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.

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 for London Projects

Acoustic Design Service for London Projects

We have a vast amount of experience in dealing with acoustic partitions on large and small scale construction developments. using this experience we offer easy to follow acoustic design reports which helps provide our clients with a helpful easy to follow turnkey solution for their acoustic requirements. We can usually provide considerable cost and efficiency benefits for all our clients’ new build and conversion projects.

architect drafting a house blueprint

architect drafting a house blueprint

In our experience by simply constructing a robust separating wall or floor this may not in itself provide sufficient sound insulation to pass Building Regulations Part E, as the junctions of each separating wall and/or floor with other parts of the building are equally as important and require careful consideration to prevent noise flanking etc.  Flanking noise transmission can occur via construction components such as:

The most common noise flanking pathways are as follows:

  • Dividing Floor Partitions – Through Floor and Floor Joist Space (if insulation has not been installed or direct fixing to joists without a drop ceiling below the partition under test)
  • Dividing Ceiling Partitions – Above and Through the Ceiling Space (where an adequate acoustic break has not been carried on through the ceiling void)
  • Shared Structural Building Components – Floor Boards, Floor Joists, Continuous Drywall Partitions, Continuous Concrete Floors, and Cement Block Walls.
  • Through Structural Steel (structural steel beams are often a major cause of noise transmission as plasterboard is often fixed directly to the steel without sound breaks)
  • Plumbing Chases – Junctures Between the Walls & Floor Slab Above or at the Exterior Wall Juncture (this should be filed with mortar etc. to add mass to this weakened area)
  • Through Windows (if they are no double glazed or have secondary glazing as a minimum)
  • Fixtures & Outlets – Light Switches, Telephone Outlets, and Recessed Lighting Fixtures (if penetrations have been cut back to back with the opposite dwelling under test)
  • Structural Joints – Perimeter Joints at Wall & Floor, Through Wall & Ceiling Junctures (these should be filled with acoustic mastic)
  • Around the End of the Partition Through the Adjacent Wall (acoustic mastic should be used to seal this junction)

The overall acoustic design and construction should therefore be considered from the offset and not just the separating wall or floor partitions.  Flanking sound transmission through lightweight existing inner walls may be the dominant pathway between adjoining dwellings, when converting existing buildings in to residential dwellings such as offices conversions.

We are UKAS accredited to undertake sound insulation testing of which is done ‘in-house’ which allows us to offer a comprehensive, seamless service from initial design development, without using any outside contractors.

If you would like more information in regards to 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

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

 

Noise Complaints in Existing Apartment Blocks

Noise Complaints in Existing Apartment Blocks

Over the last few years we are noticing a rise in noise complaints in existing apartment blocks. There may be many reasons for this. Noise problems range from airborne noise transmission from voices TVs and music to footfall impact noise caused by high heels on wooden/tiled floors – it is usually the impact noise that is noticed most by the residents if the unit above has changed their floor finish from carpet to wood.

Excessive-Noise

In many cases even if the floor assembly has been designed and constructed to provide adequate airborne isolation, impact noise can still be a major problem. One of the main problems is if works to the floor finish have been undertaken, changing it from carpet to timber. Even if it passes the sound test, the perceivable rise in impact noise often leads to complaints, as carpet and underlay normally provides a good degree of impact sound isolation. Taking this into account it’s very important that impact isolation design, is taken into account before the installation of a hardwood and/or ceramic tile finish.

If you think you may have a problem with sound in your dwelling and/or you have encountered complaints from a neighbour due to changes you have made to the floor finish then please contact us now. Try to describe the noise 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 find a solution. It may be as simple as the installation of an acoustic resilient membrane to the floor.

Acoustic_Site_Survey

In our experience, if careful consideration is shown to the acoustic element of the floor upgrade, it should reduce the chance of complaints at a later stage, which will also avert costly legal battles at the end of the project and which often leads on to expensive remedial works.

We can come in prior to works commence and undertake a sample sound test of the existing floor partition, thereafter we can advise on the acoustic design of the floor. once the works have been completed we can then undertake a final precompletion sound test to show compliance with Building Regulations Part E.

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 Testing for Approved Document E

Sound Testing for Approved Document E

Approved Document E – ‘Resistance to the passage of sound’ became part of the building regulations on July 1st 2003 and provides minimum sound insulation Building Regulation requirement for new build and conversion dwellings. Properties include houses, flats, hotels, student residences, care homes are all now required to be sound tested under approved document E.

Part E Sound Testing

Part-E-Sound-Testing

Approved Document E is a government issued document providing guidance for developers, architects and building control bodies as well as other bodies involved in the design and conversion of buildings for residential purpose. The document explains the testing requirement for each type of project and provides some good advice and details about building procedures and materials that affect test results.

In Part E it defines the two types of sound – ‘airborne sound, which is sound generated and transferred directly in the air by talking or home entertainment systems such as music systems or Televisions) or ‘impact sound, such as sound generated by the impact of an object striking the floor and transmitted through it, such as footfall noise).

Excessive Noise Problems

Excessive-Noise

The objective of Approved Document E is to raise sound resistance standards and reduce excess noise for tenants for both airborne and impact noise, which in turn will to provide reasonable living conditions and improve the well-being of tenants. Sound insulation testing may also be required in non-residential buildings such as schools, hospitals and workplaces to ensure that noise sensitive areas such as classrooms, wards and meeting rooms are suitably insulated from noisier areas, notably BREEAM projects usually require sound insulation testing. In rare cases the sound testing of external facades may also be  a requirement.

APT Sound Testing are a UKAS and ISO accredited company.

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

The Different Types of Sound Insulation Testing

The Different Types of Sound Insulation Testing

Sound Testing has been mandatory requirement since July 2003. All new build dwellings and conversions which were built after this date require 10% of each party wall/floor construction type to be tested.

Sound Insulation Tests needs to be carried out between pairs of rooms separated by party walls or floors, i.e. in block of flats you would undertake airborne testing across the walls and floors; and impact tests across the floors.

Sound_Testing_Flats

You usually try to undertake testing between the two main habitable rooms, such as living rooms and bedrooms. The sound test procedure involves setting up a noise source in a room on one side of the party wall or floor and measuring the noise on both sides of the partition with a class 1 analyser.

Airborne Sound Insulation Tests

Airborne sound insulation tests may be required between horizontally and vertically separated pairs of rooms. The sound tests are undertaken by using a sound source, amplifier and loudspeaker to generate a high noise level in one room (the source room). Noise measurements are then taken in both the source and receiver rooms using a prescribed number of source and microphone positions.

Sample_Sound__Testing

The background levels in the receiver room are measured and the reverberation time in the receiver room is also measured. From the results, the airborne sound insulation (DnT,w + Ctr) is calculated and compared to the requirements of Approved Document E.

Impact Sound Insulation Tests

For vertically separated rooms Impact sound Insulation testing may also be required. This sound test is undertaken using a “tapping machine”, (as above) which drops a series of weights onto the floor of the upper room. The noise level in the lower (receiver) room is measured for a prescribed number of source and microphone locations. The background levels in the receiver room are measured and the reverberation time in the receiver room is also measured. From the results, the impact sound insulation (L’nT,w) is calculated and compared to the requirements of Approved Document E.

Impact Sound Testing

We use the latest Norsonic equipment, which is class one rating and UKAS calibrated. We are a UKAS and ISO accredited company, so you can be assured all our testing is carried out to the strictest quality controlled standards.

If you would like more information in regards to sound testing please follow our blog at: http://soundtestinguk.blogspot.co.uk/, or contact me (Darren) on 07775 623464 ot email us at info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk

How Is Sound Insulation Testing Carried Out

How Is Sound Insulation Testing Carried Out?

For airborne wall and floor sound tests, two individual speaker positions are used for each source room; with a total of ten individual 1/3 octave band measurements recorded for both the source and receiver rooms. Measurements are then made to monitor the levels in the receiving room of the tested partition in question. This gives a basic level difference between source and receiver rooms.

Sound_Insulation_Testing_Equipment

This basic level difference is then ‘corrected’ to allow for the reverberation time (the time taken, in seconds, for a noise source to decay by 60 dB) and the existing levels of background noise monitored whilst in the receiving room.

All our tests are carried out in full accordance with BS EN ISO 140-1998 parts 4 (airborne sound testing) and 7 (impact sound testing), and the calculation of all single figure results are done so in accordance with BS EN ISO 717:1.

How do I know when my site is ready for Sound testing?

Sound testing is typically conducted when a development nears completion, and once all internal and external doors and windows have been fitted, it is worth noting that no carpets should be installed prior to the sound testing.

To be able to conduct sound insulation testing we a constant supply of 240V power; we cannot use generator power. We also require a quiet site (a noisy site can make conducting the tests extremely difficult), so no drilling, jack hammers etc. should be used whilst the testing is taking place. We also require full access to all rooms to either side of the dividing partition so if it is a requirement to access a neighbour’s property, this must be arranged prior to the test date.

Noise_during_sound_testing

If you require a sound insulation test than contact us know, we will explain what the test entails and send you our informative checklist to help you prepare for the test. It is our mission to ensure our clients pass their testing at the first attempt. We pride ourselves on providing a ‘one stop acoustic solution’ for all your acoustic requirements.

If you would like more information in regards to our acoustic services, including acoustic design reviews, sound testing and noise surveys please contact us at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or call Darren on 07775623464 or visit our website at: www.aptsoundtesting.co.uk

Why have I failed my Precompletion Sound Testing

Why have I failed my Precompletion Sound Testing?

There are many reasons why dwellings fail precompletion sound testing. If the onsite construction has gaps, cracks or holes it will conduct airborne sounds and can significantly reduce the sound insulation of a construction. For optimum sound insulation a construction must be airtight. Most small gaps can be sealed at the finishing stage using Gyproc jointing compounds. Small gaps or air paths around perimeter Gypframe framework can be sealed with sealant. At the base of the partition, gaps will occur which can be filled with acoustic mastic.

Sound_Insulation_Testing_Equipment

The most common noise flanking pathways are as follows:

  1. Ceiling Partitions – Above and Through the Ceiling Space (where an adequate acoustic break has not been integrated within the ceiling void)
  2. Floor Partitions – Through Floor and Floor Joist Space (if insulation has not been installed or direct fixing to joists without a drop ceiling below the partition under test)
  3. Shared Structural Building Components – Floor Boards, Floor Joists, Continuous Drywall Partitions, Continuous Concrete Floors, and Cement Block Walls.
  4. Through Structural Steel (structural steel beams are often a major cause of noise transmission as plasterboard is often fixed directly to the steel without sound breaks)
  5. Plumbing Chases – Junctures Between the Walls & Floor Slab Above or at the Exterior Wall Juncture (this should be filed with mortar etc. to add mass to this weakened area)
  6. Through Windows (if they are no double glazed or have secondary glazing as a minimum)
  7. Fixtures & Outlets – Light Switches, Telephone Outlets, and Recessed Lighting Fixtures (if penetrations have been cut back to back with the opposite dwelling under test)
  8. Structural Joints – Perimeter Joints at Wall & Floor, Through Wall & Ceiling Junctures (these should be filled with acoustic mastic)
  9. Around the End of the Partition Through the Adjacent Wall (acoustic mastic should be used to seal this junction)

In many instances we have found that existing floor structures of a minimum of 200mm concrete usually achieve the airborne standard as stipulated by Building Regulations Part; however, the impact results are usually poor due to inadequate acoustic insolation between the floor constructions. This is because the airborne sound is easily broken down by the mass of the concrete slab, therefore sounds such as speech & TV etc. are minimised. Unfortunately, impact sound results are poor due to the lack of isolation within the slab, therefore the sound travels straight through the slab to the area below.

Sound_Insulation_Test_London

To help reduce potential control noise issues APT Sound Testing can undertake an acoustic design review of the floors after sample sound testing to ensure both the airborne and impact sound tests are allowed for during our acoustic design service.

If you would like more information in regards to sound testing please follow our blog at: http://soundtestinguk.blogspot.co.uk or contact us at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk and 07775623464 or visit our website at: www.aptsoundtesting.co.uk

 

Good Acoustic Design Detailing

Good Acoustic Design Detailing.

Careful consideration to acoustic design detailing should be used from the offset of the project, whether it’s a new build or conversion project, 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.

architect drafting a house blueprint

To help our clients achieve a successful sound test at the first attempt, we offer a full acoustic package which consists of the following elements:

  • 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.
  • Sample Sound Testing – of the existing construction. This offers an accurate overview of the acoustic performance of the existing partitions which enables us to offer a targeted acoustic design using the sound insulation performance of the existing construction.
  • Acoustic Design Review – a full design review of the proposed developments party walls and floors.

There are many design considerations that need to be accounted for when allowing for your project/s, they are:

  • 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.

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.