Designing for Sound Testing

Designing for Sound Testing 
Design Review The first stage of our acoustic design services is to send through the design drawings – to include sections etc. we can review the design details to check that the construction details proposed are capable of passing the sound testing in-line with Part E of Building Regulations. This usually takes place straight after planning has been approved as increased cost savings can be realised at the earliest stage.

We can then evaluate the construction methods and materials specified to ensure that they are capable of meeting the acoustic requirements of Approved document E. The typical areas we check are:

> The walls and floors design are acoustically robust, to comply with Building Regulations Part E.
> There are no flanking points, where isolated partitions are wrongly mechanically fixed together to caused noise bridging.
> The acoustic treatments for Soil Pipes, Stair Cases Steel Beams etc. to ensure they are acoustically fit for purpose, as these are some of the many areas that get missed.

The Lighting specification to, ensure they are acoustically complaint to the overall design i.e. down lighter design etc. Acoustic floor treatments are compatible with the proposed floor finishes i.e. Carpets, Laminates, Floor Tiles and under floor heating systems.

Site Visits During early design and construction process, we can visit site to conduct a comprehensive acoustic design survey and review, we also take this opportunity to meet; where possible, the site/project manager, architects etc. as they often raise concerns about certain aspects of the build which can be very beneficial in locating potential problem area.

APT’s site survey assesses the most cost effective method of converting the property, to ensure it passes the sound test. Our proactive acoustic design service, takes into account the build-ability, programme time and material cost. We ensure the relevant parties are fully aware of the installation detail required, highlighting possible ‘onsite’ construction problems and their prevention to achieve a successful installation and building sign off.

Ongoing Site Support Once APT Sound Testing has completed the acoustic design report our services don’t finish there. We provide the site team with on-going design support. You will have direct contact with the allocated acoustician from the start of the process through to the successful completion of the project.

Once the part of the building is completed we can undertake sample sound testing to ensure the design and onsite construction methods are sufficient to achieve Part E sound testing compliance.

If you would like more information in regards to our acoustic design services and sound testing please follow our blog at:, or contact us at: or visit our website at:

Business: APT Sound Testing


Adding a New Stairway to your Property

Adding a New Stairway to your Property
A new staircase in your home offers several obvious advantages both in terms of appearance and practicality. New staircases come in a variety of colours and styles to complement virtually all home interior designs, with many specialist online staircase parts suppliers such as Stair parts Direct specialising in the manufacture and supply of high quality stair parts, including stair case spindles, newel posts, caps, bases and handrails.

One of the greatest benefits of adding a new stairway in the home is the potential value added to your home relative to the cost of the home improvement. Many staircase redesigns are very reasonably priced, with some attractive models available for a lot less than you might think. A well-selected staircase can even serve as an anchor for other home renovation projects such as new floor layouts and re-modelling.

A new staircase can be the unsung hero of your home renovation project. By adding style and sophistication in an oft-ignored area of the home, a new stairway will increase your home’s attractiveness and value at a relatively low cost. Smart homeowners who want to see the greatest return on their investment will consider including a new stairway in their home renovation plans.

With 30 years-experience producing Staircase Parts, Stair parts Direct offer a wide choice of designs combined with top quality craftsmanship. Our customers return time and time again, this is testament to our commitment to quality, value and service. Our comprehensive range is designed and manufactured in house, using only high quality timbers, adding style and character to any staircase. Our designs are distinctive and the craftsmanship is superb.

So if you are planning a new staircase then please contact us on 0191 341 0077 or visit the Stair parts Direct website and we will be delighted to discuss your ideas with you. Chances and we have probably done something similar before and will be able to help you make your ideas come to fruition.

Business:             Stairparts Direct


Yahoo Shares Slide on Declining Revenue

Yahoo Shares Slide on Declining Revenue
Internet search firm Yahoo reported a drop in revenue for the fourth straight quarter, prompting shares to fall more than 5% in after-hours trading. Revenue for display ads was down 6% compared to same period last year and Yahoo struggled to woo advertisers from rivals Facebook and Google.

Meanwhile, profits were up 28% to $348m (£210m) from October to December. But analysts say higher earnings are due to cost savings and investment in two Asian internet firms.

Shares in the tech giant are up over 80% for the year. According to research firm eMarketer, Facebook recently surpassed Yahoo as the number two digital advertising seller in the US. The company’s share of the US digital ad market declined to 5.8% in 2013 from 6.8% in 2012.

However, a string of acquisitions has heartened investors, including the firm’s much discussed purchase of blogging platform Tumblr.

“We saw continued stability in the business, and our investments allowed us to bring beautiful products to our users and establish a strong foundation for revenue growth,” said Ms Mayer in a statement. Marissa Mayer took over as Yahoo’s chief executive in July 2012

She also touted the firm’s re-launch of core products like Yahoo Mail and Yahoo Finance.

Improving Children’s Fitness and Health

Improving Children’s Fitness and Health
When it comes to children’s health and fitness, it can often be hard to get a youngster to get up and move. They often think it’s going to be boring, time consuming and hard. You can get all of these ill-conceived notions out of their heads when you sign your child up for Kidz R Fit. These programs are not only health and fitness-centered, but they are fun as well. Kids will especially love how we connect fitness and dance to make physical education even more appealing.

Not only will kids learn fitness, but they’ll build confidence and respect as well by learning the principles of dance. Kids have fun by learning movement, how their bodies work and fun choreography. Children learn the fundamentals all while in an energetic, heart-pumping session.

Kidz R Fit & BoogieStarz
Kidz R Fit features the BoogieStarz package, which offers a multitude of dances to keep the variety alive. Kids can choose between Street dancing, Disco, Salsa and even Bollywood. Each style offers music to keep the kiddos motivated and interested. Not only are kids learning our exciting choreography, but they will even have the opportunity to create their own. This keeps them vested in fitness since they are taking a hands-on approach.

Fitness and Dance for the Kids
Fitness and dance for kids is designed to allow children to build stamina, improve cardio health and keep body weight at a healthy range. When children sign up for dance fitness classes, they will be able to develop their stamina over time. Their bodies will get used to the exercise, which they will be soon craving. They will love the healthy sense of well-being that they feel after an exciting session. The constant moving and dancing will help your child’s cardio health. Their cardiovascular system will feel the benefits as their bodies become stronger. They will be better able to cope with basically any physical stressors thrown their way.

When it comes to fitness, most people automatically think about losing weight. While losing weight is important, maintaining a healthy body weight is crucial. This is one of the biggest indicators to tell whether someone is at risk for obesity. A healthy weight is also a buffer against diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

Kidz R Fit wants to get your child up and keep them up through specifically designed kids fitness and dancing. Your child will have fun, but more importantly, they will learn healthy tips that will help them maintain a healthy lifestyle through life.

Business:             Kidz R Fit


Adding a New Staircase

Add Beauty and Value to Your Home with a New Staircase
When planning home renovations, one often thinks first of the return on investment in a kitchen or bath remodel. While these are very worthy considerations, particularly when one plans to sell the home in the near future, the staircase can be the anchor of one’s entire home décor and should therefore be considered first – even before the kitchen and bathrooms – during any multi-level home renovation project.

The details one must consider when renovating a staircase are many, but doing so before deciding on a particular design – which should then guide other interior design decisions – will ensure that the stairs and the rest of the home décor work together as a whole. Before considering a staircase design, one must first think of who will actually be using the stairs. Do you have older relatives or small children living in your home? If so, consider a staircase with relatively low risers. Next, how high is your staircase? If your home has high ceilings and the staircase height is significant, you will need to install landings – if they haven’t been already – in order to make walking up and down the stairs easier for everyone who will be using them.

Also consider the location of the staircase in relation to the common areas of your home. In most multi-level homes, the staircase is anchored against a wall as a matter of both practicality and structure, but a home with a staircase suspended from the next level will require double the handrails and supports. Always follow your local building codes to ensure that structural requirements are met when installing a new staircase.

After these details have all been worked out, you will be ready to choose the ideal staircase design for your home. Whether your taste is traditional or modern, consider introducing contrasting colours to liven up the space. For example, if your taste is traditional and you favour keeping the wooden stairs you already have, the perfect update that would still have a traditional feel might involve painting the newel posts and bases a lighter colour than the baluster, which might be fashioned from sapele wood and stained an even darker colour. Alternatively, the homeowner might consider stairs and stair parts of a uniformly medium-dark colour which contrasts with light-coloured walls.

Those with more modern tastes might want to use consistently lighter-colour woods, such as pine or oak, to keep the space as light and airy as possible. The decision to use carpeted stairs, a stair runner or bare wood will depend on the overall home décor: if considering a patterned carpet for a new staircase, be certain to avoid patterned wallpaper and to keep the overall interior design as simple as possible so that all design components flow seamlessly together.

If your home renovation involves refurbishing an existing staircase, the easiest way to complete the job would be by ordering online staircase parts from a supplier such as Stairparts Direct. Suppliers focusing on balustrade components are happy to work with homeowners on do-it-yourself home renovation projects but might recommend hiring an experienced joiner for the installation of your new staircase parts.

Whether you’re improving your home in order to advertise it for sale or investing in a home that you and your family can enjoy for many years to come, a new staircase adds beauty to the home while increasing its property value. Let Stairparts Direct help you transform your staircase into a beautiful centrepiece within the space you will be proud to call home.

If you are planning a new staircase project and would like to include help in the design and planning, then send staircase parts your plans and we can offer you a quotation for stair treads and the required components to suit your theme.  With over 30 Years-experience, Stairparts Direct specialise in the manufacture and supply of high quality stairparts. Simply contact us via the Stairparts Direct website or email us on

Business:             Stairparts Direct


Microsoft to Let Non US Users Store Data Overseas

Microsoft to Let Non US Users Store Data Overseas
Microsoft is to let its customers outside the United States choose where their data is stored.

The software giant’s move comes in response to ongoing revelations about the extent of surveillance by the US National Security Agency (NSA).

Moving data away from North America should ensure it is harder for spy agencies to scrutinise it.

European governments have voiced fears about NSA surveillance and have led calls to overhaul privacy laws.

Details about Microsoft’s policy change came to light in a Financial Times interview with Brad Smith, its general counsel.

Customers should know which country’s laws applied to examination of their data, Mr Smith was quoted as saying, and should be able to pick where that data was stored.

In addition, he said, customers could choose exactly which European data centre they would like to hold their data.

The relocation system will only be available to business and government customers.

Leaks about the NSA’s surveillance systems had undermined trust in many US tech firms, Mr Smith added.

The decision by Microsoft could put it at odds with technology partners who have previously criticised calls to store data on customers in the countries where they trade or live.

Tech firms have said that requiring them to put data centres in every nation would be prohibitively expensive.

Information about the scope of NSA surveillance, which emerged in papers released by whistle-blower Edward Snowden, led Brazil to call for data to stay in-country, to limit the opportunities the NSA had to examine it.

Rate Rise Some Way Off, says Bank of England Director

Rate Rise Some Way Off, says Bank of England Director
A rise in UK interest rates is “still some way off”, a senior Bank of England director has said, despite the fall in the unemployment rate to 7.1%. Last year, the Bank said it would not consider raising the base rate from its historic 0.5% low until unemployment fell to 7% or below.

But Paul Fisher, a member of the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), said a rate rise was unlikely even then. Low inflation was easing pressure on the Bank to act, he argued. “Even if the 7% unemployment rate threshold were to be reached in the near future, I see no immediate need for a tightening of policy,” he said, giving a speech at State Street Global Advisors in the City of London.

With inflation back at the Bank of England’s target rate of 2%, and UK economic output still below its pre-2008 peak, Mr Fisher said that “we are still some way off the point where it is appropriate to start raising bank rate and that when it is time, it would be appropriate to do so only gradually.” Despite the recent strengthening of the UK economy, it is still 2% below its 2008 output level, he said. Amid “diminishing signs of inflationary pressure”, there was plenty of room for the economy to grow further before an interest rate rise became necessary, he believed.

However, there is rising speculation that interest rates will increase later this year, despite Wednesday’s MPC minutes making it clear the central bank is in no hurry to raise rates.

Sir John Gieve, former deputy governor of the Bank of England, told the BBC he thought there was a “reasonable chance” interest rates would rise by the end of the year if the economy continued to strengthen.

And on Wednesday, US bank Citigroup said it expected the Bank of England to raise interest rates in the final quarter of this year, not the beginning of 2015 as previously projected.

Speculation of an early rate rise boosted the value of the pound, which climbed to $1.6615 against the US dollar – a two-and-a-half year high – in morning trading.

Wedding Dress Cleaning Services

Wedding Dress Cleaning and Preservation.
Today’s weddings are more expensive than ever, regularly comparing in price to a new car. Not the least of the expenses is the wedding dress. For many married women, the wedding dress is far and away the most expensive article of clothing they will ever wear. While the occasion certainly warrants it – after all, it’s a rare event in one’s life – a wedding dress is typically expensive to acquire and, potentially, just as expensive to clean and preserve.

Although one never sees it in photos taken by a professional photographer several days before the wedding, the potential for your wedding dress to acquire stains is significant. Depending on weather conditions, inside temperature and the nervousness that is to be expected on your wedding day, you may have sweat stains form in the bodice area and elsewhere. Stains from food and wine at the wedding reception are another distinct possibility. Some of the most common ones, such as sugar stains from champagne and cake icing, are nearly invisible at the time they are created, and these stains can set and darken over time.

The good news is that, although your wedding dress will not likely survive the big day entirely stain-free, taking steps ahead of time to ensure that the dress is professionally cleaned and preserved within an appropriate timeframe will greatly improve the odds of your dress being restored to its original condition.

Taking the dress for cleaning within one month of the wedding is sufficient for many wedding dresses (so no need to shorten the honeymoon to save your dress), assuming there are no stains that need immediate attention. Otherwise, arrange to have it cleaned within a few days or as soon after the wedding as possible.

Imagine handing your precious wedding gown into the protection of the safest, most caring hands there are; gentle hands that will love it, respect it, nurture it and expertly clean and restore it, preserving the exquisite memories invested in every thread now and for the future.

At Dulais, we are renowned for being at the very cutting edge and forefront of bridal wear care and we are committed to protecting our position as the best in the business. Which means you know that your cherished dress will be treasured now and for generations to come. We treat every dress as unique, whether it’s classic or contemporary, modern or vintage, hand-painted or handmade. Every cleaning process should be unique also, so here at Dulais, our highly trained technicians treat every dress as an individual, creating a bespoke cleaning process for your gown and your gown only.

Our techniques are painstaking, time-consuming, and highly successful, which is why our brides tell their friends about us, building our reputation through word of mouth alone. We are also used and recommended by some of the country’s most reputable wedding dress retailers and consultants within the bridal industry.

To find out more about having your wedding dress cleaned and preserved why not contact Dulais now on 0800 028 3088. Whether your dream gown cost £400 or £40,000, whether it’s by Maggie Sottero, Iain Stuart, Vera Wang, or couture Dior – we understand best how to treat it and care for it so that you can always reach out and touch your special memories now and in the future.

Business:             Dulais Wedding Dress Cleaning Services


Quantifying Sound Testing Failures

Quantifying Sound Testing Failures – Part 2
Sound is caused by changes in air pressure. For example, when a drum stick strikes a drum the drumhead begins to move back and forth (vibrate). As the drumhead moves down, air is pulled toward it, and as the head bounces back up it pushes air away. This creates changes in air pressure that move away from the drum, eventually hitting our eardrums. These changes in air pressure are known as sound waves.

There are a number of factors that affect the propagation of sound. The most important include:

  • distance from source
  • wind direction and speed
  • obstacles such as barriers and buildings
  • reflections and ground absorption.
  • atmospheric absorption
  • temperature and temperature gradient
  • humidity
  • precipitation

It is important to understand that noise does not always decrease as one move away from a noise source. The above factors can work to increase or decrease noise levels. For example the wind can have a minor influence on the measured sound level.

At distances greater than 300 metres from a noise source, noise can become louder on the downwind side by as much as 20 dB, while on the upwind side levels can drop by 20 dB – this obviously depends on distance and wind speed.

Other things to consider include the fact that while acoustic or natural barriers may act to reduce high frequency sounds, low frequency sounds are difficult to reduce using obstacles or barriers. Additionally, while soft ground surfaces and the atmosphere are effective at absorbing mid-frequency and high frequency noise, these factors do not tend to reduce low frequency noise to the same degree. This means that as one moves away from the source, low frequencies often become much more prominent whereas high frequency sound will fall away.

Why are different types of noise not equally annoying
Not all noise has the same effect on humans, nor do all humans react in the same way to noise. Certain noise can greatly increase the annoyance factor and the potential health impacts associated with noise. In addition to the sound pressure levels i.e. if a new noise source and the prior ambient noise environment are similar levels then it may not be noticeable.

We at Apt Sound Testing  often find that changing the floor finishes on existing buildings can cause complaints. However, when we have tested the floor partitions in question they subsequently passed the sound testing. The problem is that with the carpet finish the floor may have been as high as 55dB, however with the carpet removed and either wood or a tiled finish applied the sound test achieved 50dB, now this is a pass however the noise levels (under part E) are 50% higher than they were originally before the changes to the floor construction.

APT Sound Testing can advise on all types of acoustic design, whether it’s accomplished during initial construction or during a refurbishment/renovation project.  We have the technical experience to help identify and rectify your soundproofing or noise control problem.

If you would like more information in regards to sound testing please follow our blog at: or contact us at: or visit our website at:

Business: APT Sound Testing


Retail Sales Growth in December 2013

Retail Sales See Strong Growth in December
UK retail sales in December were up 5.3% on a year ago – the fastest annual sales growth in more than nine years. The figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggested growth in consumer spending above the expectations of many analysts.

Trading updates from retailers have been mixed, and earlier this month the British Retail Consortium reported annual growth of just 1.8%. December’s sales were up 2.6% compared with November.

“This December was much better than what we’ve seen in previous years,” Kate Davies from the ONS told the BBC. “It’s the small stores that are very much driving growth – they are seeing a consistent gain of 8% annual growth, while large stores are seeing 2.6% growth.” She said online sales now accounted for about 12% of sales, and growth in online was being seen across all sectors due to the investment many retailers were putting into their websites.

The figures covered the period between 24 November and 28 December.

The results took many analysts by surprise, particularly following less positive figures from the BRC and anecdotal evidence from some retailers suggesting a subdued Christmas.

“UK retail sales showed spectacular and surprising strength in December, as discounting by stores drove a huge increase in the volume of sales,” said David Tinsley, UK economist at BNP Paribas. “The size of the jump in retail volumes is somewhat surprising against surveys of retailers and consumers which have not looked so strong, and fairly mixed Christmas trading reports from retailers.”

Kate Davies, head of retail at the ONS, said that it is “the small stores that are very much driving growth”

Over the past two weeks, a raft of trading updates from retailers has painted a picture of contrasting fortunes over the Christmas period. Supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons saw disappointing sales, although budget and higher-end food retailers did better. Department stores including John Lewis and House of Fraser reported healthy sales, but Marks and Spencer and Debenhams struggled. The positive retail figures may indicate strong growth in the overall economy in the final three months of 2013.

The UK economy grew by 0.8% in the three months to September, and more growth is expected when GDP data for the fourth quarter is released later this month.