Acoustic Design to Pass Precompletion Sound Testing
We are currently seeing large rise in the amount of commercial buildings that’s been converted into blocks of flats, that’s now requiring sound testing. Many of the new office to dwelling conversions are failing the sound insulation test as office buildings are not usually designed with acoustics in-mind.
To reduce the chance of a sound test failure, it is imperative that noise flanking transmission is considered at the design stage and any construction detailing is specified to minimise any potential of noise flanking which will downgrade the acoustic performance. Good acoustic detailing at the design stage will minimise this effect and optimise the overall levels of acoustic privacy achieved. If designing for residential units, design advice on flanking details must be followed to maximise the possibility of achieving the specified acoustic performance. It is imperative that the design advice is followed, otherwise the site sound insulation values may not meet the sound insulation performance criteria required and subsequent expensive remedial treatment may be required.
When offices are converted into dwellings, we often undertake sample sound testing to check the existing sound levels prior to the commencement of works. Once we have established the acoustic performance of the existing walls and floors, we can then propose a more targeted and cost effective design to achieve compliance with Building Regulations Part E.
Historically we have found that if the floor structure is a typical 200mm concrete slab the sample airborne results are coming close to the requirements of Part E without any modifications to the existing slab; however, the impact results are often poor. This is because the airborne sound is 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 such as people walking can be very loud and unacceptable.
We offer acoustic advice to help you pass your office conversion project
To help reduce potential control noise issues we can undertake an acoustic design review of the floors after sample sound testing to ensure both the airborne and impact sound tests pass Part E of Building Regulations. Using our extensive knowledge regarding the way different materials can influence the sound test test performance, we can offer acoustic advice to help you pass the most awkward developments.