Sound Testing & Building Regulations
Sound insulation testing for Part E of Building Regulations has been a mandatory requirement since July 2003. All new build dwellings and conversions which were built after this date require 10% of each party wall/floor construction type to be tested.
Sound Tests needs to be carried out between pairs of rooms separated by party walls or floors. In most cases the rooms to be sound tested will be the two main habitable rooms – living rooms and bedrooms. The sound test procedure involves setting up a noise source in a room on one side of the party wall or floor and measuring the noise on both sides of the partition.
AIRBORNE WALL SOUND TESTS
Airborne wall sound tests are undertaken horizontally between a 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. 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.
AIRBORNE FLOOR SOUND TEST
Airborne floor sound tests are usually required between vertically separated pairs of rooms, i.e. from a ground to 1st floor flats.
The sound tests are undertaken using the same method as above.
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.
We use the latest acoustic equipment which is class one rated and UKAS calibrated to the highest standards. We provide full ISO & UKAS complaint sound testing.
REQUIRED SOUND LEVELS
Basically, for new build properties you need to achieve 45dB or higher for airborne wall and floor sound tests and 62dB for Impact sound tests. For Converted properties the levels are slightly easier to achieve with 43dB for airborne wall and floor sound testing and 64dB for impact sound testing.
DO I NEED TO CARRY OUT SOUND TESTING?
Building Regulations Part E require that builders demonstrate the sound insulation performance of separating walls/floors in new-build dwellings and/or converted dwellings or rooms for residential purposes (as well as those newly formed by a material change of use).
This applies when separate dwellings are attached via a common partition not exclusively used by the same occupants. The only way to satisfy the relevant compliance with building regulations is to undertake sound insulations testing.
The regulations set minimum performance requirements for sound insulation between spaces, as to provide reasonable conditions for living. Performance can be demonstrated either by sound testing a sample of as-built constructions/properties.
Pre-completion sound insulation testing may also be required in non-residential buildings such as schools, hospitals, workplaces, where the as built acoustic performance needs to be demonstrated to ensure noise sensitive areas (e.g. classrooms, wards, meeting rooms) are suitably insulated from noisier areas or to comply with BB93 & BREEAM requirements.