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. The Building Regulations Approved Document E (ADE) states all new dwellings and renovated constructions should undergo sound testing.
At the completion of the test, a sound insulation certificate is issued. Without the certificate, Building Control will not release the building completion certificate to the contractors and developers of the project. We understand how important it is for you to get a sound insulation certificate. That’s why we go the extra mile to make sure you get your certificate as quickly as possible. We take great pride in providing our certificates to you as soon as possible after the tests.
Our highly capable sound test engineers will be available on site when you need them. They will give you a verbal result of the test, once taken and a written report will be issued to you 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 Insulation Test?
Developments must test all walls, floors and ceilings that separate buildings or neighbours in a dwelling, to conform to Approved Document E (ADE) of the Building Regulations. You may not have to test your building if you used Robust Details which were approved before their installation. Sound testing conducts impact and airborne sound test on structures. The tests include the separating floors, walls and areas between buildings within developments.
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. Sound insulation testing varies by size, complexity and conditions of site 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.
A complete report and sound insulation test certificate can be produced and issued 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. Buildings are divided into three kinds for the test – houses, flats and rooms built for or converted to residential dwellings, like student accommodation, care homes and hotel rooms. How much testing that is required for each category can be found below.
Why is Sound Insulation Testing Required? Why is it Important?
After the 2003, Approved Document E mandates that all new structures in UK must take a sound insulation test before completion. 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. 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. 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.
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, 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. Then there are developments where each neighbouring room / flat / unit has mixed uses. If the development has passed the sound insulation test, noise is reduced to a minimum.
How Do I Know if I Need a Sound Test?
If you’re doing one of the following, then you need a sound test:
- Constructing a building that has two or more units
- Constructing a nursing home or rooms that will be lived in, e.g. hotel room or hostel
- Converting a single development to flats
- Using designs where Robust Details are not included
It is imperative that sound insulation tests be undertaken, as explained and stipulated by ADE.
All you have to do is follow the guidelines listed in the document or pay to use Robust Details and you will have fulfilled the requirements. If you choose the latter, you must use Robust Details which are a approved design details for partitioning walls and floors. With it, you don’t need a sound insulation test, but you must completely follow every aspect of the design from the Robust Detail Approved list. Being able to adapt your design to suit your needs is more efficient and costs less in the long run. When on-site pre–completion building sound tests are taken, architects have more scope with their design and can increase the sound insulation performance of the construction.
Cost of Sound Insulation Testing
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.
Ideal Period for a Sound Insulation Test
The best time for a sound insulation test is just before the construction of the property is finished and after all windows and doors are fixed. However, in the case of a problem we can take the test before then. For your sound tests to be conducted successfully we need the property to be quiet, with workers not near the rooms to be tested during the test time (a noisy environment makes the test difficult and sometimes unsuccessful). We also need access to all units unless the test program has been compiled earlier. Finally, we need 240V power supply.
The Process of a Sound Test
Sound insulation testing is not complicated. Our highly qualified engineers will be willing to explain it in detail on the site. We carry out airborne and impact tests on separating floors, and airborne tests on separating walls.
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. Background sound is also calculated. Noise in the receiver room should be 10dB more than the background noise at all frequency measurements, so source noise is set to be greater than background noise. Airborne sound testing is done in a similar way. First, two speaker positions are used for each source room. Then, the level of sound in the receiver room is measured so that the difference in noise level between the two rooms can be calculated.
The variations or differences in noise level are ‘corrected’ to take into consideration the already present background noise in the receiving room and the reverberation time – measure of time needed for a sound to decay or be absorbed in a closed room by 60dB. Impact sound tests are performed with a tapping machine positioned on the floor of the source room. Noise level in the room below is measured at various different frequencies. Calculations are done and the outcome is checked against ADE requirements for the type of building. This is a simple way of explaining how a sound test is conducted.
Sound Testing Equipment to Expect
Our licensed engineers use UKAS calibrated equipment to measure sound insulation according to the present standards of Building Regulations. Airborne sound test is the measurement of sound moving through the air through a wall or floor. Equipment used for the test include a noise generator, speakers and sound level meter. For impact sound testing, the equipment used is a tapping machine that uses dropping hammers to create noise and a sound level meter. Testing can only be completed on ‘habitable’ rooms. Habitable rooms can be bedrooms, lounges, living rooms and open plan kitchen/ living spaces. 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.
Sound insulation testing is essential for these dwelling types:
For sound testing we usually undertake impact and airborne sound test on buildings. This affects the separating floors and walls between habitable rooms of buildings and developments.
Property with two or more units
This makes sure that the sound insulation for the building meets all the necessary requirements.
Redevelopment of a building with a single dwelling into flats
The development that has been converted must conform to Building Regulations sound requirements.
Design not using Robust Details
Robust Details Ltd began the Robust Details scheme in 2004. The scheme enables architects use design details for separating elements, which have been tested before to comply with Document E standards. If the building design is slightly different from Robust Details, a sound test is essential so that Building Regulations criteria can be met. The minimum criterion is based on various factors such as the purpose of the development and if it is a permanent dwelling or rooms to be used as residences like students’ accommodations and hotels.
Parts of the UK AF Acoustics Cover
AF Acoustics is an acoustic consultancy providing acoustic design services to clients nationwide, especially in Parliament-Hill. Our clients include architects, planning and environmental consultancies. We also work with government agencies and private individuals. 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 you should pick AF Acoustics for your sound testing
Our sound testing experts and engineers have worked with various homes and businesses in Parliament-Hill. Our clients refer us to others because of the following benefits 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. 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.
Best rates available
To make certain that all clients in Parliament-Hill can pay for excellent sound insulation testing services, we have one of the best and most competitive prices found in and around Parliament-Hill. Contact us right now to get a quotation that’s completely free of charge.
Effective and quick consultancy
Our expert acoustic advice is tailored to your specific needs based on our experience which enable us to provide strong solutions. When you reach out to us for professional advice, we make certain that we render accurate solutions rapidly. We suggest productive answers that handle your present and long-term desires to the maximum.
Flexible 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. Contact us today to get sound testing in Parliament-Hill
Next day reporting
Getting your report quickly ensures you can take immediate action. We work towards issuing test reports within the next working day, despite the size or complexity of the construction. The report will be detailed and thorough so that all necessities are written out and any advice provided.
Sound Insulation Testing Services We offer
AF Acoustics offer a variety of complete acoustic slutions to clients all over the Uk, Phone or email us today for more information on how we can help you with your acoustic requirements.
Impact and Airborne floor test
These are performed on floors and/or ceilings between units. An impact test measures the levels of noise transmitted directly through a separating construction. The adjoining floors/ceilings of rooms intended as residences usually have both impact and airborne sound tests.
Testing in line with Part E of Building Regulations
Our sound insulation testing in accordance with Building Regulations Approved Document E, which sets out details pertaining to the resistance to the passage of sound. For new buildings, results for impact sound should be 62dB L’nTw or less while those for airborne sound insulation should be 45dB DnTw+Ctr or more. Converted structures expected impact sound results increases by 2dB L’nTw while the airborne sound results reduces by 2dB DnTw+Ctr.
Testing for sound insulation
With our professional and highly skilled expertise, we are willing to work with our clients to help them get a pass certificate in every situation. 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. Contact us today for more information about our sound testing services or to book a no obligation quote, free of charge.
BB93 acoustic design tests in schools
Building Bulletin 93 (BB93) describes the minimum requirement for the acoustics of a school building. It also stipulates how a school can conform to Building Regulations. If you’re constructing a new school in Parliament-Hill, we can conduct a test to be certain it meets the standards of BB93.
We provide acoustic layout services and consultancy for a huge range of building types and sizes. Our experience and expertise enables us to create bespoke solutions and understand diverse acoustic products. As a result, we’re able to provide targeted solutions to the demands of the project.
As anyone who has had to deal with the acoustic properties of a building will know, it’s important to get the correct advice, as early as possible from a good acoustic consultant. AF Acoustics can help you to identify the correct acoustic requirements for your project at an early stage and advise on the best means to meet them using expert knowledge of acoustic design.
We can assist with:
Acoustic detail plan for architects associated with advancements on residences adhering to ADE, BS8233, etc. Detail designs for the health, educational and commercial projects in order to meet up with the necessary requirements. Specification and design of building services for noise control in residential and other noise sensitive scenarios Public address and sound reinforcement (conference rooms / lecture theatres etc.)
Contact AF Acoustics specialist for sound insulation test quotes
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
Give us the following information when contacting us
Place where the building is being built
Provide the location of your building in Parliament-Hill.
Total number of dwellings
Tell us how many dwellings you have in the property.
Number of Storeys
Let us know the number of floors in your development so that we can give you an accurate quotation.
Dwellings configuration per floor
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.
Tell us the kind of property because different buildings require different amounts of tests.
Newly completed construction or conversion
The testing 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 with an accurate and competitive quote on your project in little time.
Sounds test in accordance with building regulations
We provide 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.
Building regulations document E resistance to the passage of sound (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.
Standard division for structures (Scotland)
Section 5.1 of the Scottish Building Standards stipulates that “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 make sure you pass your sound test
Make sure you pass your sound test by having efficient sound insulation included in the building design. It saves time and money and helps you avoid repair work and 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. We can study design reports, complete site visits and sound test the development to provide you with the level of assessment and consultation that your project requires from start to finish. The are required in order to have good conditions to undertake the sound insulation tests: All windows and door have been fixed and are functioning Skirting boards are fitted 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.
Certificates for test evaluation and report
We try to issue a certificate to give you the details of the test evaluation and report, by the next day. After the test, our site engineers will provide verbal results and advise you on how to solve potential problem 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
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. We can provide professional advice on designs that will surpass Document E standards if the building fails the test.
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.