What is Sound Testing? – Part 3

Building Acoustics

Building acoustics is basically the science of controlling noise in buildings, including the minimisation of noise transmission from one habitable space to another, and the control of noise levels and characteristics within that space such as a living room or bedroom.

Excess noise or sound transmission can be defined as sound that is undesirable, but this can be subjective and often depends on the reactions of the individual i.e. some people can live next to an airport but it doesn’t bother them, whereas as other people can be acutely noise sensitive.

When a noise is excessive it usually becomes troublesome for the occupier as it can reduce comfort and efficiency. If a person is subjected to excess noise for long periods, it can result in physical discomfort or mental distress. One of the most problems experienced in attached housing is usually from noisy neighbours. It’s estimated that up to 500,000 people in London alone have had their lives disturbed by noisy neighbours.

The best defence against potential noise issues is to ensure that proper precautions are taken at the design stage and during construction of the building. The correct acoustic climate must be provided for each habitable space. In the first instance careful consideration shown be shown to the building envelope and dividing acoustic partitions. It is also important to look at room layouts, i.e. try to design the layouts of noise sensitive rooms so they sit against each other such as a bedroom in Flat 1 against a bedroom in Flat 2. If you position a bedroom (which is noise sensitive) against a kitchen this will increase the chance of noise complaints due to the banging of plates, pots and pans, and kitchen doors closing.

It is worth noting that trying to retrofit remedial acoustic measures once the residents have taken occupation can be both expensive and inconvenient.

1. Sample Sound Testing of the existing construction. This offers an accurate overview of the acoustic performance of the existing floor partition/s prior to the commencement of construction works. It also enables us to offer a targeted acoustic design using the sound insulation performance of the existing construction.

2. Acoustic design review – once we have the performance figures from the sample sound testing have been established, we can forward a design that should improve the performance of the existing floor partition – even if you are changing the floor from a carpet to engineered timber floor finish!

3. Site Survey Visit – This allows us to check that the installation team is installing the acoustic materials as per manufacturer’s guidelines.

4. Final Precompletion Sound Testing in-line with Approved Document E. This provides an accurate overview of the acoustic performance of the upgraded partition/s, the results of which can be handed over to the relevant person for sign off.

To reduce the chance of sound testing failure on your development, it is also 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 very important that the design advice is followed during the onsite construction; otherwise the site sound insulation values may not meet the performance criteria required and subsequent expensive remedial treatment may be required.

We 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 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 or contact us at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or call Darren Direct on 07775623464, alternately, If you would like more information on how to prepare for your sound testing please download our sound test checklist.