The measurement of the sound reduced by partitions in a development, such as a wall or floor, is known as sound insulation testing or sound testing. It assesses how good the soundproofing materials fixed to the property development are. It is compulsory for new buildings and refurbishment projects, according to Approved Document E (ADE) updated in 2003.
As many contractors and developers have found to their detriment, without a sound insulation certificate, the Building Control Officer will not issue a completion certificate. Because we understand how the sound insulation certificate affects your building project, we ensure that you get it as quickly as possible after the test. In fact, we are proud of our turnaround times and our team will issue your certificates as quickly as we possibly can.
Our fully trained sound insulation test engineers can be on site when you need them. Your AF Acoustics engineer will give you immediate verbal results from the sound test, and you can will have a written report by the following working day.
- Over 15 years experience
- State of the art equiptment
- Onsite Support
- Next Day Report Turn Around
What is a Sound 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 Insulation Testing tests for both the airborne sound and the impact sound which travels through new or existing buildings . The tests cover party walls and floors between new and existing buildings, or between spaces within a new development entirely.
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. The process of a sound test is determined by the size and complexity of the site being tested. A structure that is simple and the conventional size will usually take 90 minutes to be tested.
Once it is completed, the engineers will give a verbal interim result on the site and basic helpful information on what was noticed during the test, e.g. possible sound issues and future places that could cause problems.
The entire report and individual sound test certificate will be sent to you the day after. The way a sound test is conducted is determined by ADE of Building Regulations. It mandates that in all developments, every 10 units in a group or sub-group will undertake one set of tests. It explicitly states what a sub-group is in Section 1. 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. Find below the testing stipulation for each kind of development.
Why is Sound Insulation Testing Required? Why is it Important?
Before completing a building, all new constructions should be tested for sound insulation, as stipulated by Approved Document E since 2003. Results for impact sound should be 62dB L’nTw or less while those for airborne sound insulation should be 45dB DnTw+Ctr or more. These result limits were put in to create and maintain a uniform standard for sound resistance in different parts of a dwelling and between adjacent buildings. Testing for sound insulation is vital because sound influences how we live in the office, while relaxing or in the house. Restricting the sound that moves between floors and walls could result in a more relaxed and better surrounding.
Insufficient sound insulation causes distress and comfort while an effective sound insulation system brings about speech privacy. This is one of the several reasons why sound insulation is a key element in building. For instance, in an apartment building, the neighbour upstairs might invite friends over during the weekend and put on loud music. The inhabitant downstairs might spend night hours as work time. If the sound insulation is inefficient, this could lead to lots of problems. This is just one example of how sound insulation can affect the quality of life of people in different ways. In a structure with flats for mixed purposes, a sound insulation test will make sure that there is maximum sound resistance from party walls and floors and less noise.
Do You Need a Sound Test?
You need a sound insulation test if you’re:
- Constructing a nursing home or residential rooms like hostel or hotel rooms,
- Converting a building with a single dwelling into flats,
- Constructing a property with two or more units,
- Using designs without Robust Details to build
ADE thoroughly explains sound testing and makes it compulsory.
There are 2 ways you can comply. Test for sound insulation using the method of Approved Document E or use Robust Details in your development. Robust Details are design details for walls that were tested formerly and meet the sound performance parameters stated by Part E of Building Regulations. You also cannot expand or tweak the design from the Robust Detail Approved listing. However, you are exempt from the sound test. This becomes difficult when you need to pick a more appropriate or cost-effective design that will suit your needs. Sound tests enable you do that, making it more flexible. 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 Will I Pay for a Sound Insulation Test?
We can send quotation that’s completely free of charge and is based on the kind of development you have. We have handled all kinds of sound insulation projects in UK and issue a report and certificate as quickly as possible. Our prices are affordable too and can beat others.
Sound Insulation Test Time
We can undertake your sound tests when your building has almost been completed. By this time, you should have fixed internal and external doors and windows. We can conduct sound tests beforehand if required. 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.
How a Sound Test is Done
Sound insulation testing is not complicated. Our highly qualified engineers will be willing to explain it in detail on the site. The boundary floors and walls get airborne tests. Floors get an additional impact test.
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. 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 tests, two speakers positions are used in the source room and the level of noise entering into the receiving partition room is measured. That way the difference in sound level is calculated.
The sound difference is adjusted to make an allowance for reverberation time (time in which the sound decays by 60dB) and background noise in the receiver room. Impact tests are done by placing a standardised tapping machine on the floor. The noise level is then recorded in the room below. Once the calculations are completed and the result is achieved, it is compared with Building Regulations Part E standards. 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.
What Sound Insulation Testing Equipment do we use?
Our licensed engineers use UKAS calibrated equipment to measure sound insulation according to the present standards of Building Regulations. An airborne sound test measures levels of sound transmitted through the air through a separating element. The equipment we use are a sound level meter, loudspeaker and white or pink noise generator. 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. 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 compiled in a report and issued to the client. The report will be accepted by Building Control and used for signing off your project.
These kinds of properties should undergo a sound insulation test:
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 2 or more dwellings
With the sound test, you can be certain that the property has a good acoustic performance.
Redevelopment of a building with a single dwelling into flats
The development that has been converted must conform to Building Regulations sound requirements.
Using designs where Robust Details are not included
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 building design does not strictly adhere to Robust Details, a sound insulation test becomes necessary to meet Building Regulations. 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).
Which areas of the UK does AF Acoustics cover?
AF Acoustics provides acoustic design services to customer nationwide, especially in Hillingdon-Heath. Our clientele also include government agencies, architects, and organisations involved in planning and environmental consultancy. We’re based in several areas across the south east region of UK so that we can give you the most cost effective quote in the industry.
Why AF Acoustics is the right choice for your sound insulation test
We have worked with many organisations and individuals in Hillingdon-Heath. Our clients have endorsed us for the following reasons:
More than 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. Our clients in the UK are completely satisfied with our acoustic solutions. Irrespective of the type of project you have, minor or major, you can be assured that we’ll give outstanding value for your money.
To ensure all clients in Hillingdon-Heath can afford superior quality sound insulation testing, we offer some of the most competitive rates you can both in and outside Hillingdon-Heath. 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. Both your short and long-term needs are handled with our professional guidance and quick answers to your problems.
Adaptable test dates
Because your convenience is important to us, we provide several options to help you choose a test date that is best for you. Call us to get your sound testing in Hillingdon-Heath undertaken.
Test reports arrive 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. That way, you can take immediate action on the recommendations given. Our reports are thorough and cover all the important issues.
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.
Impact and Airborne floor test
These are only carried out on separating floor/ceiling between dwellings. Impact testing evaluates how much the sound flowing from one partition to another through party floors via impact is. These floors in habitable rooms of flats undergo both impact and airborne tests.
Approved Document E test
Document E of Building Regulations requires certain criteria for the sound performance of a dwelling. Our sound insulation tests are conducted in accordance to these criteria. The minimum airborne sound insulation test result should be 45dB DnTw+Ctr while the maximum impact sound test result should be 62dB L’nTw for new structures. Converted properties get a slightly different requirement. Expected minimum airborne sound insulation test result is 43dB DnTw+Ctr while expected maximum impact sound test result is 64dB L’nTw.
We want to give our customers the most highest chance to acquire a pass and via our offer skilled services. In newly completed constructions, an airborne wall test and an airborne and impact floor test will be needed to meets the standards of greater than 45dB DnTw+Ctr and less than 62dB L’nTw. We routinely give advice to developers and project managers from the beginning of the project, guaranteeing certainty when the time for a sound test is at hand. Phone or email us for a free quote and more information on our sound insulation testing services.
BB93 acoustic design tests in schools
Building Bulletin 93 (BB93) explains the sound performance requirement for the acoustics of school buildings. It likewise states how a school can meet this requirement. Are you building a new school in Hillingdon-Heath? Contact us to arrange a sound test and make sure it meets the benchmarks of BB93.
AF Acoustics provide detailed acoustic design services and consulting on a wide range of buildings. We have the capability and experience to develop customised 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.
Getting advice on the acoustics of a development as early as possible is crucial. AF Acoustics can enable you to do that by advising you on the appropriate acoustic requirements of your property very early in the building process and recommending what to do to fulfil them.
We are able to help with:
Acoustic detail design for architects engaged with residential improvements in consistence with Part E Building Regulations, 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. Improving sound and public address system in halls, conference rooms etc.
To get a sound test quote for your building, call or email our highly skilled professionals
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. Our professional guidance and advice is provided to private individuals, businesses and government agencies amongst others. You can contact us by sending us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org or calling us for a free quote.
Please send the following information to us
When calling or emailing us please provide the following data
Place where the building is being built
Where in Hillingdon-Heath the property is situated
Total number of dwellings
Total number of dwellings in the building.
Number of levels in the structure
Let us know the number of floors in your development so that we can give you an accurate quotation.
Dwellings arrangements per level
This will also be needed to determine scope of the testing and provide an accurate quote
Let us know the type of development you have so that we can undertake the required tests for it.
New dwelling or converted property
Newly completed constructions and refurbished structures have different requirements for sound insulation testing. This is why it’s important to provide this information beforehand. Our quotation is available at any time.
Sound Insulation Testing Regulations
Our sound insulation tests are conducted in accordance with Part E Building Regulations in England and Wales and Section 5 of the Scottish Building requirements. You can also get credits for Code for Sustainable Homes and EcoHomes environmental assessment projects.
Sound resistance and performance: Document E of Building Regulations (England and Wales)
We have fully accredited engineers who can visit your property to issue appropriate certification that complies with the building control.
Standard division for structures (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.” Fully detached roofs or walkways that are not used for residential purposes do not have to take the sound tests of the Scottish Standards 5.1.
How to get a pass certificate for your sound test
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 design advice. 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 criteria should be followed to provide you with the best chance of passing your sound test: All windows and doors have been fitted and work Skirting boards are fixed Fix all light switches, light fittings and plug sockets. Our accomplished acoustic consultants work with developers, planners, contractors, and architects of all sizes from the early stages of the building plan to help limit any potential sound insulation performance problems to the completion of the construction, guaranteeing that all properties meet the criteria of Building Regulations Document E 2003.
Investigation and report certificates
To obtain a thorough evaluation of your building, we issue a report certificate within 24 working hours where possible. Our highly capable sound test engineers will give you a verbal result of the test, once the test is taken and proffer solutions to possible problems or future areas of concern. 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.
How the results are
Your test certificate will show if your development passed or failed the test and show if it adheres to the requirements of Part E of 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.
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.