Sound Insulation Testing
Sound Insulation Testing – often referred to as Acoustic insulation or Acoustic Testing is designed to ascertain how well insulated certain building elements in a property are, so that the amount of noise is not at an unacceptable level to neighbours adjoining the property being tested. This ensures a good quality of life for those living in both properties and that the building also complies with Part E of the Building Regulations.
There are various scenarios whereby you will almost certainly have to get Sound Insulation Testing. These scenarios include:
- New developments being built that contain more than one dwelling/flat.
- Converting a building into flats.
- Building a property for use as a residential home, such as a hotel or nursing home.
- Buildings not built using Robust Details
What Needs to Be Provided to Complete a Sound Insulation Test?
- A complete set of architectural drawings (floor plans, sections, elevations and site plan).
There are, of course, a number of different times when you will have to have Sound Insulation Testing as well, although the requirement for this will usually be specified by the local authority. If you are still unsure as to whether you need a Sound Insulation Test, please contact us and we will advise accordingly.
Sound Insulation Testing is a somewhat confusing topic for those not educated in it, so we have created a comprehensive Q & A section for you. It is all part of our commitment to great customer service, as we want you to understand everything about the subject before you hire us to complete the job.
How Does Sound Insulation Testing Work?
When we carry out a Sound Insulation Test, there are a couple of different methods that we use. Both of these are effective at determining the level of sound insulation in a property. These methods are:
- Airborne Sound Insulation Test – This involves using a loudspeaker and amplifier to create a number of different frequencies. The amount of decibels is recorded in the room containing the loudspeaker, as well as in an adjoining room. By doing this, the exact amount of noise transmitted to the next room through party walls can be measured.
- Impact Sound Transmission Test – This involves using a machine with five metal hammers on it, which are used to bang on party floors, therefore mimicking the sound of footsteps. A sound level meter is then used to measure how much noise this creates in a neighbouring property.
What Conditions Does Sound Insulation Have to Meet?
It is impossible to answer this question without knowing details of the specific building that needs testing, as the requirements vary. However, the basic premise is that a dwelling has to provide sufficient sound insulation to ensure that a reasonable standard of living can be met. In the case of some public or commercial buildings, sound insulation is required to ensure that certain areas remain quiet, such as hospital wards and school classrooms.
It is also the case that certain buildings used for social purposes, such as pubs and nightclubs, have to have sufficient sound insulation to ensure that the noise they produce does not overly disturb residents in the area. There are also times when sound insulation testing needs to be carried out when there are complaints from residents, although sufficient access will be needed.
What are Robust Details?
Robust Details are details that are pre-approved for use in walls and floors, which have already been shown to show that they are effective at sound insulation. If these details are used, it can be an alternative to having Sound Insulation Testing on the property.
There are a number of different conditions that have to be met in order to comply with Robust Details, and we can help you with these. It should also be noted that Robust Details can’t be used for conversions, so they are only applicable to new build properties.
While we carry out a Sound Insulation Test, we will also test the reverberation time, which is the amount of time it takes for a noise to disappear in the adjoining room. This is done using a simple sound level meter.
Dependent on the area you live in, we will have to perform different amounts of tests. In England and Wales, for example, houses require two airborne sound insulation tests, whereas in Northern Ireland there are different guidelines for the same type of property. We can advise you further on this subject when you call and speak to one of our advisors. Regardless of where you live though, we will always ensure that all tests are thorough and completely meet the requirements laid out in the regulations.
Will Sound Insulation Testing be Disruptive to the Site?
Due to the nature of this type of test, it is necessary that all surrounding areas are virtually silent for it to work properly. This means that some disruption to work will happen, although we will try to limit this to as little as possible. The test will only take from 1-3 hours though, so work will not be disrupted for long. We will also need doors and windows to already be fitted when this test is carried out, otherwise the test will not be at all accurate.
When Will I Receive the Results?
We will be able to give you a preliminary test result almost as soon as the test is finished, and definitely before we leave your site. This will allow you to have the necessary documentation to prove compliance and move your project along as quickly as possible. We will also send the certificates and full report by email within 7 working days. We can also send printed copies if needed.
What Happens if the Property Doesn’t Pass?
There are times when a property won’t pass a Sound Insulation Test, however there is no need to panic if this happens. Unlike some other companies, we will provide assistance to remedy the problems, letting you know all the ways that the issues can be solved in the most cost effective way.
Should one of the properties on a development fail, it might also be the case that Building Control ask for additional buildings to be tested in the development, in order to ensure that the other buildings have been insulated to a sufficient standard. We are able to provide an initial assessment before the actual testing though, to give you an indication of what needs to be done to ensure that the test is a success.
In order to pass the test, we would also advise that you hire us from the outset of the project, not when the project is coming to an end. By doing this we can provide specific recommendations throughout the project, so as to ensure that remedial action is not needed at the end – remedial action that can cost significant amounts of money.
If you are worried about achieving compliance we also offer a consultation service. This offers advice on materials and other factors at design stage, therefore giving you the best chance of getting a pass first time.
Is Credit Gained for Sound Insulation Testing?
Sound Insulation Testing can gain credits for a couple of different schemes, with the first of these being the Code for Sustainable Homes. BREEAM credits can also be earned through having Sound Insulation Testing on a property, in the categories Hea 05 and Pol 05. By hiring us early in the project we can advise on what needs doing to ensure that the different criteria are met for these schemes, both in terms of sound insulation and the other areas the schemes focus on.
Why Use Us?
At UK Building Compliance we have been conducting Sound Insulation Testing for a number of years, building up a solid reputation for completing the job in a professional and hassle-free manner. There are certain things that we can promise you when you hire us, such as:
- We will complete the task at hand thoroughly and honestly, never failing to omit even the smallest of detail.
- Our staff are fully trained in the process of Sound Insulation Testing and have an excellent knowledge of Part E of the Building Regulations.
- Our prices are competitive and offer great value for money, especially considering the high quality of service you will receive from us.
Other Services to Consider
We also offer a number of other different services, some of which might be of use to you if you require air pressure testing. These services are:
- SAP Assessments – required by every new dwelling, in order to ensure that it satisfies requirements pertaining to environmental impact.
- SBEM Assessments – similar to SAP assessments, however they are for non-dwellings.
- Domestic EPCs – these must be issued to every new dwelling, or any dwelling about to be sold.
- Commercial EPCs – these must be issued to any commercial building upon completion or when it is being sold.
- Display Energy Certificates – these must be displayed in all public buildings, to show visitors how energy efficient the building is.
- Ventilation Testing – this ensures that a building’s ventilation is efficient and effective.
- U Value Calculations – these show how much heat is lost through different materials used in the construction of a building.