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 (ADE) was revised 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. We know how important a sound insulation certificate is to you. That is why we work hard to make certain that you get the certificate quickly. We take great pride in providing our certificates to you as soon as possible after the tests.
Our highly qualified site engineers can arrive on site when needed. They will provide verbal results after the test and a written report will be sent to you within 24 working hours.
- Over 15 years experience
- State of the art equiptment
- Onsite Support
- Next Day Report Turn Around
What Sound Insulation Testing Does
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 Robust Details have been used. Sound insulation tests examine airborne and impact sound moving between separating walls and floors. The tests include party walls and floors between structures or between spaces within a new development.
What is involved in a Sound Test
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. The way a sound test is administered depends on the size and type of building and the development’s condition. Most of the time the test will be conducted in 90 minutes, for a simple, regular sized construction.
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 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. ADE goes on to define and group the type of structures that will undergo testing. They are houses, flats and rooms that are being used or are planned to be used as residences; such as student accommodation, care homes and hotel rooms. The extent of testing required for these three groups is shown below.
Why Should Your Dwelling Undergo Sound Testing
After the 2003, Approved Document E mandates that all new structures in UK must take a sound insulation test before completion. The impact sound test result should not be more than 62dB L’nTw and the airborne sound insulation should not be 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. Sound affects our life no matter where we are, at home, work or while relaxing. Places with lowered noise are more comfortable and enabling. Sound testing ensures that noise reduction in a building is effective.
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. 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.
How Do I Know if I Need a Sound Test?
Are you converting your property into several units? Does your design not use Robust Details? Are you constructing a new building with more than two rooms? Are you building a nursing home or rooms that will used for residential purposes, like hotels and hostels? If so, your structure needs to undergo a sound test. Building Regulations Part E discusses sound testing in detail and has made it a requirement.
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. 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. When you use it, you don’t have to take a sound insulation test. However, you must abide strictly by the design from the Robust Details approved list. Sound insulation testing is a more flexible approach. You can pick from a plethora of designs, as opposed to Robust Details. It also gives architects the opportunity to evaluate their design and give your structure a much better sound insulation which will increase sound performance.
Cost of Sound Insulation Testing
Call us or email us to get a free quotation for your building. We have tested all types and sizes of construction in the UK and issue a report and sound test certificate within 24 working hours. We offer one of the best prices. If you get a better price from another company, let us know and we will try to beat it.
When Should the Sound Tests be done?
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.
The Procedures of a Sound Insulation Test
The method of taking the test is not complex and our sound test engineers can explain it thoroughly on site, if you wish. For partition walls, airborne tests are carried out. For floors there are two types, airborne and impact tests.
A big or multidirectional speaker, with a generator of pink or white noise is used to the biggest room. 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 tests are conducted by fixing a tapping machine on the floor. The room under it is then measured for the noise levels. Calculations are undertaken, and results achieved. The results are crosschecked to ensure they meet Document E of Building Regulations target. This is of course, a somewhat simplified explanation without the various mathematical formulae involved, but helps to explain the process.
Type of Sound Insulation Test Machines We Will be using
The testing equipment used are UKAS calibrated. Our highly qualified engineers test based on present Building Regulations conditions. An airborne test is used to check how much sound is moving through the air between partitions. Equipment used for the test include a noise generator, speakers and sound level meter. For impact test, a tapping machine that makes impact sound by dropping metal hammers is used. A sound level meter is used to measure in the receiving room below the room the tapping machine is in. The tests are administered in room with residential purposes. For example, kitchens/living spaces, lounges, bedrooms and living rooms. The outcome of the test is written in a report and sent to the customer. This report helps Building Control sign off your building.
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 not less than two rooms
With the sound test, you can be certain that the property has a good acoustic performance.
Conversions of former single dwelling properties into flats
The transformation of a single dwelling property into flats must adhere to the sound insulation standards of Building Regulations.
Design that don’t have Robust Details factored in
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 does not strictly adhere to Robust Details, a sound insulation test becomes necessary to meet Building Regulations. The minimum requirements are dependent on the kind of dwelling. Permanent dwellings and rooms for residential use have different requirements.
Towns in the UK AF Acoustics Services can be Found
AF Acoustics provides acoustic design services to customer nationwide, especially in Godalming. 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 you should pick AF Acoustics for your sound testing
Having rendered high quality service to numerous customers in Godalming, we have gotten great positive feedback and recommendation from our clientele due to the following:
Sound testing experience of over 15 years
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 sure you can afford high quality sound insulation projects in UK, we offer one of the most affordable prices in Godalming. Contact us immediately and we’ll give you a free quote on the sound test.
Consultancy that is effective and efficient
We will listen to your needs, present you with robust solutions and deliver acoustic consultancy through our considerable experience. When you contact us for expert direction, we make it our utmost priority and convey exact answers quickly. We suggest compelling solutions that are in accordance with your present and long-term needs.
Flexible test dates
We make your convenience our priority. Therefore, we offer flexible alternatives that can help you select test dates that suit you itinerary. Take the first step towards your sound insulation testing in Godalming by calling us now.
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. The delivered report will be comprehensive and well detailed to ensure all relevant issues are covered and any recommendations are 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. Contact us now for more information on how we can assist you with your acoustics requirements.
Impact and Airborne floor test
The ceilings/floors of developments undergo impact and airborne floor testing. An impact test examines the level of noise moving from one dwelling to another through impact on adjoining floors/ceilings. Airborne and impact tests are conducted on the floor partitions between liveable rooms.
Document E test
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. The impact sound test of new dwellings should be 62dB L’nTw or less and airborne sound insulation 45dB DnTw+Ctr or more while impact results for reconstructed properties should be 64dB L’nTw and airborne sound insulation 43dB DnTw+Ctr or more.
Sound Insulation Testing
We offer the highest amount of aptitude and high quality service, and are constantly ready to work with our clients to give the most ideal chance of accomplishing a pass certificate. To make sure a new residence meets with the standards of greater than 45dB DnTw+Ctr and less than 62dB L’nTw, an airborne wall test and an airborne and impact floor test will need to be conducted. We frequently give robust advice to project managers and developers from the start of the construction, ensuring that they’ll have adequate sound insulation to pass 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
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 you’re developing a new school in Godalming, we can test it to find out if it aligns with 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 can assist with:
Creating acoustic detail plans for architects involved in residential construction that conform to Document E of Building Regulations, BS8233 and so on. Detail plans in commercial, educational and healthcare project for adhering to the prescribed standard. Construction designs and specifications for sound control in residential areas and other noise sensitive developments. Public address and sound reinforcement (conference rooms / lecture theatres etc.)
Contact AF Acoustics specialist for sound insulation test quotes
We are an independent acoustic organisation that handles everything concerning acoustics including survey, design, architectural and building acoustics and air tightness testing. We want to give you expert guidance and provide working solutions, whether you are an individual or an organisation. For a quotation, call or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please send the following information to us
When contacting us for sound insulation testing quote, we will need you to provide the following information
Location of development
Provide the location of your building in Godalming.
Number of dwellings
Number of dwellings on the property
Number of Storeys
For the right calculation of your quotation, tell us how many levels are in your building.
Dwellings arrangements per level
To get an appropriate quotation and determine the kind of tests to be conducted, we will also need this.
Kind of property
Knowing the kind of building is essential because it helps identify the type of test that will be conducted.
New property or reconstructed dwelling
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.
Sound testing regulations
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 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)
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.” The following are exempt from the testing techniques given in annex 5.C. of the Scottish Standard and Standard 5.1 – completely segregated rooftops, houses or walkways whose access is only used for upkeep or for the utilization of the inhabitants of the dwelling beneath.
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. Our consultation may include several site visits and thorough design reports, or more basic initial tests on your structure. The are required in order to have good conditions to undertake the sound insulation tests: Install and make sure that all external and internal doors and windows are operational Skirting boards are fitted Fix all light switches, light fittings and plug sockets. 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.
Test 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.
What do the results look like?
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. In the event that some part of the building does not meet up with the conditions of Document E, remedial work and a retest is required. We give remedial design advice to help you achieve Building Regulations standards.
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.