Sound Testing is usually undertaken near the end of a project to show that the party wall and floors meet the Building Regulations. Approved Document E stipulated performance values. The method for sound testing for airborne and impact sound insulation is in full accordance with: the suggested methods presented in BS EN ISO 140-parts 4 & 7: 1998.
Detached houses don’t require sound insulation testing, however if the house has been built on to the end of an existing house and/or terrace it usually requires 2 airborne wall tests – 1 through the lower kitchen/lounge and one through the bedroom walls on the upper floors.
Buildings such as apartment blocks often require airborne and impact sound insulations tests. Airborne sound insulation testing is normally required between horizontally and vertically separated pairs of rooms i.e. the wall and floor partitions. 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. 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.
Thereafter impact sound testing may also be required for vertically separated dwellings. Impact sound insulation testing is undertaken using a “tapping machine”, which drops a series of weights/small hammers 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.
When it comes to refurbishment projects i.e. large houses converted into flats and/or an office block into flats we can undertake a sample sound test of the existing wall and floor construction. Once we have established the sound levels for the existing construction we can then look at extent of the acoustic upgrades to attain Part E Compliance. This is much more effective than just forwarding an acoustic design that may be to excessive and expensive, especially when the existing construction is already ‘acoustically’ robust and therefore only needs to improve by a 1-3dB.
The sound insulation levels required to pass Part E are usually 45dB for airborne wall and floors and 62dB for Impact Sound Testing on new build, however sometimes a higher target may be required in-line with the Code for Sustainable Homes; this is usually in defined in the following figures +3, 5 & 8dB, this means if its plus 5dB you will need to achieve 50dB for airborne and 57dB for impact sound testing. Obviously if you need to comply with the Code for Sustainable Homes then special attention must be shown to the acoustic design from the offset to reduce the chance of sound testing failure.
APT Sound Testing can help you to achieve this more robust design criterion. We can also help if your building fails the sound insulation testing by offering a targeted acoustic design solution saving time and potential costs.
If you have a project that requires sound insulation testing then contact us now, we can propose a sound testing schedule that should comply with Part E. Please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 07775623464