very difficult to achieve on site.

sound testing

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 also a contributing factor 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 due to time constraints etc. and so a design which can be easily in excess of the requirements of approved document E, can often lose approx. 8-10dB compared to the laboratory results. Unfortunately there may be many reasons for poor sound test results such as poor quality site installation as well as other on-site issues where cost, time and programming constraints may come into play.

architect drafting a house blueprint

architect drafting a house blueprint

One important thing to consider is that most building structures will be subject to varying amount of flanking sound, so field sound test data should show the real performance of a system in a building. Laboratory sound insulation tests simply measure sound and do not account for flanking sound transmission.

If you are worried about your projects acoustic design and/or have questions about the precompletion sound testing, please don’t hesitate to contact us now at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or Darren direct on 07775623464. 

How to Improve your Sound Test Results

How to improve your Sound Test Results

If you have started a new or conversion development, it is important that from the offset you realise that you will need to comply with stringent sound insulation requirements of Approved Document E. Both new and converted residential dwellings use must meet the standards stipulated in Approved Document E. Part E states that the separating floor partition (floor between two separate dwellings) must achieve sound insulation figures of 45dB for airborne sound and 62dB for impact sound on all new builds and 43dB for airborne sound and 64dB for impact sound on converted dwellings; if you don’t achieve the aforementioned results then you will pass the sound testing. 

Building Control will expect you to demonstrate compliance with Approved Document E 2003 by undertaking an independent sound insulation test to prove that you have met the standards for sound insulation between dwellings.

Sound_Insulation_Testing_Equipment

The sound testing must only be carried out by either UKAS or ANC approved companies. If the sound tests are not carried out by approved compaines then Building Control may not accept the sound test report and subsequently it may need to be undertaken again by an approved company costing more time and money.

We are UKAS accredited to undertake sound insulation testing as well as air tightness testing. We offer design advice to help our client achieve Part E sign off. In some cases clients instruct us to proceed with the sound testing, without having carried our any acoustic upgrades or remedial works often resulting in their partitions failing the sound test.

Sound_Testing_Semi_Detached_House

If you are worried about passing your sound testing in London 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 or call Darren Direct on 07775623464.

Reducing the Chance of Sound Testing failures

Reducing the Chance of Sound Testing failures

The simplest way to reduce the chance of sound testing failures is through 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 at the end of the project.

We offer preconstruction design advice to help you achieve successful sound testing 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 it’s no use having good acoustic design if it not being installed properly on site.

architect drafting a house blueprint

Acoustic Design of Wall and Floor Partitions

The first stage of the acoustic design is to send through the design drawings – to include sections etc. We then review the design to check that the construction details proposed are capable of passing the sound tests. This usually takes place straight after planning has been approved as increased cost savings can be realised at the earliest stage, we will evaluate the construction methods and materials specified to ensure that they are capable of meeting the acoustic requirements of Approved document E. The typical areas we check are:

  1. There are no flanking points, where isolated partitions are wrongly mechanically fixed together to caused noise bridging.
  2. The walls and floors design are acoustically robust, to comply withBuilding Regulations Part E.
  3. The acoustic treatments for Soil Pipes, Stair Cases Steel Beams etc. to ensure they are acoustically fit for purpose, as these are some of the areas that get usually missed.
  4. Acoustic floor treatments are compatible with the proposed floor finishes i.e. Carpets, Laminates, Floor Tiles and under floor heating systems.

APT Sound Testing also provide on-going design support service, so you will have direct contact with the allocated acoustician from the start of the process through to the successful completion of the project. One of the most important services is the going site survey visits which allow our clients to feel confident about the outcome of testing at the end of the build. The site visits let us check that the installation teams are installing the acoustic materials as per manufacturers avoiding crucial onsite mistakes. You can often have a compliant design which still fails due to poor workmanship; the site survey visits negate the risk of sound test failure.

We also offer an acoustic advice service for clients that have failed their precompletion sound testing. We offer simple solutions to reduce the noise levels and achieve compliance with Part E. We can supply simple easy to follow acoustic design reviews, utilising our extensive knowledge of different materials and construction methods

If you require more information about acoustic design and/or sound testing on your project, please contact us now at info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or call Darren direct on 07775623464.

Sound Intrusion Though Windows

Sound Intrusion Though Windows

Sound intrusion though windows can also be a source of great annoyance if the sound is excessive, and in some cases developments have failed the sound insulation testing due to poorly specified and installed windows. Sound intrusion may be down to a variety of factors. If the windows are operable types, the first thing to check is to see if the widows close properly against their seals and any weather stripping is continuous and in good order. If the window leaks air, then more often than not it will usually leak sound. If the window closes to form a tight seal and the weather-stripping seems adequate the next thing to check is the window frame. Windows are frequently installed in to the wall opening with plastic shims to insure the unit is plumb and level. In high traffic areas you will normally require a double glazed unit as a minimum and in some cases a triple glazed unit will be required.

Sound_Intrusion_Through_Windows

The space between the frame and the wall should be insulated and sealed before the window casings are installed. If this was not done correctly you can probably detect the sound leakage by placing your ear close to the frame and listening. The sound may be able to run along the cavity and back into the adjacent property, It is case of letting your ears do the walking and listening. If you detect distinguishable differences in sound you may have found the problem; the solution will be to remove the casing and insulate and caulk all leaks. In some cases the thickness of the glass maybe the problem in which case it may be necessary to install another layer of glass on the inside of the existing frame making sure that the additional pane of glass is well sealed into the opening.

In some instances you may be able to lower excessive sound by installing a heavy curtain – especially if the house is in a conservation area and as a result the local authority will not let you change or upgrade the windows.

If you require more advice on your project and/or you require precompletion sound testing, please contact us at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk  or phone me directly on 07775623464.