Guidance for Sound Testing in London
New homes are usually built to high standards; however controlling noise requires careful consideration during both the design and construction phases of the project. To help our clients better understand the importance of pre-completion sound testing, we have produced this article: ‘Guidance for Sound Testing in London’. Which should provide an overview of the regulations, challenges and typical for pre-completion sound testing in London.
How long will the sound testing take?
The time taken for undertaking the sound insulation testing can vary greatly with site conditions. Generally a set of tests on houses (airborne tests between walls) takes about one to two hours and a set of tests on flats airborne tests between wall and floors) between two to three hours. During the test APT Sound Testing will require free uninterrupted access to the rooms in all test areas, to the side above and below the property under test.
Will sound testing be disruptive to site?
During the sound test, high levels of noise are generated but in order to record accurate test measurements, relatively quiet conditions are needed. Anyone working in the testing area will have to leave temporarily and any noisy works in the vicinity of the test areas including external site activity will need to be halted. Noisy works can include, drilling, hammering, sawing, jackhammering and the use of disc cutters.
We need access to all the rooms being tested. We will identify suitable couplings of test rooms and will try to schedule testing with you at a time when noise can be controlled to achieve the best possible testing results.
Can I Watch the sound testing?
We can happily give you a brief overview of the sound test and demonstrate what we do, however, during the actual testing there are stringent rules restricting the number of personnel within the test areas so you will need to leave the areas under test until the tests are completed. Also the noise generated can be as high as 110dB so health and safety issues come into play.
Should I let me neighbours know of the impending sound testing.
The noise levels we generate can be up to 110dB, so if the building is attached in any way to occupied properties then it would be advisable to inform the residents as they are likely to hear the test. In some builds access to the neighbours property may be required which may result in access problems if the neighbour is not informed prior to the test. We recommend you request access to the neighbouring properties at least 2 weeks prior to the test.
Will I know if the sound testing passed on the day of the test.
Where possible, APT Sound Testing will provide preliminary test results before we leave the site. This will be followed up a fully Approved Document E complaint report. The report will be emailed to you within 5 – 7 working days of your test; however this can be turned around in 24 hours under some circumstances. The acoustic report can then be submitted to your Building Control Officer.
What will help me pass my sound testing
Sound insulation performance can vary wildly for many reasons. If we assume a good acoustic design has been proposed, the most common factor resulting in poor acoustic performance is usually down to poor workmanship. Acoustic detailing is critical to maximising on site sound insulation performance, especially in floor wall isolation. To help our clients achieve Part E Compliance, we offer the following ‘3 step package’:
- Sample Sound Insulation Testing of the existing building. This offers an accurate overview of the acoustic performance of the existing partitions which enables us to offer a targeted acoustic design using the sound insulation performance of the existing construction.
- Acoustic Design Review of the proposed developments party walls and floors to ensure acoustic details with be sufficient to pass Building Regulations Part E
- Site Survey Visits to check that the onsite construction is being undertaken in-line with manufacturer’s guidelines.
We recommend that you appoint us at the start of your project to review the acoustic design – and where required sample sound testing) and thereafter we can carry out site inspections during the construction phase check specifically for any potential workmanship issues that could cause problems when it comes to pre-completion sound testing.
What acoustic design considerations should I heed?
There are many simple design consideration that you should take into account, a few of these are:
- Ensure all penetrations are fully sealed where they terminate through floors and they are adequately boxed with acoustic quilt and two layers of plasterboard.
- Avoid the use of lightweight blocks in the inner envelope construction as sound will travel both vertically and horizontally from dwelling to dwelling.
- The use of resilient suspended ceilings will help improve the performance of the floor partition.
- Ensure all support steels/timbers are carefully boxed out where they travel from flat to flat vertically and horizontally.
- Use a high quality resilient acoustic membrane on top of the floor to improve the impact performance of a floor.
In our experience if the acoustic design is taken into consideration from the offset of the project, then it usually results in compliance with Building Regulations Part E. In many cases sound test failure is down to poor acoustic design and poor workmanship, that is why we offer the 3 step process to achieve successful sound testing on your London project.
If you have a project that requires acoustic design advice or sound insulation testing, then please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us directly on 07775623464.