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. The Building Regulations Approved Document E (ADE) states all new dwellings and renovated constructions should undergo sound testing.
Not doing so is a costly venture for developers and contractors as Building Control will not give a completion certificate for developments that have not undergone the test. As a result of this, we try to ensure that you are issued with a sound insulation certificate as fast as possible. In fact, we pride ourselves on issuing our sound insulation testing certificates as quickly as possible.
Even before you get the certificate, you will receive the results of the test. First, our skilled and competent sound insulation test will engineers give you a verbal result at the site. Then, a written report is sent to you within 24 hours of a working day.
- Over 15 years experience
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- Next Day Report Turn Around
What is a Sound Insulation Test?
To adhere to Building Regulations ADE requirements, adjoining walls, floors and ceilings in a building will have to be tested, except where licensed Robust Details were used. Sound testing measures the impact and airborne sound moving through new and old adjoining buildings. This tests include the boundary walls between buildings and in-between the spaces in a development.
What is involved in a Sound Test
Even though sound insulation testing equipment produces lots of noise, sound testing requires quiet conditions and dwellings. Because of this, workers on the site would have to leave during the time of the test, to avoid errors in the test calculation. A sound insulation test on a project is taken according to the scale and complexity of the construction and the conditions of the site. If the site is simple and of regular size, it typically takes about 90 minutes to complete the sound test.
After the test, the sound insulation test engineers will let you know the outcome of the test and supply simple feedback of important things noted during the test; e.g. problems that might occur in the future.
A full and thorough report with the certificate of the test will be given to you within 24 working hours. The sound testing guidelines are stipulated in Building Regulations ADE. It requires one set of test to be conducted on 10 units in a group or sub-group. You can find out what is meant by a sub-group in Section 1 of ADE. ADE also states the categories of developments that should be tested. There are three: rooms, flats and houses (including bungalows) that are lived in. Examples are student accommodation, hotel rooms and care homes. How much testing that is required for each category can be found below.
Why is Sound Insulation Testing Required? Why is it Important?
Document E of Building regulations, from 2003, made it compulsory for all new UK constructions to undertake a pre-completion sound test. New builds must achieve impact sound test results of no more than 62dB L’nTw and airborne sound insulation of no less than 45dB DnTw+Ctr. 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. When sound resistance is high in party walls and floors, the environment is more comfortable, since sound affects every aspect of our lives – work environment, home environment and while relaxing. This is why sound testing is crucial.
Sound insulation and having privacy while speaking are crucial for a number of reasons. When sound insulation is deficient, it can cause discomfort to occupants. For instance, an inhabitant in an apartment building sleeps during the day and works at night all the days of the week. If the neighbour in the upstairs flat has friends over and plays loud music, without a good sound insulation system, the working occupant will be uncomfortable and uneasy. Sound insulation impacts people’s lives in various ways. There are also developments where the neighbouring units are used for different purposes. In such cases, a sound test ensures that the noise coming from each unit is minimal.
How to Know if You Need Sound Insulation Testing
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
Document E of the Building Regulations explains sound insulation testing and makes it a necessity. Either you follow the pre-completion sound testing process stipulated therein or you use Robust Details. This way, you have conformed to the requirements.
Robust Details are design details for walls that were tested formerly and meet the sound performance parameters stated by Part E of Building Regulations. Using Robust Details, without taking a test, limits you to the design you’ve picked. 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. It also gives architects the opportunity to evaluate their design and give your structure a much better sound insulation which will increase sound performance.
How much does sound insulation testing cost?
Simply contact us and we will be able to provide a free, no obligation quotation as to the requirements and costs for your development. Our prices are extremely competitive and we’ve worked on developments of various sizes and types. You’re also assured of a quick turnaround time for your sound insulation test report and certificates.
Sound Insulation Test Time
The ideal period for a sound insulation test is after the fitting of windows and doors, and before the building is finished. If you want, AF Acoustics can conduct tests before then to find out if there are any problems on your property. To achieve the best results we would need the following during the test: quietness during the time of the test, 240V power supply and access to all the rooms unless a test plan has been agreed upon prior to the test time.
The Procedures of a Sound Insulation Test
The procedures of a sound insulation test are not difficult. Our site engineers can help you understand it better during the testing time. Airborne tests are conducted on party walls while impact and airborne tests are conducted on party floors.
A pink or white noise generator and a large speaker is used for the test in the biggest room between the two undergoing testing. The sound generated and received is measured with a sound level meter. 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. Measurements are then made to determine the levels in the receiving room of the tested partition in question. This gives a basic level difference between source and receiver rooms.
Finally, the difference in noise level is modified to accommodate reverberation time and background noise that was already in the receiver room. Reverberation time is how long it takes sound to decay by 60dB. Impact tests are conducted by fixing a tapping machine on the floor. The sound level in the room below it is recorded. This is used in calculating and computing the results. These results are checked against Building Regulations ADE conditions for that kind of dwelling. Of course, this is a simple way of describing the procedure followed when a sound test is carried out, but it enables you to understand it better.
Sound Testing Equipment to Expect
You can expect UKAS calibrated equipment from us, as stipulated by Building Regulations. Our certified engineers conduct tests to meet the current guidelines. An airborne test is used to check how much sound is moving through the air between partitions. 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 sound insulation performance of the partition. For impact sound testing, the equipment used is a tapping machine that uses dropping hammers to create noise and a sound level meter. Sound insulation tests are conducted in liveable rooms like the sitting room, lounges, kitchen/living spaces and bedrooms. You will get the test results in a report within a working day. This report can be used to help sign off your building as it is accepted by Building Control.
A sound test is mandatory for these buildings:
The airborne and impact sound going through new and old buildings are evaluated by sound testing. This can impact adjoining walls and floors between the building.
A new building with not less than two rooms
With the sound test, you can be certain that the property has a good acoustic performance.
Converting a property into several units
The transformation of a single dwelling property into flats must adhere to the sound insulation standards of Building Regulations.
Design not using Robust Details
Architects are able to use pre-tested and approved Robust Details design for partitioning walls and floors. The Robust Details scheme was formed in 2004 by Robust Details Ltd. If the design does not completely follow Robust Details, sound insulation testing will occur to be certain the building meets ADE criteria. The minimum requirements during testing will depend on a variety of factors such as if the development is intended to be a permanent dwelling, or classified as “rooms of residential purposes” (e.g. hotels, student accommodation, etc).
Towns in the UK AF Acoustics Services can be Found
AF Acoustics is an acoustic consultancy providing acoustic design services to clients nationwide, especially in Berkshire. Our clientele also include government agencies, architects, and organisations involved in planning and environmental consultancy. Our consultants are based in several strategic locations across the south east of the country to ensure that we can provide the most competitive quotations in the industry for sound insulation testing.
Why choose AF Acoustics for Sound Insulation Testing?
Our sound insulation testing expertise at AF Acoustics have aided several home and business owners in Berkshire. We come highly recommended by our clients because of the guarantees when you work with us
We’ve been conducting sound tests for more than 15 years
With more than 15 years of experience, we have a deep knowledge of our customers’ industry and provide actionable strong advice tailored to their needs. In more than 15 years, we have acquired extensive experience with providing acoustic solutions to private individuals and organisations in the UK, no matter the size or scale of the project. You get expedience and value for the price.
To ensure all clients in Berkshire can afford superior quality sound insulation testing, we offer some of the most competitive rates you can both in and outside Berkshire. If in doubt, contact us now for a free no-obligation quote.
Effective and quick consultancy
We will interpret your problems and necessities, present you with vigorous ideas and provide acoustic advice through our extensive 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.
Adaptable test dates
We make your convenience our priority. Therefore, we offer flexible alternatives that can help you select test dates that suit you itinerary. Call us to get your sound testing in Berkshire undertaken.
You get your report the next day
The sooner you receive the details of your sound insulation test results, the sooner you can get your building signed or remedy any problems. We endeavour to give you the report the following working day in all situations, even when the project is complex and large in size. The report will be detailed and thorough so that all necessities are written out and any advice provided.
Sound Insulation Testing Services We offer
We offer a wide range of thorough acoustic solutions for our clients nationwide, and we ensure a high calibre and effective approach. Call or mail us today so we can provide you with more knowledge on your acoustics needs.
Airborne and impact tests for floors/ceilings
These are taken on separating floors/ceilings between residences. The calculation of the sound level transferred from one unit to another through a separating floor via impact is called an impact test. Impact and airborne testing is undertaken between party floors.
Testing in line with Part E of Building Regulations
AF Acoustics sound testing adheres to ADE which stipulates information bearing on the sound resistance and performance of a property. 62dB L’nTw or less impact sound and 45dB DnTw+Ctr or higher airborne sound insulation is the required result for newly completed constructions. On the other hand, 64dB L’nTw or less impact sound and 43dB DnTw+Ctr or higher airborne sound insulation is expected from refurbished buildings.
Testing for sound insulation
We want to give our customers the most highest chance to acquire a pass and via our offer skilled services. In new build properties an airborne test or an airborne and impact test may be required to ensure it meets the requirements of greater than 45dB DnTw+Ctr and less than 62dB L’nTw. We regularly provide consultations for project managers and developers from the very start of developments, ensuring peace of mind when it comes time to having a sound test. Phone or email us for a free quote and more information on our sound insulation testing services.
Acoustic design tests in schools in accordance with BB93
For a school to meet up with Building Regulation acoustic requirements, it must adhere to Building Bulletin 93 (BB93) which explains the sound insulation expectation for schools in detail. If you’re constructing a new school in Berkshire, we can test the sound performance to evaluate if it meets the standards of BB93.
We have provided acoustic design services and consulting to various clients with different types and sizes of dwellings. We also give customised solutions and have a deep understanding of acoustic merchandise. Due to this fact, we will provide precise design answers suitable for the specific needs of the construction.
As anybody who has needed to handle the acoustics for a building will know, it’s essential to get proper advice, early in the project from a good acoustic expert. AF Acoustics can help you with identifying the right acoustic needs and standard for your construction at the beginning period and advise you on how to meet them.
We can help with:
Acoustic detail design for architects involved in residential developments for compliance with Part E Regs, BS8233, and so on. Detail layout for the commercial, health and educational constructions in order to align with regulations. Designs and specifications that ensure good sound performance of buildings in residential areas and other noise sensitive places. Increasing sound through public enterprise and sound reinforcement systems in conference rooms, halls, lecture theatres and the like.
Contact our professionals for a sound test quotation
We are an independent acoustic organisation that handles everything concerning acoustics including survey, design, architectural and building acoustics 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call.
Please send the following information to us
When contacting us, please give us the following information
Location of development
Provide the location of your building in Berkshire.
Number of dwellings
Number of dwellings on the property
How many storeys are there?
To get a precise quote, let us know the total number of floors you have.
Number of dwelling units per storey
To help us get you an accurate quotation and evaluate the scope of the test to be taken, tell us how many dwellings there are per floor.
Type of development
The type of building, as different building types typically require a different testing.
New construction or refurbished building
The testing requirements for new dwellings and converted properties are not the same. Tell us the type of building you have so that we give you the right quote.
Building regulations for sound insulation test
We undertake sound insulation test on various buildings that adhere to Building Regulations Document E. Testing can also enable you get more credits for Code for Sustainable Homes and EcoHomes environmental assessment constructions.
Sound resistance: approved document of building regulations (England and Wales)
Our certified engineers can come to your building whenever it might suit you to undertake sound insulation testing to Part E of Building Regulations adherence, recognised by Building Control.
Standard division for developments (Scotland)
In the words of Section 5.1 of the Scottish Building Standards, “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 to make sure you pass your sound test
The most efficient way to make sure you pass sound insulation test is to have a plan that puts sound insulation into consideration from the begining. You don’t have to spend too much for this and it will save you money in the long run, ensuring you don’t pay remedial or re-test expenses. Are you uncertain that the separating floor and walls you will build will adhere to Document E 2003 conditions? You can book our design services. Whether you want some initial tests on your project, or comprehensive reports at the end, we can help you at the level that you need. The following will give you a better chance of passing the sound test: Install and make sure that all external and internal doors and windows are operational Skirting boards are fixed Light fittings and switches and plug sockets are fitted and working. 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.
Investigation and report certificates
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 usually the next working day. 6. Even before you get the certificate, you get the verbal results of the test. First, our completely skilled and competent sound insulation test engineers give you a verbal result at the site. They also offer advice on potential problems. Then the test report certificate is sent to you within 24 working hours, when feasible.
The way the results look
A sound insulation certificate will be issued whether the Sound Testing results and report indicate compliance with Part E of the Building Regulations or not. If parts or all the building fails the test, repair work and a retest is recommended. We provide design advice to ensure your property does proper remedial and meets up with the necessary requirements.
Sound Insulation FAQ’s
What are the minimum requirements for separating party walls and party floors between neighbouring dwellings?
The minimum requirements depend on a variety of factors such as if the development is a 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).
New builds must achieve impact sound test results of no more than 62dB L’nTw and airborne sound insulation of no less than 45dB DnTw+Ctr. Converted properties must achieve impact results of 64dB L’nTw or lower and airborne sound insulation of no less than 43dB DnTw+Ctr.
Flanking sound (or flanking noise) is sound that transmits between spaces indirectly, going over or around, rather than directly through the main separating element. This can allow sound to transmit between spaces even though the main separating element itself provides good acoustic insulation. 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.
In the case of impact sound, the building construction is caused to vibrate as a result of a physical impact, such as footsteps on floors or stairs. The resulting vibration is radiated into other rooms in the building.
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 detailed, to ensure all relevant issues are covered. The best recommendations can also be sent in a separate report or email.
We can normally conduct up to a maximum of three sets of tests per day. One set is two airborne floor tests, two airborne wall tests and two impact floor sound tests.
When it comes to the acoustic tests, a full set of tests should take approximately 90 minutes.
The requirements of sound insulation testing are fully detailed in the Building Regulations Approved Document, available here [link], under Part E (2003).
This requires all residential buildings to be tested when they involve walls and/or floors. These are known as party elements.
Assuming no tests are failed, building control bodies should stipulate at least one set of tests for every ten dwelling-houses, flats or rooms for residential purposes in a group or sub-group.
New builds must achieve impact sound test results of no more than 62dB L’nTw and airborne sound insulation of no less than 45dB DnTw+Ctr. Converted properties must achieve impact results of 64dB L’nTw or lower and airborne sound insulation of no less than 43dB DnTw+Ctr.
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 met the building regulations. If a sound insulation test fails, we can give remindial advice to ensure the tests passes later.
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. 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. The greater the airborne sound insulation between two rooms, the lower the resulting sound level in the receiving room.
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.