Reverberation Noise in Common Areas 

Reverberation Noise in Common Areas 

Clients often ask us if they need to treat all the common parts within their block of flats to satisfy Requirement E3 (Reverberation in the common internal parts of buildings such as entrance lobby’s, corridors and stairwells.

Our usual answer to this is yes. The purpose of this Requirement is to protect residents from noise produced in reverberant common areas. The Requirement in Part E only applies to “corridors, stairwells, hallways, and entrance halls which give access to the flat or room for residential purposes”. To comply with this, it is recommended that absorbent treatment should normally be applied only to common areas onto which dwellings open directly. Sometimes this can be as easy as adding a resilient layer to the floor and/or adding an acoustic board to the ceiling.

Reverberation_Noise_in_Common_Areas

Often careful planning of apartment layouts can alleviate the need for extensive acoustic works, such as constructing the common areas of flats, such as corridors next to the common areas within the apartment block as long assuming normal usage of the common areas – more information on this can be found in paragraph 0.8 of Approved Document E (2003).

In all instances, planning an acoustically favourable dwelling from the design stage can help to reduce the number of noise problems that may occur even if your building passes the Sound Insulation Testing.

Also, if neighbours have varied working patterns, i.e. they work night shifts and arrive back in the early hours of the morning, allowing for sound absorption in common areas are particularly important.

We offer an acoustic design service, whether it’s accomplished during initial construction or during a refurbishment/renovation project. We also undertake UKAS accredited sound testing and noise surveys providing a ‘one stop’ solution for all your acoustic testing and design requirements throughout London and the South East.

If you would like more information in regards to our 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

 

Sound Insulation Testing Questions and Answers

Sound Insulation Testing Questions and Answers

We often get asked similar questions in regards to Sound Insulation Testing. To try help our clients alleviate their fears, we have tried to answer the most common questions:

Q. Is my project ready for a sound insulation testing? All plots should be at least at second fix stage – for further details please refer to our sound testing checklist

Q. Will the sound insulation testing disrupt other site works? During the sound testing, high levels of noise are generated but in order to make accurate test measurements, relatively quiet conditions are needed. Anyone working in the testing area will have to leave temporarily and any noisy works in the vicinity of the test rooms will need to be halted.

Sound_Insulation_Testing

Q. How long will the sound testing take? The time taken for sound testing varies with the site conditions, but generally a set of test on houses and flats takes about one to two hours so it’s over fairly quickly.

Q. Do I need to inform my neighbours of the sound insulation testing? If the building under test is attached in any way to occupied properties then you will need to inform the neighbours. To comply with Part E we need to gain access to the neighbouring properties to undertake the sound test. You will need to ensure that access is provided to the neighbouring properties throughout the sound Insulation testing.

Q. Will all internal and external doors and windows need to be fully installed? Yes, all internal and external doors must be fitted and operable prior to the sound testing

Q. What if I only have 110 volt and not 240 volt on site? Unfortunately we cannot undertake the testing; we will need 240V to undertake the sound testing.

Q. Can you offer advice on how to pass the sound Insulation testing? Yes, we can offer an acoustic design advice service. If you send through the relevant drawings such as sections, plans etc. during the earlier stages of construction, we can look at your design to check if the design is robust enough to pass Part E and/or there are any junctions or details where ‘noise flanking’ may occur. You can then change your design to reduce the chance of a sound test failure.

Q. Do you have a check-list we can download to help us prepare for thesound insulation testing? Yes, we send out the corresponding checklists for sound and air testing, to help you prepare for the testing.

APT Sound Testing is UKAS accredited to undertake sound insulation testing. We offer a comprehensive, seamless service from initial design development, right through to the final sound testing to achieve building sign off.

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

Sound Flanking Pathways Identified During Sound Testing

Sound Flanking Pathways Identified During Sound Testing

Since Building Regulations Part E was introduced, we have literally undertaken thousands of sound tests throughout London and the South East; and as such we have built up considerable knowledge of typical sound flanking pathways. To help consultants and contractors we have comprised a list of the main Sound Flanking Pathways Identified During Sound Testing

  • 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 areas.
  • 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)

APT Sound Testing offer a ‘one stop’ design package for all types of acoustic design and sound testing in London, whether it’s accomplished during initial construction or during a refurbishment/renovation project.

A Typical Noise Flanking PathSound Flanking Pathways Identified During Sound Testing

We provide full UKAS accredited air and sound testing in London, so our clients can be sure that all testing is completed to a strict ISO quality controlled standard. Our engineers use the latest UKAS Calibrated Class 1 Acoustic Testing Equipment.

If you would like advice on your acoustic design service or sound testing in London, please contact us now at info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or call us on 07775623464.

Sound Insulation Testing London

Sound Insulation Testing London

Sound insulation testing is usually required on most London development/s between rooms or spaces that share a common area of separating wall and/or floor as stipulated in Building Regulations Part E for the passage of sound. The main aim of sound insulation testing is to ensure that minimum standards of sound resistance have not been compromised by poor workmanship and/or poor design.

The most common buildings that require sound Insulation testing are:

  1. Dwelling-houses, flats or rooms for residential purposes created by conversion of existing buildings or new build rooms for residential purposes.
  2. New build dwelling-houses and flats

You are normally required to undertake sound testing to each type of construction, i.e. if you have a mixture of brick, blockwork, timber and metal studwork walls all four types would need to be tested, followed by a 10% sample of the individual type of partition.

Sound Testing Houses in London
Sound Testing Houses In London

For example, if you have a project with 25 flats you would be required to do 3 x 6 pack of tests; each 6 pack contains 2 airborne wall, 2 airborne floor and 2 impact sound tests; however if any test failures occur, then the number of sound tests may need to increase on the development. When sound test failures occur, then the design and construction of the failed partitions will need to be revisited to try and evaluate the reasons for the failure; thereafter, agreement can be reached on how to rectify problem. We have carried our hundreds of acoustic design reviews, so we are well placed to help you overcome potential problems achieving compliance with Building Regulations Part E.

Our Typical Sound Testing Equipment

We use the latest UKAS calibrated Norsonic Equipment to undertake the required Sound Insulation testing. We also undertake UKAS accredited sound testing providing a ‘one stop’ solution for all your acoustic testing and design requirements throughout London and the South East.

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

Careful Acoustic Design Considerations

Careful Acoustic Design Considerations

Achieving good airborne and impact sound isolation requires careful acoustic design considerations. Two key areas that need to be addressed when improving a floor construction are the airborne aspect (TV noise, music and speech) is typically dealt with by applying ceiling treatments and mass and isolation to the building components. Impact sound (footfall) performance is increased by the used of resilience layers and isolation of components.

Sound Insulation Testing 

Firstly, we need to look at the airborne performance requirements which are 45dB for new build properties and 43dB for conversion developments, this applies both to party walls and floors between properties. This level is the difference between the source level and the receiver level during London sound tests.

To try and help our clients achieve compliance with Approved Document E, we offer the following 4 step acoustic design package:

  1. 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.
  2. Sample Sound Insulation 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.
  3. Acoustic Design Review – a full design review of the proposed developments party walls and floors.
  4. Pre-completion Sound Testing to satisfy Approved Document E.

APT Sound Testing can advise on all types of acoustic design, whether it’s accomplished during initial construction or during a refurbishment/renovation project. We also undertake UKAS accredited sound testing providing a ‘one stop’ solution for all your acoustic testing and design requirements throughout London and the South East.

If you would like more information in regards to Sound Testing in London 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

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.