Air Tightness Testing In Reading

Air Tightness Testing in Reading

We provide Air Tightness Testing in Reading and the surrounding towns of Theale, Earley and Wokingham via our network of UKAS accredited air testing engineers. We have the ability to respond quickly to your project requirements and comes at the most competitive price.

We are also one of the few companies that are UKAS accredited to undertake both Air & Sound testing in compliance with Building Regulations Part L & E. This means we can undertake Air, Sound and Vent Testing Packages during the same visit, which provides our clients with substantial cost savings and improved on site co-ordination. Unlike many companies we do not subcontract our works.

Air testing to achieve satisfactory levels of air tightness became a legal requirement in 2006 in England and Wales, under Part L of the Building Regulations. Our specialist knowledge of Part L of the Building Regulations and the unique needs of our local clients means that we are Brighton’s most popular air testing and sound testing companies. We undertake air testing on all types of projects from single dwelling to the largest commercial buildings.

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  • Competitive pricing
  • Friendly and proactive service
  • Experienced consultants
  • UKAS & ISO Accredited
  • Fast Response
  • Rapid Turnaround of Results
  • Nationwide coverage
  • Single precompletion solution
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New residential developments in Reading require planning consent and dependant on the location of the development. This is a requirement under the National Planning Policy Framework in England and Wales. The approval of planning permission may require an acoustic assessment to evidence that suitable internal and external noise levels can be achieved over a 24 hour period. The main two reasons you are required to undertake a noise survey are:

a. The application is for proposed noise sensitive development, such as residential, next to existing sources such as major transport routes, industry or commercial uses.

b. The application is for a development that has the potential to cause noise disturbance to existing residential properties. For example, industry, or other development with fixed machinery/plant.

It is very important that the environmental protection team have the requires noise survey information at hand to assess if the proposed development is suitable for the area, and that adequate noise controls can be implemented.

The problem with submitting the noise survey later on in the process is that delays may be incurred to application process. It is often not possible to grant planning consent with a condition requiring a noise survey at a later date, as until a noise survey is completed the Environmental Protection Team cannot assess what the noise impact may be to the area of the development.

APT Sound Testing have undertaken hundreds of successful noise surveys for residential developments supporting planning consultants, architects, contractors and private individuals to ensure the most practical and cost effective acoustic solutions are implemented at the design stage. We work on projects of all sizes, from small single dwellings to large apartment blocks.

Acoustic design measures to control noise in Reading

Where possible, noise should be controlled at source; for example, the inclusion of noise barriers next to a busy road or the installation of an acoustic enclosure around a piece of industrial plant. The developer should also look at the design and layout of the proposed development to establish if changes will reduce the level of noise, i.e. residential accommodation designed with no windows facing a busy road or railway track or the inclusion of acoustic trickle vents.

As a last resort, noise reduction measures such as acoustic glazing to habitable rooms may be acceptable. Any proposal to reduce noise either at source, by design and layout or by building treatments such as glazing should be supported by full information/calculations to indicate the likely level of noise; our Reading noise survey reports contain full noise predictions. Where plant is to be installed on a roof or wall then the acoustic output of the proposed plant should be assessed and spec’d accordingly.

The layout, orientation and screening of buildings should be considered before sound insulation design. Some of these design considerations are:

  • Position and orientate the development to minimise noise disturbance, i.e. minimise windows on the elevation facing traffic.
  • Where possible avoid placing bedrooms next to kitchens, living rooms or bathrooms in adjacent properties.
  • Where possible avoid placing bedrooms next to stairwells, entrance halls or lift shafts
  • Ideally no windows should face a busy road, railway or commercial activity. If this is not possible, only windows of non-habitable rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms should face a noise source.

It is worth noting that good acoustic design is not just required for external noise affecting a development, it is also needed to protect residents against unwanted noise transference between dwellings.

Under Part E of the Building Regulations, developers are required to ensure the separating walls and floors between adjoining dwellings achieves the minimum acoustic design standards. We can provide specialist design advice and testing to ensure you easily achieve and exceed the requirements of Approved Document E.

APT Sound Testing are UKAS accredited testing laboratory No. 4340 for sound testing, so we can provide pre-completion sound testing to sign off your development with Building Control. For more information on these services visit our ‘Sound Testing’ page.

BS8233 Noise surveys are undertaken when newly proposed developments are in close proximity to existing sources of noise, such as rail and road traffic sources and/or industrial noise. Where the noise levels are shown as NEC category B and above noise reduction measures to be put in place that will achieve the “good” internal noise level criteria in bedrooms and living rooms set out in BS8233:1999.

For outdoor garden areas, noise levels should be less than or equal to 55 dB(A) as recommended in the World Health Organisation Guidelines on Community Noise. Where the noise levels are shown as NEC category D, the EPT would recommend that planning consent be refused; although, in isolated cases this decision can be overturned if adequate noise control measure can be implemented to the development.

For clarification the noise exposure categories for which the local planning authority would determine are:

  • NEC A. Noise need not be considered as a determining factor in granting planning. The noise level at the high end of the category should not be regarded as a desirable level.
  • NEC B. Noise should be taken into account when determining planning applications and, where appropriate, conditions imposed to ensure an adequate level of protection against noise.
  • NEC C. Planning permission should not normally be granted. Where it is considered that permission should be given, for example because there are no alternative quieter sites available, conditions should be imposed to ensure a commensurate level of protection against noise.
  • NEC D. Planning permission should normally be refused.

We have undertaken hundreds of successful noise surveys for residential developments throughout Birmingham supporting planning consultants, architects, contractors and private individuals to ensure the most practical and cost effective acoustic solutions are implemented at the design stage. We work on projects of all sizes, from small single dwellings to large apartment blocks.

Usually the environmental protection team, will be able to advise on the methods used for a noise survey. However as a general rule the following methods will be accepted provided they are suitable for the project/development. Please note this is not an exhaustive list:

BS 8233: 2014 provides recommendations for the control of noise in and around buildings. It suggests appropriate criteria and noise limits for different situations. This is primarily a guide the design of new buildings, or refurbished buildings undergoing a change of use, rather than to assess the effect of changes in the external noise climate. The standard suggests suitable internal noise levels within different types of buildings, including residential dwellings such as houses and blocks of flats.

It suggests that for steady external noise sources, during the day, an internal noise level of 35 dB LAeq,T is appropriate for resting conditions within living rooms and bedrooms and a level of 40 dB LAeq,T is applicable to dining rooms. During the night, an internal noise level of 30 dB LAeq,T is recommended within bedrooms. The recommended levels are based on the existing guidelines issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and assume normal diurnal fluctuations in external noise.

It is also stated that ‘where development is considered necessary or desirable, despite external noise levels above WHO guidelines, the internal target levels may be relaxed by up to 5 dB and reasonable internal conditions still achieved.’ BS8233 Noise Surveys for planning for the assessment of noise affecting noise sensitive developments near to existing sources of noise, mainly relating to traffic sources. A BS8233 usually requires a full 24 hour noise survey in Birmingham.

We provide an ongoing professional and efficient service, providing a hassle-free solution to your BS8233 noise survey requirements. Through our network of acoustic engineers, we provide a cost effective and high quality of service from start to finish.

BS4142:1997 for the assessment of industrial noise that may affect existing residential property mainly used for fixed industrial plant such as externally mounted air conditioning units which are in close proximity to residential properties and which may negatively affect the local noise levels.

The noise survey is carried out to show any increment in the existing background at the façade/s of the nearest sensitive property. We have undertaken many noise impact surveys to check if noise – at the nearest sensitive properties) are within acceptable levels.

Eligibility for planning approval on the grounds of noise is then assessed using the guidance given in World Health Organisation Guidelines (WHO) and local guidelines.

Our report therefore described a noise impact assessment of the site, the subsequent analysis to determine the noise environment of the proposed air-conditioning unit and compared the results with national and local standards and specific criteria. The report included the following information:

  • Location of the nearest sensitive window at the closest residential property.
  • Proposed operational hours of the air units.
  • Background noise levels assessment over the proposed hours of operation.
  • Frequency band analysis of noise of the proposed plant.
  • Calculations for the predicted noise level 1 meter from the window of the nearest residential property.

We provide an ongoing professional and efficient service, providing a hassle-free solution to your BS4142 noise survey requirements. Through our network of acoustic engineers, we provide a cost effective and high quality of service from start to finish.

The noise report issued to the local planning authority will usually need to include the following information.

Reason for/scope of report (which will be clarified by the EPT & Acoustic Company)

  • The name of the proposed development to which Birmingham noise survey relates
  • Location plan of proposed development
  • Methodology used including location of noise monitoring locations, equipment used, weather conditions
  • Any deviations from the corresponding methodology/standard
  • A full table of results
  • Assessment of results according to standards used
  • Recommendations for noise control measures – if required
  • Full calculations of the noise reductions expected to support any suggested noise control measures

A class 1 integrating sound level meters, conforming to BS 6698/IEC 61672 should be used to record the noise level measurements during the noise survey. A noise survey should not be undertaken with anything less than a class 1 Analyser.

The instrument shall be calibrated to the manufacturer’s standard or by a National Accreditation of Measurement and Sampling UKAS accredited laboratory within the last year. A current certificate of calibration should be available and a copy included in the assessment report. The response of the instrument should be carefully checked before and after each measurement using a field calibrator. Any calibration drift shall be recorded and reported.

The portable calibrator should itself have been calibrated by a UKAS accredited laboratory within the previous 12 months. A current certificate of calibration should be available and a copy included within the noise survey report.

We work on projects of all sizes from small single dwellings to large apartment blocks. If you would like more information in regards to Noise surveys in Birmingham and the surrounding please contact us now.

Reading areas covered

We provide our services throughout the following towns in Reading via our friendly and helpful engineers. Click on your local Reading office location for more information.

  • Caversham
  • Theale
  • Earley
  • Wokingham
  • Woodley
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