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.

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.

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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

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

Sound Test Terminology (1 of 3)

Sound Test Terminology (1 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 first of three blogs:

Absorption – This is the conversion of sound energy into heat, often by the use of a porous material.

Absorbent Material – This is a material that absorbs sound energy, such as acoustic mineral wool.

Airborne sound – This is sound which is propagated from a noise source through the medium of air. Examples of these are speech and sound from a television

Airborne Sound Transmission – This is direct transmission of airborne sound through walls or floors. When sound energy is created in a room, for instance by conversation, some of the energy is reflected or absorbed by room surfaces but some may set up vibrations in the walls and floor. Depending on both the amount of energy and the type of construction, this can result in sound being transmitted to adjacent parts of the building.

Air Path – This is a void in construction elements, which adversely affects the performance of sound resisting construction. Examples of air paths include incomplete mortar joints, porous building materials, gaps around pipes and shrinkage cracks – this can also effect the air tightness results.

Bonded resilient cover – This is a thin resilient floor covering normally of minimum 3-5mm thickness, which is bonded to the isolated screed surface to reduce impact sound transmission such as footfall noise, however it has a lesser effect when it comes to airborne noise.

Cavity stop – This is a proprietary product or material such as mineral wool (fibre) used to close the gap in a cavity wall.

Composite Resilient Batten – This is composed of a timber batten with a pre-bonded resilient material to provide isolation between the flooring surface layers and floor base.

Cradle/Saddle – This is an intermediate support system (with a resilient layer base, either pre-bonded or already integral) using levelling packer pieces to support a timber batten, isolating it from the floor base.

Acoustic_Ceiling_Upgrade

Decibel (dB) – This is the unit used for different acoustic quantities to indicate the level with respect to a reference level.

Density (kg/m3) – This is the mass per unit volume, expressed in kilograms per cubic metre (kg/m3). Blockwork is commonly referred to by industry in terms of strength (in Newtons). However, it is the density that has the important role in terms of sound insulation.

Direct transmission refers to the path of either airborne or impact sound through elements of construction.

DnT,w – This is the weighted standardized level difference. A single-number quantity (weighted) which characterises the airborne sound insulation between two rooms, in accordance with BS EN ISO 717-1:1997

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

Simple Design Solutions to Pass Part E Sound Testing

Simple Design Solutions to Pass Part E Sound Testing

There are many simple solutions to reduce the noise levels and achieve compliance with Part E sound testing. We can provide easy to follow acoustic design reviews, utilising our extensive knowledge of different materials and construction methods.

Our clients often convert large houses into multiple flats, i.e. a flat on each of the ground, 1st and 2nd floors. They usually leave the floor boards in place and install a layer of plasterboard to the underside of the existing plasterboard/lathe and plaster. Unfortunately this simple type of upgrade usually achieves 30dB for airborne sound, which will result in sound testing failure. The sound test result needs to be 43db and above for airborne noise and 70dB for Impact sound.

Failed_sound_Testing_Due_to_existing_floor_Construction_

One simple solution to overcome the above problem would be to add another ceiling element to the overall construction. This can be achieved by incorporating resilient metal bars which are connected to the underside of the joists and mounted perpendicular (90˚) to the joist direction. If plasterboard has already been tacked to the underside of the joists you can firstly add timber batten and then add the resilient bars, also mounted perpendicular (90˚ to the batten, thereafter 2 x 12.5mm layers of soundboard can be tacked to the underside of the resilient bar and an acoustic insulation added to the newly formed void. In between the joist void add 100mm acoustic insulation. Above the floor boards add an acoustic resilient membrane to lower the chance of impact noise transmitting down to dwelling below.

Acoustic_Ceiling_Upgrade

The aforementioned acoustic design solution will usually result in successful sound testing and compliance with Approved Document Part E.

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.

SOUND INSULATION TESTING in LONDON

Sound Insulation Testing in London

APT Sound Testing have a massive amount of experience when it comes to undertaking  sound insulation testing in London. We have the necessary know how and onsite experience to carry out sound insulation testing on a new build or conversion project throughout London for a most competitive prices.

Our engineers carry out the airborne and impact sound test measurements in compliance with Part E of Building Regulations. We have previously undertaken hundreds of sound tests to new build and conversion projects. we also undertake detailed design reviews to ensure our clients achieve a successful sound test.

NoiseFlankingWall

Our engineers also understand the extra coordination that’s required to test within central London, whether its restricted access and/or parking we have it covered. Many other companies that are based outside London literally double their fees when undertaking sound testing in the capital; as we have an office in London we can afford to charge the same flat fee as we do across the rest of the UK.  Also as we are based in London we can usually arrive on site at the agreed time which often minimises delays to planned noisy works on site. We aim to arrive early and leave early.

We undertake London sound testing on all types of projects from simple flat conversions to large new apartment block developments containing many hundreds of flats. We also undertake sound testing where a lease holder dispute has arisen, which is quite common in London. We can undertake sample sound testing to highlight the existing sound insulation performance of the dividing wall and/or floor partitions to allow for targeted acoustic design to keep cost and delays to a minimum.

If you would like more information on our London Sound Insulation Testing package please contact us now at info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or call me directly on 07775623464.

Acoustic Design Considerations

Acoustic Design Considerations

In our experience you need to take into account the acoustic design from the offset of the project, failing to do so usually results in sound test failure; if you do, it usually results in successful pre-completion testing in compliance with Building Regulations Part E.

In many cases, sound test failure can also be down to the poor workmanship rather than the actual design, that is why we offer a full acoustic design package which includes for site survey visits; that way we have the acoustic design and ongoing onsite construction covered, reducing the chance of sound test failure.

ACOUSTIC_DESIGN

There are many Design Considerations, here are a few of the most important:

  • 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 all penetrations are fully sealed where they terminate through floors and they are adequately boxed with acoustic quilt and two layers of plasterboard.

For peace of mind, many of our clients choose our complete acoustic design package, which contains the following elements:

  • Site Survey Visits – to let us view the existing site construction.
  • Sample Sound Testing – of the existing construction. This offers an accurate overview of the acoustic performance of the existing partitions.
  • Acoustic Design Review – a full design review of the proposed party floors and walls.

If you have a project that’s needs acoustic design advice or sound testing in London, then please contact us at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or phone us directly on 07775623464.

I Have Passed The Sound Testing So Why Do I Have Squeaking Floors

I Have Passed The Sound Testing So Why Do I Have Squeaking Floors

One potential problem with floors is that they can squeak after they have been installed. This is often down to the fact that Joists are often spaced too far apart which can result in a reduction in floor stiffness and complaints about footstep noise at low frequencies. Over-notching of joists can also lead to a reduction in floor stiffness and also potential squeaking. Although  the projects partitions may have passed impact sound tests, the annoying  squeaking sound may persist due to the extra loads imposed to the floor partition by people walking above.

Noise_Problems_Failed_Sound_Testing

To help with pass the impact sound test timber floors a resilient membrane is often incorporated into the overall floor design. This not only assists impact sound insulation (against footstep noise transference) but also reduces airborne sound transference.

Timber floating floors, must use a flanking strip to isolate the floorboards from the perimeter walls and skirting’s. If flanking strips are not fitted then footstep noise can easily enter the structure via walls etc. and subsequently flank into the adjacent dwellings. In the 1980s, mineral wool was used as a flanking strip but it was difficult to turn round at the floorboard edge. It was also prone to deterioration due to compression and movement under dynamic load. As a direct result of this, 5–10mm polyethylene flanking strips were incorporated into the acoustic design and construction, they are also easier to install and do not degrade over time to the same extent.

There are many reasons why floors may fail the sound testing, such as the use of incorrect mechanical fixing can reduce the insulation performance provided by floating floor treatments and resilient ceiling bars. Using very long screws will lead to bridging of the resilient layers and noise flanking. Inserting pipes or services within a platform floor can reduce the potential acoustic performance if they are not adequately boxed.  The placing pipes or cables under resilient battens can also bridge the resilient layer.

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 me direct 07775623464.