Acoustic Design and Sound Testing

Acoustic Design and Sound Testing

We are currently experiencing a large rise in the amount of housing stock that’s requiring sound testing throughout the UK. As commercial buildings such as offices etc. are converted into residential dwellings sound testing then becomes are requirement under Part E of building regulations. We have carried out a large amount of sound testing in office conversions with varying success as office buildings are not usually designed with acoustics in-mind.


To reduce the chance of a sound test failure, it is imperative that 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 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 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 sound test results we can then come up with a more cost effective design to comply with Part E of Building Regulations.

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 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.

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 pass Part E of Building Regulations. Using our extensive knowledge regarding the way different materials and construction methods can influence the results of sound testing we can offer easy to follow acoustic advice on the most awkward developments.


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