Sound insulation testing is used to measure the resistance of sound provided by an element of a building (such as a floor or wall) between dwellings. It essentially measures the effectiveness of the sound proofing treatment installed as part of a build or property development.

It has been a mandatory part of the Building Regulations for new build and refurbishment projects since Approved Document E was revised in 2003. As many contractors and developers have found to their cost, without a sound insulation certificate, the Building Control Officer will not issue your completion certificate. Whether you’re a private individual with a one-off project, a regional house builder or a national property developer, the consequences of a failed sound insulation test can be equally devastating to your budget and your programme.

It has been a mandatory part of the Building Regulations for new build and refurbishment projects since Approved Document E was revised in 2003.

As many contractors and developers have found to their cost, without a sound insulation certificate, the Building Control Officer will not issue your completion certificate. Whether you’re a private individual with a one-off project, a regional house builder or a national property developer, the consequences of a failed sound insulation test can be equally devastating to your budget and your programme. Our fully trained, UKAS accredited sound insulation test engineers are regionally based so we can be on site when you need us. Your AF Acoustics engineer will give you immediate verbal results from the sound test, and you can usually have a written report by the following working day.

Contact us to arrange for an engineer to visit your site in LOCATIONXXX.
Or you can email us at info@af-acoustics.com

What is a Sound Insulation Test?

In order to comply with Part E of the Building Regulations, developments will require the testing of separating walls and floors. The only exception is where pre-tested and certified Robust Details have been used.

Sound Insulation Testing tests for both airborne and impact travel through new or existing buildings. This may affect party walls and floors between new and existing buildings, or between spaces within a new development entirely.

What is involved in sound testing?

The sound test itself produces very high levels of noise but also requires relatively quiet conditions on site. For these reasons, any workforce in the testing area will have to leave temporarily to ensure test accuracy. Undertaking sound tests on site varies according to the size and complexity of the building project and the site conditions. Generally, a sound insulation test takes about 45 minutes for a simple, regular sized project.

After the sound insulation test, the sound testing engineer will provide provisional results whilst on-site, as well as providing basic feedback about what has been noted during the test, e.g. potential problems or any future areas of concern.

The sound testing regime is set out in the Approved Document E of the Building Regulations. It states that one set of tests is required for every 10 units in a group or sub-group. Sub-groups are defined in Section 1 of Approved Document E (ADE). There are three types of grouping criteria that need to be assessed: dwelling houses (including bungalows), flats and rooms for residential purposes, such as student accommodation, hotel rooms, care homes etc. The extent of testing required for these three groups is shown below.

Why is sound insulation testing required? Why is it important?

Sound insulation testing is important because it affects the way we live whether at work, in the home or whilst at leisure. Noise reduction between walls and floors could result in a more comfortable, productive environment.

Sound insulation and speech privacy are critical for a variety of reasons. Inadequate sound insulation can be extremely distressing to those affected by it. For example, in a block of flats, your upstairs neighbour may (and not unreasonably) like to have friends over at the weekend, resulting in the playing of loud music. However, the downstairs occupant may be working nights and sleeping throughout the day, thus any inadequate sound insulation between these two flats would cause great disturbance and distress to the downstairs occupant. This is just one example of how sound insulation can affect the quality of life of people in different ways.

Do I Need a Sound Insulation Test?

You need sound insulation testing if you:

  • Build a new development of 2 or more dwellings / flats
  • Convert a former single dwelling into flats
  • Build a Nursing Home or rooms for residential use, i.e hotel or hostel
  • Have designs which do not adhere to Robust Details

Sound insulation is covered and made mandatory under Approved Document E of The Building Regulations.  There are two ways in which to show compliance. You can either test to the regime set out in Approved Document E (ADE), or pay to use Robust Details. Robust Details are a set of specific design details for walls and floors that have been previously tested to show compliance and must be used if this route is selected. The Robust Details scheme means that testing is not necessary, but is strictly limited to the design given in the Robust Details approved list. Sound testing provides more flexibility by allowing different designs and is often therefore more cost effective in many ways compared to the Robust Details Scheme. Conducting on-site pre-completion sound testing also enables the architects more scope with their design and can lead to improved sound insulation performance.

How much does sound insulation testing cost?

Simply contact us and we will be able to provide free, no obligation quotation as to the requirements and costs for your development. We have worked throughout the country on all sizes of project, and should a sound insulation report and certificates be required, we can provide the fastest turnaround times and most competitive prices available. if you get a better quote elsewhere, simply forward it to us and we will try and beat it!

When can I carry out the sound insulation tests?

Ideally, a test should be carried out as early as possible as problems are more difficult to fix the further along you are. To be able to conduct sound insulation testing we require the provision of a 240V power supply, and a quiet site (a noisy site can make conducting the tests extremely difficult). Access will be required to all rooms of the development unless a test schedule is determined in advance. To have us determine a test schedule in advance to minimise on-site disruption, please contact us here.

How is sound insulation testing carried out?

Sound testing procedure is quite simple and our engineers are happy to explain this on site. For partition walls, there is one type of test, airborne. For floors there are two types, airborne and impact tests.

The airborne sound insulation test is carried out with a large speaker or dodecahedron speaker, using a white or pink noise generator to create the source sound, almost always in the largest room of the two rooms under testing. A sound level meter is then used to take noise measurements within the source room and the receiver room (room directly adjacent to the source room). The background noise level is also measured. The higher the background noise then the higher the source noise will need to be set, since the resulting noise level in the receiver room needs to be 10dB higher than the background noise at all measured frequencies. For airborne sound tests, two individual speaker positions are used for each source room.

Impact tests are carried out by means of a tapping machine placed on the floor to be measured. The noise level is then recorded in the room below. Calculations based on these measurements are undertaken and the results compared to the Building Regulations Part E requirements for the given type of the building. This is of course, a somewhat simplified explanation without the various mathematical formulae involved, but helps to explain the process in a logistical manner.

Request a call from our technical sales team
Or you can email us at info@af-acoustics.com

What Sound Insulation Testing Equipment do you use?

Our accredited engineers are testing to the current standards. We use only UKAS calibrated equipment, as stated by the building regs. An airborne test measures levels of sound transmitted through the air. We use a loudspeaker and noise generator that produces white or pink noise on one side of the partition, and measure with a sound level meter on both sides to calculate the sopiund insulation performance of the partition.

Examples of airborne noise that you would expect to find in a dwelling are televisions, radios and people talking. We use a tapping machine, which drops metal hammers onto the floor to create impact noise. We then measure the amount of sound that passes through the partition with a sound level meter in the room under the tapping machine. All testing can only be completed on ‘habitable’ rooms. Habitable rooms can be bedrooms, lounges, living rooms and open plan kitchen/ living spaces. Test findings are fed into a report that will be sent to the client. This report will always be acceptable to Building Control and will help you to get your development signed off.

Sound Insulation Testing is necessary for these types of builds:

Sound Insulation Testing checks for both airborne and impact travel through new or existing buildings. This may affect party walls and floors between new and existing buildings, or between spaces within a new development entirely.

Two or more new build dwellings or flats

This is to ensure that the sound proofing of the building is up to standard for residential purposes

Residential builds such as hotels, hostels and nursing homes

To ensure convenience of neighbouring inhabitants regardless activity in the adjoining room

Conversions of former single dwelling properties into flats

The transformation of the single dwelling property into flats must adhere to the sound insulation standards of LOCATONXXX

Designed in a way that does not adhere to Robust Details

The Robust Details scheme was set up in 2004 by Robust Details Ltd as a way to help architects and builders design and construct separating elements with the confidence that the separating wall and/or floor will be capable of achieving the sound performance parameters in Approved Document E, and comply with the Building Regulations

If the building design is not in line with any Robust details, it will require sound testing to ensure its compliance with the buildings regulations.  The minimum requirements during testing will depend on a variety of factors such as if the development is new build or refurbished, whether the development is intended to be a permanent dwelling, or classified as “rooms of residential purposes” (e.g. hotels, student accommodation, etc).

Which areas of the UK does AF Acoustics cover?

AF Acoustics is an acoustic consultancy providing acoustic design services to clients nationwide, especially in LOCATIONXXX. We work with architects, planning and environmental consultancies as well as private individuals and government agencies.

Our consultants are based in LOCATIONXXX and several other strategic locations across the country to ensure that we can provide the most competitive quotations in the industry for sound insulation testing.

A list of some of the other areas we cover include:

  • London
  • Brighton
  • Reading
  • Manchester
  • Liverpool
  • Guildford
  • Portsmouth
  • Southampton
  • Bournemouth
  • Norwich
  • Bristol
  • Canterbury
  • Hastings
  • Gillingham
  • Colchester
  • Wycombe
  • Northampton
  • Oxford
  • Birmingham
  • Leicester
  • Cambridge
  • Swindon

Why choose AF Acoustics for Sound Insulation Testing?

 Our sound insulation testing expertise at AF Acoustics have aided several home and business owners in LOCATIONXXX. We come highly recommended by our clients because of the following guarantees of working with us

Over 15 years’ experience

We understand the sectors our clients work in. Our advice is not only technically robust but also practical and helpful to our client’s particular situation. At AF Acoustics, we always look at the bigger picture and work towards the ultimate development goal.

We have over 15 years of combined experience satisfying the acoustic needs of UK business and homeowner with a proven track record on both small scale projects and major projects. You can always rely on us for exceptional value for money.

Competitive rates

To ensure all clients in LOCATIONXXX can afford superior quality sound insulation testing, we offer some of the most competitive rates you can find on the service both in and outside LOCATIONXXX. If in doubt, contact us now for a free no-obligation quote.

Fast and efficient consultancy

We will listen to your needs, present you with robust solutions and deliver acoustic consultancy through our considerable experience. When you reach out to us for professional guidance, we make it a priority and deliver accurate answers fast. We recommend effective solutions that are most in line with your current and long-term needs.

Flexible test dates

Your convenience is also important to us. This is why we offer you flexible options that let you pick test dates that are most convenient for you. Call us now to schedule for sound insulation testing in LOCATIONXXX

Next day reporting

The sooner you get a report on the completed sound insulation test, the sooner you can take appropriate action. We strive to deliver next day reporting in all scenarios regardless the complexity or size of the project. The delivered report will be comprehensive and well detailed to ensure all relevant issues are covered and best recommendations are provided.

Sound Insulation Testing Services We offer

AF Acoustics offer a range of comprehensive acoustic solutions to customers nationwide, and we guarantee a high-quality and high-efficiency approach. Phone or email us today for more information on how we can help you with your acoustic requirements

Airborne wall test

These tests are carried out on party walls and

Airborne Sound Insulation (ISO 140-4 and ISO 140-7)

All of our sound insulation tests are carried out in accordance with ISO 140-4 and ISO 140-7. All of our test engineers are members of the Institute of Acoustics and AF Acoustics is UKAS accredited for pre-completion sound testing.

Impact and Airborne floor test

These are only carried out on separating floor/ceiling divides between dwellings. An impact test measures the levels of noise transmitted directly through a separating construction as a result of impact.

Airborne and Impact tests are carried out on the separating floors between habitable rooms of flats.

PART E Testing

Sound insulation testing that must comply with Building Regulations Approved Document E. Approved Document E which sets out details pertaining to the resistance to the passage of sound.

New builds must achieve impact sound test results of no more than 62dB L’nTw and airborne sound loss of no less than 45dB DnTw+Ctr. Converted properties must achieve impact results of 64dB L’nTw or lower and airborne sound loss of no less than 43dB DnTw+Ctr.

Portfolio


Sound Insulation Testing – New Buildings

From 2003, Approved Document E states that all new UK builds must undergo pre-completion sound insulation testing. New builds must achieve impact sound test results of no more than 62dB ) and airborne sound loss of no less than 45dB.

This Approved Document, as part of UK Building Regulations helps to ensure that new buildings are constructed to minimum standards that provide ‘reasonable resistance to sound from other parts of the same building and from adjacent buildings.’ All of our tests are fully compliant with Approved Document E and our expert team have been carrying out compliant tests for many years, for a variety of satisfied customers throughout LOCATIONXXX.

Sound Insulation Testing

We offer the highest levels of service and expertise and are always happy to work with our customers to give you the best possible chance of achieving a pass certificate.

In new build properties an Airborne test or an Airborne and Impact test may be required to ensure it meets the requirements of DnTw+Ctr ≥45dB and L’nTw  ≤62dB.

We regularly provide consultations for project managers and developers from the very start of developments, ensuring peace of mind when it comes time to have a sound test.

Contact us today for more information about our sound testing services or to book a no obligation quote, free of charge.

BB93 Acoustic Design testing in Schools

Building Bulletin 93 (BB93) explains minimum performance standards for the acoustics of school buildings. It also describes the normal means of demonstrating compliance with the Building Regulations.

If building a new school in LOCATIONXXX, we can test the building to check if it meets the requirements of BB93.

Acoustic Design

AF Acoustics provide detailed acoustic design services and consultancy on a wide range of buildings. We have the capability and experience to develop bespoke solutions, and have a strong working knowledge of available proprietary acoustic products. We will develop detailed design solutions suitable for the specific demands of the project.

As anyone that has had to deal with the acoustic properties of a building will know, it’s important to get correct advice, as early as possible from a good acoustic consultant.

AF Acoustics can help you to identify the correct acoustic requirements for your scheme at an early stage and advise on the best means to meet them using expert knowledge of acoustic design.

We can help with:

  • Acoustic detail design for architects involved in residential developments for compliance with Part E Regs, BS8233, and so on.
  • Detail design in educational, healthcare and commercial schemes for compliance with the relevant guidance
  • Specification and design of building services for noise control in residential and other noise sensitive scenarios
  • Recording studio / critical listening environment design and project management. Custom specification of audio-visual equipment including loudspeakers, home cinema / multi room systems etc. We also have experience in cinema screen room design
  • Public address and sound reinforcement (conference rooms / lecture theatres etc.)

Call Our Experts Now For A Sound Insulation Testing Quote

At AF Acoustics, we are an independent acoustic consultancy. Our work embraces acoustic surveys, acoustic design and investigation work in the fields of planning and noise, architectural and building acoustics, the monitoring and control of vibrations and air tightness testing. Whether you are a company or a private individual, we are here to advise and guide you. If you would like a friendly and accurate sound insulation testing quote, please send an email to info@af-acoustics.com or give us a ring.

020 3372 4430 Contact us

We will need the following information:

When contacting us for sound insulation testing quote, we will need you to provide the following information

Location of development
Where in LOCATIONXXX the property is situated
Number of dwellings
Number of dwellings on the property
Number of levels
For an accurate calculation of the quote
Configuration of dwellings (no. of units per level)
This will also be needed to determine scope of the testing and an accurate quote
Types of construction
The type of building it is as different building types typically require a different testing process

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New Build or conversion project?

The testing process and requirement for new builds and conversion projects are different. We will need this information to determine what standard the testing ought to follow.

With this information, we can easily provide you an accurate and competitive quote on your project in little time.

Sound Insulation Testing Regulations

We provide UKAS accredited sound testing and sound insulation testing on all types of buildings, for compliance with Part E Building Regulations in England and Wales and Section 5 of the Scottish Building Standards. Testing can also gain credits for Code for Sustainable Homes and EcoHomes environmental assessment schemes.

Resistance to the passage of sound: Approved Document E (England and Wales)

We can have fully accredited engineers sent to your property at your convenience to provide certification for Building Regulations Part E compliance, recognised by Building Control

Building Standards Division (Scotland)

Section 5.1 of the Scottish Building Standards states “Every building must be designed and constructed in such a way that each wall and floor separating one dwelling from another, or one dwelling from another part of the building, or one dwelling from a building other than a dwelling, will limit the transmission of noise to the dwelling to a level that will not threaten the health of the occupants or inconvenience them in the course of normal domestic activities.”

Tests should be performed after construction, using the procedures given in annex 5.C. of the Scottish Standards. Standard 5.1 does not apply to: fully detached houses or roofs or walkways with access solely for maintenance, or solely for the use of the residents of the dwelling below.

How Do I Pass a Sound Insulation Test?

Soundproofing to achieve compliance with Part E, should not be just about ‘Passing’ because if you ‘Just Pass’ or have a ‘Marginal Pass’ this means the property passes the required test but has

The most effective way to ensure you pass your sound test is to plan the project with sound insulation in mind. This does not need to be costly, and can save considerable time and expense at the end of the project, not to mention avoiding escalating remedial and re-test costs.

If you are unsure of how to build the separating floor and wall constructions and associated junctions across your development to satisfy the requirements of Document E 2003, we can offer a design service. The degree of guidance you require can vary, from site visits and design reports to initial testing of constructions to know your starting point for construction.

One of the simplest ways to help your development pass is to ensure you book the sound test at the right time. Before your sound test, we suggest that building work is 100% complete, but the building is not decorated, and does not have floor finishes or furnishing. The room should be free of building materials or other clutter.

The following criteria should be followed to provide you with the best chance of passing your sound test:

  • Windows and internal and external doors are fitted and operable
  • Skirting boards are fitted and sealed
  • Light switches, light fittings, appliances and plug sockets are properly fitted

Our experienced acoustic consultants work with developers, contractors, architects and planners of all sizes from the early design stage to help minimise any potential issues right through to project completion, ensuring that all properties are compliant with Building Regulations Document E 2003

Analysis and Report Certificate

To help you get a clear picture of the results of a completed sound insulation testing, we will provide you analysis and report certificate. After the sound insulation test, the sound testing engineer will provide provisional results whilst on-site, as well as providing basic feedback about what has been noted during the test, e.g. potential problems or any future areas of concern.

A full report and individual sound test certificates can be generated and sent out the next day

What do the results look like?

A completion certificate will only be issued if the Sound Testing results and report indicate compliance with Part E of the Building Regulations.

In the event of a wall or floor not achieving the Part E requirements, it may be necessary to carry out remedial works before having another sound test carried out.  We can provide you with remedial design advice to help you achieve the Building Regulations requirements.

Approved Document E

Approved Document E states that all new UK builds must undergo pre-completion sound insulation testing. New builds must achieve impact sound test results of no more than 62dB (decibels) and airborne sound loss of no less than 45dB. Converted properties must achieve impact results of 64dB or lower and airborne sound loss of no less than 43dB. Approved Document E sets out details pertaining to the resistance to the passage of sound.


Our Clients


Sound Insulation FAQ’s

The minimum requirements depend on a variety of factors such as if the development is new build or refurbished, whether the development is intended to be a permanent dwelling, or classified as “rooms of residential purposes” (e.g. hotels, student accommodation, etc).

Flanking is the situation where airborne or impact sound passes under, over or around a wall or floor partition. The sound travels along shared building elements of adjacent structures.

Engaging our services at an early stage allows us to check designs and add necessary measures to prevent this occurring after construction. In the worst cases, flanking can exceed the direct transmission and lead to a failed test, despite highly specified partitions.

Impact Sound Insulation is protection against noise originating directly on a structure by blows or vibration e.g. footsteps above, furniture being moved, drilling and hammering the structure.

Weighted Sound Reduction Index is the alternative to Sound Transmission Class (STC) and used by most of the world. It is an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) rating and part of the ISO 140 (Acoustic) family. Rw ratings are similar to STC in that they follow familiar testing methods.

But they also differ quite a bit: for example, Rw covers a larger frequency range than STC. You can’t simply compare an Rw rating to an STC rating. Some professionals prefer Rw because it corresponds to the decibel scale. So an Rw 50 rating means you could expect the noise you want to ‘block’ to be reduced by 50 decibels.

We can provide preliminary results on the day of test. We strive to deliver next day reporting in all scenarios regardless the complexity or size of the project. The delivered report will be comprehensive and well detailed to ensure all relevant issues are covered and best recommendations are provided.

Provided the construction process doesn’t hold us up to much we can do up to four sound insulation tests in a day. If necessary we can do more than this for an additional charge.

The longest part of each test is always the build process. When it comes to the acoustic tests the first sound insulation test is the longest because we need to measure the reverberation times in the receiver room, after this provided the material of the partition wall doesn’t change subsequent sound insulation tests are shorter. After calibration the first test will take 1hour to 1½ hours and subsequent tests which don’t need reverberation times should take 30 mins each.

As a rule of thumb it is expected that the results achieved in the lab will be 5dB higher than can be expected on site. This is due to a variety of reasons; including flanking transmission, rebuild quality on site etc.

The aperture size is 2.4m x 3.6m and you should expect to fill this for the test.

The requirements of sound insulation testing are fully detailed in the Building Regulations Approved Document, available here [link], under Part E (2003).

It requires all residential buildings to be tested when they involve walls and/or floors. These are known as party elements. All new-build or converted residential properties in the UK fall under this regulation, with a minimum sample of 10% of properties requiring sound insulation testing.

We recommend that if possible, we are contacted before a build to provide a design review and advice on how to meet quality standards.

Should the test fail, we can offer advice on how to improve the sound insulation. We have consulted on hundreds of building projects in the past, and have ensured all of them have meet the building regulations.. If a sound insulation test fails, it can often cost hundreds or even thousands of pounds to rectify, so it really is worth speaking to us at the early stage of a build, to ensure peace of mind.

We understand that most clients would prefer testing to take place as soon as possible. Once you get in touch we will schedule the test at the earliest available opportunity.

You can call us today to set up an appointment for sound insulation testing in LOCATIONXXX. Our scheduling is flexible so that you can get the service you need at your convenience.

Ideally, a test should be carried out as early as possible as problems are more difficult to fix the further along you are. Where possible, it’s recommended that testing is carried out before kitchens or bathrooms are installed. The minimum that we require to be able to carry out a test is:

  • All doors, windows and seals should be fully fitted and closable
  • All electrical fittings should be fitted and working
  • 240V mains power must be available on-site in all rooms
  • Gaps in walls and floors should be fully sealed
  • All walls and ceilings should be plastered
  • There should be no holes remaining in floors or ceilings
  • Testers will require access to all rooms on all levels

Pre-completion sound testing is a building regulation requirement for all purpose built & “formed by material change of use” (i.e. refurbished) properties since 2003. Sound testing is undertaken in a percentage of properties in each development to ensure that the separating walls & floors between habitable rooms of neighbouring properties meet the minimum requirements as defined by Approved Document E, commonly referred to as ADE.

From 2003, Approved Document E states that all new UK builds must undergo pre-completion sound insulation testing. New builds must achieve impact sound test results of no more than 62dB L’nTw and airborne sound loss of no less than 45dB DnTw+Ctr. Converted properties must achieve impact results of 64dB L’nTw or lower and airborne sound loss of no less than 43dB DnTw+Ctr. Approved Document E sets out details pertaining to the resistance to the passage of sound.

This Approved Document, as part of UK Building Regulations helps to ensure that newly built or converted houses and residencies, flats and residential spaces and other relevant buildings are constructed to minimum standards that provide ‘reasonable resistance to sound from other parts of the same building and from adjacent buildings.’ All of our tests are fully compliant with Approved Document E and our expert team have been carrying out compliant tests for many years, for thousands of satisfied customers throughout the UK.

We understand the sectors our clients work in. Our advice is not only technically robust but also practical and helpful to our client’s particular situation. At AF Acoustics, we always look at the bigger picture and work towards the ultimate development goal.

In order to provide you best solutions, we will listen to your needs, present you with robust solutions and deliver acoustic consultancy through our considerable experience. Our ever-expanding knowledge-base allows us to provide cost-effective and streamlined solutions.

Our consultants are very experienced and have a proven track record on both small scale projects and major projects. As we are a lean and small company, we have lower overheads and therefore offer exceptional value for money.

Airborne sound (or airborne noise) is sound that is transmitted through the air. Airborne Sound Insulation is the insulation against noise originating in air, e.g. voices, music, motor traffic, wind. This is unlike Impact Sound Insulation that protects against noise originating directly on a structure by blows or vibration e.g. footsteps above, furniture being moved, drilling and hammering the structure.

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  • Monday 09:00 - 17:00
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  • Saturday Closed
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