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.

A Successful Sound Insulation Test

A Successful Sound Insulation Test

There are many considerations to achieving a successful sound test on your development. The main areas that need to be addressed are the dividing wall and floor construction.

When dealing with walls you normally just need to worry about airborne sound; however with walls it’s both airborne and impact sound which can be far more difficult to deal with.

sound_transmission_through_floors

The usual noise problems associated with airborne sound transmission is TV noise, music and speech. This can be dealt with by applying ceiling treatments as well as mass and isolation to the building components. Impact sound (footfall) performance is increased by the used of resilience layers and isolation of components to prevent noise flanking through the partition.

Airborne Sound Testing

For airborne sound insulation testing Building Regulation Part E requires you achieve at least 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 sound testing. Impact Sound TestingThe measurement is corrected for several factors such as background noise, room characteristics and frequency weighting, giving the final sound insulation performance value of the tested partition. In this case the higher the number the better the sound insulation performance. The measurement is done by using a Class 1 Analyser and the associated equipment.

Impact Sound Insulation Testing

For impact sound insulation testing Building Regulation Part E requires you achieve at least 62dB for new build properties and 64dB for conversion developments. Impact insulation performance only applies to party floors and related to the effectiveness of the floor construction in absorbing shock such as footfall noise.Sound_Insulation_Testing_Equipment

Good Acoustic Design

To try and ensure you meet the standards stipulated within Building Regulations Part E, careful consideration should be shown to the acoustic design detailing from the start of the project. Tackling the acoustic design for both new build and conversion project requires two different construction techniques and acoustic design detailing. With new build properties you have a blank canvas in terms of the overall design whereas with conversions you usually need to work with the existing’ onsite’ construction which can be quite difficult.

We 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 which 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.
  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.

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 us directly on 07775623464.

We have also started our new facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/APT-Sound-Testing-1705040043131199/

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.

The Difference Between Laboratory and Site Sound Testing

The Difference Between Laboratory and Site Sound Testing

Many suppliers of acoustic insulation products quote laboratory sound test results  to demonstrate the performance of their systems. This often causes considerable confusion regarding how well products will perform as there are usually large differences between the laboratory and site conditions. For instance laboratory sound tests do not take account of flanking sound and therefore produce sound insulation figures that would be very difficult to achieve on site.

sound testing

Despite site contractor’s best endeavours, it is extremely difficult to build to the stringent exacting standards of the test laboratory. When the construction assembly is undertaken in the lab, it has gone through an exacting installation technique prior to the sound test, which is also a contributing factor why better sound testing levels are achieved.

Throughout the acoustic installation the manufacturer’s guidance is followed to the letter by the lab technicians. Although, this should be replicated on site, it seldom is due to time constraints etc. and so a design which can be easily in excess of the requirements of approved document E, can often lose approx. 8-10dB compared to the laboratory results. Unfortunately there may be many reasons for poor sound test results such as poor quality site installation as well as other on-site issues where cost, time and programming constraints may come into play.

architect drafting a house blueprint

architect drafting a house blueprint

One important thing to consider is that most building structures will be subject to varying amount of flanking sound, so field sound test data should show the real performance of a system in a building. Laboratory sound insulation tests simply measure sound and do not account for flanking sound transmission.

If you are worried about your projects acoustic design and/or have questions about the precompletion sound testing, please don’t hesitate to contact us now at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or Darren direct on 07775623464. 

Why Have I Failed my Sound Insulation Test?

Why Have I Failed my Sound Insulation Test?

This is one of the most common questions clients ask when their property has just failed the sound testing. One of the main reasons for acoustic partitions failing the Part E sound test is often down to poor isolation of material/s, which can lead to excessive noise flanking. Noise Flanking is a term used by acoustic engineers to describe where sound passes through an acoustic partition due to the abutment of materials. The noise simply hits the one side of the wall and then travels through the construction via a noise bridge. This can be areas such as the incorrect use of masonry wall ties i.e. solid fishtail ties, used in place of specified acoustic wall ties; if your building suffers from noise flanking it may result in a sound test failure.

Sound_Insulation_Testing_Equipment

Unwanted noise travelling along flanking paths can make the building structure vibrate, which can cause sound to radiate into your room – as shown in the plate below . One simple cost effective solution is to build another wall or ceiling in front of the original, to offer extra isolation. For this upgrade to work you need to make sure that the independent wall or ceiling is not directly connected to the existing failed partition; so it provides isolation between materials.

Coupled_wall_construction

Noise flanking can also be down to the use of down to the use of lightweight blocks in the construction of the building envelope. Due to the lightweight mas of the inner wall it allows sound to transmit from dwelling to another, both vertically and horizontally. If a building has failed its sound testing, it is essential to establish if the problem is due to direct transmission, flanking transmission or a combination of both so that the most cost and time effective remedial treatment can be designed and applied to the failed partitions.

If you require more information about acoustic design and/or sound testing on your project, please contact us now at info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or call me direct on 07775623464.

Remedial action following a sound insulation test failure

Remedial action following a sound insulation test failure

If a partition fails a sound insulation test, it can be difficult to provide definitive guidance on resolving specific problems that have occurred in individual buildings as the building is usually complete at the time of testing. However, using our knowledge of acoustic construction and detailing APT Sound Testing are usually able to identify and resolve any problems with the acoustic partitions.

ACOUSTIC_DESIGN

If the sound testing failure is attributed to the construction of the separating and/or associated flanking elements, other rooms that have not been tested as part of the testing schedule may also fail to meet the test performance levels. Additional tests may be needed, over and above the number recommended under Building Regulations Part E.

Extra sound testing will assist in identifying, at an early stage, where the failures have been caused by intermittent poor workmanship and/or design. Sound Testing may then be required for all plots to identify the ones that require remedial treatment. Where failure is due to a design fault, additional testing may not be required, as all plots with the same design are likely to require remedial treatment and so a generic acoustic upgrade can be undertaken to the failed partitions and then retested thereafter.

sound testing

To try and negate potential problems with the sound insulation testing we offer the following 4 step acoustic design advice package:

  1. Site Survey Visits – to let us view the existing site construction. This allows us to check for potential problematic construction detailing and also lets us check that the installation teams are installing the acoustic materials as per manufacturer’s guidelines.
  2. Sample Sound Testing – of the existing construction. This offers an accurate overview of the acoustic performance of the existing partitions.
  3. 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 supply a ‘one stop’ solution for all your acoustic requirements. If you would like more information in regards to sound insulation testing or acoustic design please contact us at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk  or call Darren direct on 07775623464.

Sound Insulation Testing

Sound Insulation Testing

At APT we offer Airborne and Impact Sound Insulation Testing in accordance with Part E of the Building Regulations and, where required sound testing on Schools BB93 & BREEAM. Under Part E of Building Regulations, this is a requirement for new and converted dwellings where there is a separating partition wall or floor. The sound insulation testing of existing buildings is carried out to assess current levels of sound insulation and to allow for the design of remedial measures, where the performance needs to be increased.

The buildings that currently require sound testing are:

  1. Dwelling-houses, flats or rooms for residential purposes created by conversion of existing buildings or new build rooms for residential purposes will need to be tested if work starts after 1 July 2004.
  2. New build dwelling-houses and flats will need to be tested if work starts after 1 July 2004.

Sound insulation testing is carried out to ensure that minimum standards of sound resistance have been met to ensure the well-being of new tenants is not compromised by adverse sound transmission. The testing checks that the dividing partitions have not been compromised by poor workmanship and poor design. We use the latest sound testing equipment as shown below:

sound testing equipment

You are normally required to undertake sound testing to each type of construction, i.e. if you have a mixture of brick, block-work, timber and metal stud-work walls all four types would need to be tested, followed by a 10% sample of that type. it is worth noting that if any test failures occur, then the number of sound tests may need to increase on the development.

If you are unsure whether the Regulations apply to your development or if your site needs sound insulation testing, please call your local office or email us at info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk where our team will be happy to discuss all aspects of acoustics or sound insulation within buildings, and explain the testing procedure.

Simple Acoustic Upgrades

Simple Acoustic Upgrades

There are many simple acoustic upgrades you can undertake to improve the sound insulation values of your dwelling. Plate A below shows one cost effective ceiling upgrade that can be undertaken on conversion projects. Firstly retain the existing floor joists – check them for general wear and tare) then above the joists install 22mm chipboard. Above the floor board install an acoustic resilient membrane and above this install the 22mm engineered floor. Within the joist cavity install 100mm AW IsoWool. To the underside of the joists fix a resilient hanger system and below this install two layers of 12.5mm sound boards ensuring that boards have adequate laps. It is worth noting that although the above system should work, it is essential that you contact us before going ahead with any works as each project is different and may require extra acoustic design input.

Plate A – Acoustic Floor Upgrade

Good Conversion Diagram - 15-01-16Also, to try and help our clients achieve compliance with Approved Document E at the first attempt 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 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 insulation testing providing a ‘one stop’ solution for all your acoustic requirements.

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