The Pathway to Good Acoustic Design

The Pathway to Good Acoustic Design 

There are many important acoustic design considerations when designing for apartment blocks, which require both airborne wall and floor and impact floor testing. here are a few of the main considerations:

  • 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.

Sound_Testing_Flats

By simply constructing a good separating wall or floor this may not in itself provide sufficient sound insulation to comply with Building Regulations Part E as the junctions of each separating wall and/or floor with other parts of the building are as equally important. One of the main problems with partition failure is down to noise flanking, this can occur via construction components such as:

  • The internal partitions
  • The inner leaf of the external wall
  • The external wall cavities
  • The external façade or outer leaf
  • The roof structure
  • The foundations.

The overall design and construction system should therefore be considered and not just the separating wall or floor partitions.  Flanking sound transmission may in some cases be the dominant pathway between adjoining dwellings, especially in existing buildings where you are planning to convert offices/large houses into flats.

architect drafting a house blueprint

architect drafting a house blueprint

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

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.

Acoustic Terminology M-S

Acoustic Terminology M-S

Our previous blog explained the  of acoustic terminology, this blog covers  M-S.

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.

If your project requires some acoustic design input and/or sound insulation testing please don’t hesitate to contact us at info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or call Darren direct on 07775623464 or visit our website at: www.aptsoundtesting.co.uk

Acoustic Terminology F – L

Acoustic Terminology F – L 

Our previous blog explained the C-F of acoustic terminology, this blog further covers F – L.

Following on from our previous blogs which gave a brief description of

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 skirtings.

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.

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.

If you have a project that requires our acoustic design service and/or sound insulation testing please contact us at info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or youhone Darren Direct on 07775623464. You can also visit our website at: www.aptsoundtesting.co.uk

 

Acoustic Terminology A-B

Acoustic Terminology A-B

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 along with a quick explanation:

 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.

Acoustic_Site_Survey

If you have a project that requires acoustic design and/or sound testing please let us know. APT Sound Testing will ensure you will have direct contact with the allocated acoustician from the start of the process, through to the successful completion of the sound insulation testing.

If you would like more information in regards to acoustic services, please contact us at info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or visit our website at: www.aptsoundtesting.co.uk

Good Acoustic Design Considerations

Good Acoustic Design Considerations

In our experience careful consideration to acoustic design should be undertaken from the start of the project, if this process is followed it usually results in successful precompletion sound testing in compliance with Building Regulations Part E.

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

sound testing equipment

Here are some simple acoustic design tips:

  • Ensure all penetrations are fully sealed where they terminate through floors and they are adequately boxed with acoustic quilt and two layers of plasterboard.
  • Use resilient acoustic hangers within the ceiling design to provide isolation between materials.
  • Avoid the use of lightweight blocks in the inner envelope construction as sound will travel both vertically and horizontally from dwelling to dwelling.
  • 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.

In our experience by simply designing and constructing a good separating wall or floor it may not provide sufficient sound insulation to comply with Building Regulations Part E as the junctions of each separating wall and/or floor with other parts of the building are as equally important. One of the main problems with partition failure is down to noise flanking, this can occur via construction components such as:

  • The internal partitions
  • The inner leaf of the external wall
  • The external wall cavities
  • The external façade or outer leaf
  • The roof structure
  • The foundations.

Flanking sound transmission may in some cases be the dominant pathway between adjoining dwellings, especially in existing buildings where you are planning to convert offices/large houses into flats and lightweight materials have been used in the wall construction. If the acoustic consultant has not been made aware of the existing construction it may increase the chance of sound testing failures.

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.

Acoustic Design Service

Acoustic Design Service

The importance of good acoustic design and construction should not be under estimated. If a project fails its precompletion sound testing it may need costly remedial works to comply with Building Regulations Part E.

On new build developments we offer comprehensive acoustic design via coordination with the lead consultant. We can also visit site during the construction process to undertake a detailed site survey visit to check the onsite construction is as per the construction details – this is often good to ensure the relevant parties are fully aware of the installation detail required, which in turn may highlight possible ‘onsite’ construction problems.

Acoustic Design Service in London 

Acoustic_Site_Survey

On conversion projects we can visit site and undertake sample sound testing, this will evaluate the performance of the existing floor and wall partitions, which allows for targeted acoustic design as the acoustic performance of the dividing partitions may be already good –  especially if the buildings floors are constructed out of cast in situ concrete.

APT Sound Testing  provides a consultancy design service to Architects, Property Developers and Building Contractors. We specialise in helping small developers pass their sound testing to achieve Part E compliance for all types of project such as new build properties, blocks of flats and conversions.

Sound_Testing_Flats

Many of our clients have previously conveyed negative feedback that larger acoustic consultancies don’t understand small builder requirements and subsequently often produce complicated acoustic design detailing that are both difficult (in terms of build-ability) and very costly to undertake. We try to provide acoustic solutions that are cost effective and easy to construct, saving our clients time and money.

If you would like more information in regards to our acoustic design service and/or sound testing please follow our blog at: http://soundtestinguk.blogspot.co.uk/, or contact us at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or visit our website at: www.aptsoundtesting.co.uk

 

Sound Testing for Leasehold Agreements

Sound Testing for Leasehold Agreements

One of the main reasons for neighbour disputes is down to the fact that floor modifications may have taken place without the flat owner, first consulting his/her leasehold agreement. In many cases the lease agreement contains something similar to the following conditions:

Sound Testing through Floors

Part-E-Sound-Testing

‘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;

We offer a comprehensive acoustic service to let our clients comply with their leasehold agreements.

  • Pre-works 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. It also enables us to offer a targeted acoustic design using the sound insulation performance of the existing construction.
  • Acoustic design review – once we have the performance figures from the sample sound testing have been established, we can forward a design that should improve the performance of the existing floor partition – even if you are changing the floor from a carpet to engineered timber floor finish!
  • Site Survey Visit – This allows us to check that the installation team is installing the acoustic materials as per manufacturer’s guidelines.
  • Final 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 floor, and you require acoustic design advice, then please contact us now at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk  or phone me directly on 07775623464.

 

Sound Test Procedure

Sound Test Procedure 

The Sound Testing procedure is fairly 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.

Sound_Insulation_Testing_Equipment

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.

Ongoing problems with airborne and structure borne sound are often associated with direct noise flanking transmission through floors and supporting walls and other associated structures. One common cause of noise flanking is often associated with the inclusion of lightweight blocks within the construction of the building envelope and/or blocked cavities. It all cases it is essential to establish if your problem is due to direct transmission, flanking transmission or a combination of both so that the most cost effective remedial treatment can be chosen.

We offer both pre-construction acoustic design advice and  we can also help if your building has failed the Part E sound test. We also offer onsite inspection services to ensure that the sound insulation elements are being installed as per manufactures guild-lines.

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

Impact Sound Insulation Testing

Impact Sound Insulation Testing

Impact sound transmission testing is undertaken to floors only. This test is different, a calibrated Norsonic ‘tapping machine’ which comprises of five ‘hammers’ driven up and down by a cam and electric motor is used to “tap” the floor surface by applying a known force on the floor structure. The machine is placed in several pre-determined positions. The resulting noise is measured in the dwelling below, using a sound level meter.

Impact Sound Testing

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 characteristics and absorptiveness of the room.

The measured noise levels in the receiving room are corrected for background and reverberation characteristics determine the impact sound insulation performance of the floor. For the impact noise the lower the measured level, the better the performance as less sound is being transmitted into the dwelling below.

The time taken to undertake sound testing varies from project to project as no site is exactly the same. Taking into account the standard site conditions impact testing is usually undertaken as part fo a 6 pack test, consisting of  2 airborne wall, 2 airborne floor and 2 impact sound tests. A standard 6 pack test will usually take between two  and three 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, and/or acoustic design advice then please contact us now at info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk  or phone me (Darren) directly on 07775623464.

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.