We provide Sound Testing for every type of building!
What is a Sound Insulation Test?
Sound insulation testing, also known as acoustic testing, is a method of assessing how much noise is transmitted through party floors and party walls. This is done to demonstrate compliance with the Building Regulations Approval Document Part E UK. These tests are only required to be carried out in livable rooms such as bedrooms, living rooms/lounges, open plan kitchen/living spaces.
There are two types of sound insulation tests that need to be completed to create a sound insulation report:
Airborne Test - This measures the level of sound which is transmitted through the air, to get an airborne result the party walls, floors, and ceilings between dwellings are assessed. Airborne noise can be created by TVs, music/radios, and people talking.Impact Test - This measures the level of noise which is transmitted straight through walls or floors/ceilings of dwellings as a result of impact. Impact noise can be created by appliances working or heavy footsteps.
Who needs a Sound Insulation Test?
Part E UK building regulations require sound testing for domestic properties unless your property is completely detached or built to “robust details" standard. If you do any of the following then you will most likely require sound insulation testing: build a new development of two or more residences (ie a block of flats), convert a single residence into two or more (ie a house converted into two flats), or build a residential property for commercial use (ie care home, hotel).
If a commercial building is being constructed that is connected via walls or floors to a domestic property, then sound insulation tests may be required. We advise checking with your building control officer for certainty.
New build properties need to achieve an impact sound test result below 62dB and an airborne sound insulation result no less than 45dB.
Converted properties need to achieve an impact sound result test below 64dB and an airborne sound insulation result no less than 43dB.
To avoid failure it is recommended to consult a specialist at design stage. As well as providing sound tests, we can offer SAP calcs/EPC at design stage, to increase the chances of a first time pass.
Are any properties exempt from passing sound insulation tests?
If you are converting a listed building it can be challenging to meet building regulation standard due to the restrictions of what can and can’t be done to the existing property, because of this building control have the authority to sign off the developments if the developer has created and executed a design that aims to improve the sound insulation. It is recommended to acquire sound insulation results before and after the works have been completed, this establishes solid proof of improvement to present to building control.
What does the Sound Insulation Test survey involve?
Airborne Testing - party wall example
Upon arrival on site the assessor will take measurements (with a sound level meter calibrated before and after the measurements are taken) to determine the average background noise. He will then set up a dodecahedron speaker in the largest of the rooms to be tested, which is referred to as the sound source. The adjoining room to the sound source is known as the receiver room. The speaker is then turned on and the assessor will take measurements of the average noise level in the receiver room, then after this he will measure the noise levels from the sound source room. The process is repeated after moving the speaker into a new position to create a second set of measurements.
Impact Testing - party floor example
Similarly to airborne testing, the largest of the rooms to be tested is selected to place the tapping machine in. This is generally above the receiving room. The tapping machine is then turned on and sound levels are measured in the receiving room, then the machine is repositioned and the process repeated for a total of four measurements, which are generally taken from each corner of the room.
Reverberation time is the length of time that sound takes to decay. This is then used in a calculation to add a correction factor to the data collected during both tests. The reverberation reading must be taken for both tests from the receiver room, this is measured using the speaker in the receiver room and playing a sound at a set level for 5 seconds, turning off the sound and recording the decay of the noise, this is repeated for six measurements.
The result of the sound test is the sound reduction performance, which is the difference between the source level and the receiver level. Factors such as background noise, receiving room reverberation, dividing partition dimensions and similar room characteristics are then taken into account and used to correct the result of the sound test, providing us with the final sound insulation test result. A Noise Report is compiled, with all of the test findings explained clearly.
How to prepare for your sound test:
Ensure that there is parking available on site for our surveyors, this is because the equipment is heavy and unsuitable for moving long distances from car to property.
A live 240v power socket will be necessary, please ensure there is an available one for use during the survey. Please note that generators can NOT be used as they create noise that would affect the measurements and results.
No furniture or debris should be in the rooms during the survey.
Both internal and external doors and windows must be fitted, the building must be complete for the survey to go ahead (this includes walls being plastered, skirting finished, all light and power sockets have been fitted).
Our surveyors will require access to all sides of the party element being tested (ie both rooms either side of a party wall). If two sides of a party element are under separate ownership, then access arrangements MUST be in place prior to the day of the survey.
Floors cannot have any carpet, laminate, finishes, lino, or similar down when they are due to be tested.
Approximate test timings:
1 x single wall = 1.5hrs
2 x walls (1 x set of walls) = 2hrs
4 x floors (1 x set of floors - consists of 2 x airborne tests & 2 x impact tests) = 2.5hrs
2 x wall and 4 x floor (1 x full set of tests) = 3-4hrs
What do I get
After the site visit we aim to notify you that your report has been completed within 1-2 working days, you will receive a third party accredited sound insulation testing report, which is compliant to part E Building Regulations.
These reports do not expire, although if you plan to make any changes to the building you will most likely need to get a new sound insulation test, we advise checking with your building control officer in these cases.
Who will carry out the survey
Easy EPC have a highly skilled team of sound engineers, covering all of the UK, who have collectively carried out thousands of sound insulation tests on a range of new builds and conversions. Our sound engineers all hold CCBAM (Certificate of Competence in Building Acoustics Measurements) qualification and are all SITMA accredited. To ensure accuracy and only high quality reports are produced all test results are audited after each test is uploaded. In terms of equipment the sound testing kits used are UKAS calibrated, in accordance with the SITMA accreditation. Our assessors also hold PL and PI insurance.
What else may I need
Building control will also request SAP calcs/EPC for your new build or conversion, we offer both “as designed" and “as built" SAP services, meaning that we can help at all stages of your build or conversion!
If your dwelling is a new build rather than a conversion, or if you are converting 10 or more units as part of the same development, then you will probably also need an Air Permeability Test.
Building control may also require you to carry out Water Use Calculations to confirm that your property is compliant with that max water usage per person per day, as set out in part G.
How do I book?
To get a quote for a sound insulation test for your property simply give us a call on 0800 170 1201, or alternatively fill in our contact form. The basic information we need to be able to provide you with a price for the survey is:
- Full Address/Postcode
- Clear floor plans, sections and elevations (for conversion projects we require both existing and proposed plans to identify new and existing party walls/floors)
- Wall and floor constructions types
Once we have provided you with a quote, if you wish to go ahead and book we will also need invoicing details and contact details for whoever will be meeting us on site. We don't charge up-front, but will invoice you for the work on completion, and release the sound insulation report to you upon receipt of payment. Our pricing includes use of equipment and travel, so the price we quote you is the total price you will pay.
After you have booked with us we will contact you or if you prefer an alternative site contact to arrange an appointment. Once we have visited site the report should be ready the next working day, at which point we will contact you to let you know its ready and provide you with an invoice. On payment of the invoice we will email your sound insulation report.
Our prices start from £199.95 + VAT, dependant on size and location of the property. Use this online booking tool to quickly get a quote for your Sound Test.
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