We often get asked the same questions in regards to sound testing so over the last couple of years we have collated the most common questions and answers which are shown below. As this is quite an extensive Q&A section we have broken it up into 4 articles.
What is precompletion sound testing?
Sound Testing is undertaken towards the end of a development to show that the performance of the party wall and floor partitions meet the standards as stipulated in Building Regulations Approved Document E. The testing methods for airborne and impact sound insulation is in full accordance with the suggested methods presented in BS EN ISO 140-parts 4 & 7: 1998.
What types of buildings need to be sound tested?
Here is a quick breakdown of the types of dwellings/commercial buildings that require sound testing in-line with Building Regulations Part E:
- Houses and flats in compliance with Part E of the Building Regulations.
- Houses & Flats in compliance with the Code for Sustainable Homes.
- Classrooms within schools in compliance with BB93.
- All commercial buildings in compliance with BREEAM.
Are there different types of sound testing?
There are two types of sound testing, airborne and impact. Here is a quick description for each:
Airborne Sound Tests
Airborne sound tests may be required between horizontally and vertically separated pairs of rooms. 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.
Impact Sound Tests
For vertically separated rooms, an Impact sound test may also be required. This sound test is undertaken using a “tapping machine”, (as above) which drops a series of weights 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. 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.
What levels do I need to achieve a sound test pass?
The sound levels required are usually 45dB for airborne wall and floors and 62dB for Impact sound testing. for converted properties the sound levels change to 43dB for airborne wall and floors and 64dB for Impact. the amount of sound tests you require depends on the size of the development.
How many sound tests are required on my project?
All new build properties and conversions require 10% of each party wall/floor construction type to be tested, i.e. if you have 10 flats you would require 1 x 6 pack, this consists of 2 airborne wall, 2 airborne floor & 2 Impact sound tests. However if you have 11 units this would rise to 12 Sound Tests or 2 x 6 pack. If you are complying with code for sustainable homes the standard required may rise between 3-8dB so if you need to comply with more stringent standard, than it’s worth asking us to undertake an acoustic design review. For a small fee you have a peace of mind that the acoustic elements will be robust enough to pass the sound insulation test.
Do houses and flats require different sound testing?
Apartment blocks often require airborne wall, floor and impact sound tests, whereas terrace houses only require airborne wall tests in-line with the requirements of Approved Document E.
Pass your sound testing at the first attempt
Sound insulation design and testing can be quite complicated but we are here to help. Our acoustic consultancy service is a straight forward way to ensure acoustic performance requirements are achieved in compliance with Approved Document E. By considering sound insulation and the acoustic design within your project from the earliest stages you can have confidence that your project is designed to pass its sound testing at the first attempt.
If you would like more information in regards our acoustic design service or sound testing service, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call Darren Direct on 07775 623464.
Alternately, If you would like more information on how to prepare for your sound testing please download our sound test checklist.