Sound Testing Definitions and Terms (1 of 2)

Sound Testing Definitions and Terms (1 of 2) 

Sound testing is usually undertaken near the end of a project to show that the party wall and floor partitions meet the standards shown in Building Regulations Approved Document E.  The method for testing for airborne and impact sound insulation is in full accordance with: the suggested methods presented in BS EN ISO 140-parts 4 & 7: 1998. Sound tests are broken down into various rating methods. The sound insulation definition and terms are as follows:

What is Sound Insulation?

Sound is transmitted through most walls and floors by setting the entire structure into vibration. The higher the transmission loss of a wall, the better it functions as a barrier to the passage of unwanted noise. There are two types of sound insulation testing in buildings: airborne and impact.

Airborne Sound

This is sound caused by vibrations which transmit through a medium and reach the ear or some other form of detecting device. Sound is measured in loudness (decibels (dB)) and frequency (Hertz (Hz)). Airborne sound (or airborne noise) is sound that is transmitted through the air.

Noise_Problems_Failed_Sound_Testing

Impact sound

This is sound arising from the impact of an object on a building element – wall, floor, or ceiling. Typical sources are footsteps, jumping, and dropped objects. Impact sound transmission occurs because the impact causes both sides of the building element to vibrate, which generates sound waves.

Flanking Noise Transmission

Flanking is the transmission of sound from a source room to a receiving room by paths other than straight through the separating wall and/or floor partition. For example, impact sound may be transmitted from one room to another through a common timber floor. Other common mechanisms for flanking transmission include suspended ceilings, pipework, ducting, etc. Flanking sound is always present, except in the ‘ideal’ acoustics laboratory. In practice the sound insulation is often limited by the flanking transmission.

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

 

Sound Insulation Testing in London

Sound Insulation Testing in London

London is a massive city containing over 9 million people density and high rise apartments. With many living in this overcrowded environment it is essential that noise transference between adjoining properties in kept to a minimum for the occupant’s well-being. One way of ascertaining that a building is in compliance with Building Regulations Part E for the prevention of noise transference, is to undertake Sound Insulation Testing in London.

Sound_Testing_Flats

We have undertaken thousands of sound insulation tests throughout London and the South East on all types of projects from simple flat conversions to large developments containing hundreds of flats. We also undertake Sound Insulation Testing where a lease holder dispute has arisen, i.e. where the buildings lease stipulates that wooden floors should not be used instead of carpets and as a result of the change of floor finish the noise levels have increased – especially the impact noise. We can also undertake sample sound testing to highlight the existing noise levels so a targeted acoustic design can be undertaken.

Plate A – Tapping Machine for Impact Sound Testing

Impact Sound Testing

Currently we are also experiencing a rise in the amount of sound testing required to existing blocks of flats, such as existing council stock. This is hardly surprising as the amounts of noise complaints have more than doubled within the last 10 years due to residents experiencing excess noise between the dividing wall and floor partitions.  By utilising our extensive knowledge of different materials and construction we can forward a simple, explanative cost effective solution for wall and/or floor upgrade. Where our clients have followed our advice they have achieved a 100% success sound test pass rate ensuring compliance with Part E of Building Regulations.

APT Sound Insulation Testing offer both preconstruction and post construction design solutions if a project has failed the sound testing. We also offer onsite inspection services to ensure that the sound insulation elements are being installed as per manufactures guild-lines.

If your require pre-completion sound testing and/or you would like acoustic design advice on your project, please contact us now at info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk.

The Two Types of Sound Insulation Test

The Two Types of Sound Insulation Test

There are two types of sound insulation testing, Airborne and Impact.

Airborne sound testing is undertaken to walls & floors. Firstly a controlled noise is generated by an amplifier and loudspeaker across a broad range of frequencies. The generated noise is very loud and is often in excess of 100dB. Initial measurements are taken using a class 1 sound level meter within the ‘source room’ followed by further measurements in the ‘receiver room’ on the other side of the wall or floor under investigation. The source room speaker position is then changed and the measurements repeated either side of the partition under test.

Sound_Insulation_Testing_Equipment

Thereafter background noise measurements are made using a class 1 sound level meter in the receiving room and are used to apply appropriate corrections for external sound such as traffic noise. Similarly the reverberation time (the time taken for sound to decay by 60dB) is measured within the receiving room using the sound source and a sound level meter to determine the corrections that must be applied to account for the absorptive characteristics of the room.

The difference in the two airborne noise levels (for walls and floors), corrected for background and reverberation characteristics determines the airborne sound insulation performance of the wall, or floor. A greater airborne noise difference between the source room and the receiver room determines a higher airborne sound insulation performance.

The time taken to undertake sound testing varies from project to project as no site is exactly the same. Taking into account standard site conditions a set of tests on houses -two airborne walls will take one to two hours. A six pack of tests on flats – 2 airborne wall tests will usually take between one and two hours, although this is dependent on our engineers having full free uninterrupted access between all the units/rooms under investigation.

If you require sound insulation testing, or acoustic design advice then please contact us now at info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk  or phone me (Darren) directly on 07775623464.

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.

 

Sound Testing for Leasehold Compliance

Sound Testing for Leasehold Compliance

Clients often get in touch with us when they have run into trouble whilst undertaking refurbishments to their London apartments. In many cases they have a lease agreement that requires a sound insulation test be undertaken prior to the commencement of works and secondary sound testing upon completion of the works. Most people do not adhere to their lease agreements because they haven’t read the conditions which may result in very costly modifications to the finished floor finishes at the end of the project.

Noise_Problems_Failed_Sound_Testing

Many lease agreements contain something similar to the following conditions: ‘If the tenant wants to change the floor construction within his dwelling he shall’:

  • Commission an independent acoustic consultant to carry out a pre-installation test, design the new acoustic installation and carry out a post installation test and provide the results to the landlord’s surveyors for approval; and
  • Invite the Landlord’s surveyor to inspect the acoustic insulation before it is concealed; and
  • Accept that the Landlord, whilst granting this Licence, does not accept any responsibility for the design or performance of the insulation provided and that if any issues arise, the Tenant will address these immediately. In the event of reasonable complaint being upheld by the Landlord or his agent concerning noise affecting other Tenants within The Building, the Tenant will arrange for carpeting (the provision of which shall be determined by the Landlord) to be positioned and maintained at the Tenant’s sole cost.

To overcome potential problems and neighbour disputes we can undertake Sample Sound Testing of the existing construction. This offers an accurate overview of the acoustic performance of the existing floor partition/s prior to the commencement of construction works. we can then undertake an acoustic design review  to improve the performance of the existing floor partition – even if you are changing the floor finish from carpet (soft finish) to engineered timber floor (Hard finish) We can also undertake a site visit – This allows us to check that the installation team is installing the acoustic materials as per manufacturer’s guidelines. We can then undertake Precompletion Sound Testing in-line with Approved Document E. This provides an accurate overview of the acoustic performance of the upgraded partition/s, the results of which can be handed over to the relevant person for sign off.

If you are about to make changes to your apartment, and you think you may require Sound Testing for Leasehold Compliance and/or our acoustic test and design service, then please contact us now at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk  or phone Darren 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.