Sound Insulation Testing

Pre completion sound testing under Part E of Building Regulations has been a mandatory requirement since July 2003.

We are a UKAS-accredited sound insulation testing laboratory providing our valued clients with a proactive sound testing service and reliable reportage to achieve building control sign off.

All new build properties and conversions which were built after this date require 10% of each party wall/floor construction type to be tested. Sound Testing is to be carried out between pairs of rooms separated by party walls or floors.

Utilising our many years of acoustic design experience means that your project will be in safe hands from the initial design stage to the final precompletion testing of the project.

Sound Insulation Testing is measuring the airborne or impact noise coming through a partition. The partition is the floor, wall or ceiling and there will be different requirements for each. Part E Building Regulations, England, Wales and Northern Ireland, is a set of regulations for both new build and conversion residential builds. Approved Document E was introduced in 2003, as a way of protecting residents from noise between dwellings. The regulations apply to all new-build and conversion constructions with residences next to one another.
A pair of airborne wall sound insulation tests can be completed in 1-2 hours. A 6 pack containing 2 airborne wall, 2 airborne floor and 2 impact floor tests will usually take 2-3 hours. For larger developments, such as apartment blocks, it would be worth allowing up to 2-3 hours for each 6 pack of sound tests; e.g. 12 tests would take 4-6 hours. We usually supply a full testing schedule with each quote, to ensure you comply with Building Regulations and to help you prepare correct plots for testing.
Approved Document E, requires that various walls and floors are tested between adjoining dwellings. The exact number of walls requiring testing will vary depending on the overall size of the development and the amount of different types of wall or floor constructions. On a typical small to medium development consisting of up to 10 dwellings with the same partition construction the project will usually require one single 6 pack. This consists of 2 airborne wall tests, 2 airborne floor tests and 2 impact floor tests. On a pair of semi-detached houses you may only require 2 airborne sound tests through the walls.
It depends on the location and the number of sound tests that are required on each site; it can be as low as £75 plus VAT per test if we are undertaking multiple tests. Please contact us at info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk to obtain a no obligation quote along with some friendly advice for you project.
UKAS accredited sound testing strictly follows ISO 16283 and the standards surrounding ‘calibration’, the process that makes sure all recording devices are operating without the fluctuation that gives a bias to specific frequencies. All testing equipment needs to be set at the correct amount and across these standards so that testing can be undertaken consistently at all times.Airborne sound testing is carried out using the following test methodology:

  1. A sound Level Meter gathers the ‘background noise level’ of the room, taking external noises into account, those such as road traffic can have a significant impact.
  2. A large dodecahedron speaker is placed in the transmitting room (on the other side of the partition, usually next door) and is measured in the receiving room, on the other side.
  3. The rooms ‘reverberation level’ is gathered first in the receiving room and source room to measure its ‘reflectiveness’ and its ‘decay time’, the amount of time it takes for a sound to dissipate.
  4. You then measure in the receiving room with a Sound Level Meter to assess the levels of sound transmission.
  5. The process above is repeated by moving both the speaker and measuring location to numerous locations in the rooms so that any resonances and anomalies are gathered.

In all cases the more complete a development, the more likely it is to meet air testing requirements. When we send out our quotation we also forward a specific air leakage checklist to help our client prepare for the testing.

Basically if you meet the following criteria will generally have a much better chance of passing the testing at the first attempt.

a. The building envelope should be fully complete; this includes walls, floors and ceilings.
b. All doors and windows must be fully fitted and able to shut tightly against their seals.
c. All electric fittings must be installed and functional.
d. All mechanical fittings must be installed and functional.
e. Gaps within walls and floors must be sealed.
f. All service penetrations must be fully sealed through the building envelope.
g. Bathrooms and kitchens must be fully fitted and all service penetrations sealed.
h. All mechanical ventilation turned off with grilles sealed.
i. All trickle vents to windows and doors must be sealed.
j. All fireplaces must be sealed.
k. Ensure water is present in soil pipes.
l. 240v power must be available on site.

To pass your sound insulation testing in compliance with Approved Document E, you will need to achieve the following sound insulation results:For separating floors & walls on new build projects

  • Separating Floor Between Flats Airborne Noise Reduction = 45dB Dn T,w + (Ctr) or greater
  • Separating Floor Between Flats Impact Noise Reduction = 62dB Ln T,w or less
  • Airborne Wall Tests to achieve 45dB Dn T,w + (Ctr) or more

For separating floors & walls on conversion projects

  • Separating Floor Between Flats Airborne Noise Reduction = 43dB Dn T,w + (Ctr) or greater
  • Separating Floor Between Flats Impact Noise Reduction = 64dB Ln T,w or less
  • Airborne Wall Tests to achieve 43dB Dn T,w + (Ctr) or more
In all cases the more complete a development, the more likely it is to pass the sound test and achieve the requirements of Approved Document E. When we send out our quotation we also forward a specific sound insulation checklist to help our client prepare for the testing.
Basically if you meet the following criteria will generally have a much better chance of passing the testing at the first attempt.1.Site noise should be kept to a minimum with no power tools, generators, radios, fire alarms etc. operating
2.Walls, floors and ceilings must be completed
3.Windows & external doors must be fully fitted, glazed and closed
4.Any ventilation systems should be installed and closed
5.Internal doors should be hung and closed.
6.Skirting boards, electrical sockets and light switches should be fitted.
7.To test impact sound transmission, we can only test the fabric of the building, therefore there must be no additional final finish floorings fitted
8.Rooms in which testing is to be carried out should be empty and tidy with safe access.
9.No-one else should be working in the building during the test
10.Free access to the properties on both sides of the separating partition is required
11.240v (50Hz) mains power is required within the property to run our test equipment

Firstly don’t panic. If you’re sound test fails we can recommend an acoustic upgrade to help you pass the sound test in compliance with Approved Document E.