Month: March 2020

Sound Insulation Testing Terminology

Sound Insulation Testing Terminology

Sound Insulation Testing Terminology
Developers and landlords may need to improve sound insulation over a wide range of houses and flats. This may be due to the fact they have just built a new development that requires sound insulation testing under Part E or as part of a general refurbishment programme, i.e. changing houses into flats.

Often confusion can arise from the large amount of ‘terms’ used in conjunction with acoustic design and sound insulation testing. To help with this we have made a list of the following terms for clarity:

Absorption
This is the conversion of sound energy into heat, often by the use of a porous material.

Absorbent Material
This is a material that absorbs sound energy, such as acoustic mineral wool.

Airborne sound
This is sound which is propagated from a noise source through the medium of air. Examples of these are speech and sound from a television

Airborne Sound Transmission
This is direct transmission of airborne sound through walls or floors. When sound energy is created in a room, for instance by conversation, some of the energy is reflected or absorbed by room surfaces but some may set up vibrations in the walls and floor. Depending on both the amount of energy and the type of construction, this can result in sound being transmitted to adjacent parts of the building.

Air Path
This is a void in construction elements, which adversely affects the performance of sound resisting construction. Examples of air paths include incomplete mortar joints, porous building materials, gaps around pipes and shrinkage cracks – this can also effect the air tightness results.

Bonded resilient cover
This is a thin resilient floor covering normally of minimum 3-5mm thickness, which is bonded to the isolated screed surface to reduce impact sound transmission such as footfall noise, however it has a lesser effect when it comes to airborne noise.

Cavity stop
This is a proprietary product or material such as mineral wool (fibre) used to close the gap in a cavity wall.

Composite Resilient Batten
This is composed of a timber batten with a pre-bonded resilient material to provide isolation between the flooring surface layers and floor base.

Cradle/Saddle
This is an intermediate support system (with a resilient layer base, either pre-bonded or already integral) using levelling packer pieces to support a timber batten, isolating it from the floor base.

Decibel (dB)
This is the unit used for different acoustic quantities to indicate the level with respect to a reference level.

Density (kg/m3)
This is the mass per unit volume, expressed in kilograms per cubic metre (kg/m3). Blockwork is commonly referred to by industry in terms of strength (in Newtons). However, it is the density that has the important role in terms of sound insulation.

Direct transmission refers to the path of either airborne or impact sound through elements of construction.

DnT,w
This is the weighted standardized level difference. A single-number quantity (weighted) which characterises the airborne sound insulation between two rooms, in accordance with BS EN ISO 717-1:1997

Façade Testing
This Standard – ISO 140-5:1998) specifies the testing methods to evaluate the sound insulation in buildings and building elements for facades. Three rounds of a proficiency testing scheme for airborne sound insulation measurements have been performed according to the methods specified in the standard for a whole facade by using an external loudspeaker as the noise source.

Flanking element (flanking wall)
This is any building element that contributes to the airborne sound or impact transmission between rooms in a building which is not the direct separating element (i.e. not the separating wall or separating floor).

Flanking strip or edge strip
This is a resilient strip using foamed polyethylene normally 5 mm thick, which is located at the perimeter of a floor to isolate the floor boards from the walls and skirtings.

Flanking transmission
This is airborne or impact transmission between rooms that is transmitted via flanking elements and/or flanking elements in conjunction with the main separating elements. An example of a flanking element is the inner leaf of an external wall that connects to the separating ‘core’ of a wall or floor.

Flexible closer
This is a flexible cavity stop or cavity barrier which seals the air path in cavities linking adjoining dwellings.

Floating floor treatment (FFT)
This is a timber floating floor system which may use battens, cradles or platform base, all of which use a resilient layer to provide isolation from the base floor and adjacent wall elements.

Gypsum based plasterboard
This is a dry lining board applied to walls, ceilings and within floating floor treatments which has gypsum content. It may also have fibre reinforcement within the board.

Impact sound
This is sound which is propagated from a noise source through a direct medium. An example of this is footfall on a floor.

Impact sound transmission
This is sound which is spread from an impact noise source in direct contact with a building element.

Isolation
This is a strategy to limit the number and type of rigid connections between elements of construction.

L’nT,w
This is the weighted standardized impact sound pressure level. A single-number quantity (weighted) to characterise the impact sound insulation of floors, in accordance with BS EN ISO 717-2: 1997.

Mass
This is a physical quantity that expresses the amount of matter in a body. Walls and floors may be described in terms of the surface density (mass per unit area, kg/m2) of the wall face or the floor surface, which is the sum of the surface densities of each component of the construction. The density of materials is expressed as mass per unit volume, kg/m3, which can be provided via the core structure and linings such as in-situ concrete or solid dense block walls.

Mass per unit area (or surface density)
This is is expressed in terms of kilograms per square metre (kg/m2). This is often used to describe boards, panels, flooring and dry linings (see gypsum based board).

Resilience
This can reduce structural vibration transmission and still maintain material performance and overall dimensions, examples include floating floor treatments such as resilient battens or cradles, or resilient ceiling bars.

Resilient ceiling bars
This acoustic solution is generally metal based and vary in thickness from 11 mm to 30 mm. They are mounted perpendicular to the joist span direction and can increase both airborne and impact sound insulation. Care should be taken to ensure that the ceiling board fixings into the resilient bar do not come into contact with the joists and reduce the potential performance.

Resilient noggin
This is a small section of resilient ceiling bar which is used to assist in bracing non load bearing partitions.

Rw
This is a single-number quantity (weighted) which characterises the airborne sound insulation of a building element from measurements undertaken in a laboratory, in accordance with BS EN ISO 717-1: 1997

Sound Insulation Testing
Sound Insulation Testing is required near the end of a development to show that the performance of the party wall and floor partitions meet the standards as stipulated in Building Regulations Approved Document E. The testing methods for airborne and impact sound insulation is in full accordance with the suggested methods presented in BS EN ISO 140-parts 4 & 7: 1998.

Stiffness
This is can improve low-frequency sound insulation, for example in floors, by reducing the potential for deflection or movement of the primary structure, therefore the correct spacing and depth of joists is important.

If you have a project that requires acoustic design and/or sound insulation testing please let us know. APT Sound Testing will ensure you will have direct contact with the allocated acoustician from the start of the process, through to the successful completion of the sound insulation testing. 

For more information about Sound Insulation Testing Terminology or with regard to acoustic services, please contact us at via our APT Sound Testing website or call us today on 01525 303905.

UKAS Accredited Air and Sound Testing Laboratory

UKAS Accredited Air and Sound Testing Laboratory

Why we are a UKAS Accredited Air and Sound Testing Laboratory

APT Sound Testing is UKAS accredited for both sound insulation testing and air tightness testing. Being a UKAS accredited laboratory for air and sound testing, provides an assurance of the competence, impartiality and integrity of the testing body. UKAS accredited testing reduces the need for testing company to be assessed by each of their customers.

UKAS’ involvement in international groups such as EAIAF and ILAC, provides for mutual recognition. This reduces the need for multiple assessments of suppliers, and as a consequence helps to reduce barriers for testing companies that have UKAS accreditation.

Most businesses – big or small within the industry they operate in, require some form of certification. This is the ultimate mark of quality and professionalism within their sector. With so many types of accreditation to choose from nowadays, it can be difficult to know what type would be best for your company. One place to start is by making sure that the testing consultancy you use is UKAS accredited. This is something you simply cannot afford to overlook.

Why we are a UKAS Accredited Air and Sound Testing Laboratory

What is UKAS accreditation?

UKAS stands for the United Kingdom Accreditation Service. It is the only government recognised national accreditation body in Britain. It has been designed to evaluate the competence of all organisations that supply services relating to certification, calibration, inspection, and testing. If a certification body meets their standards, they will then be accredited. If an organisation has reached this status, it means that they have the ability to deliver results while being reliable, impartial, and competent. Therefore, if you choose a UKAS accredited certification body, you can be certain of the highest levels of quality. APT Sound Testing is UKAS accredited for both sound insulation testing and air tightness testing, so you can be sure of the highest quality testing services and reportage at all times.

Why are not all companies UKAS accredited?

Unlike many other certification bodies, UKAS is a non-profit organisation, meaning their sole purpose is to ensure that companies are regulated properly and high standards are achieved at all times. This offers customers ultimate peace of mind. Other companies that don’t have UKAS certification, may have lower prices in some instances as they are not bound by the more stricter guidelines put in place by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service. If the company you are using is not UKAS accredited it may mean that you are taking a massive risk, as the quality of product testing and auditing quality may vary. If the company you are using for your air tightness and/or sound testing has not sought UKAS certification, it can be a good indicator that the quality may be lower.

Why we are a UKAS Accredited Air and Sound Testing Laboratory

Why it’s important to be UKAS accredited

There are also a lot of non-accredited air and sound testing companies that offer their service on a no certificate no fee basis; however, although this may seem great on the surface it usually means is that a certificate is barely ever refused. This does not say a lot for the quality of the testing company if they are simply allowing anyone to achieve their certification. It goes completely against the international standard that UKAS adheres to. Also, their accreditation isn’t worth much when you consider that they do not have to adhere to any regulatory constraints, and thus they offer little assurance in terms of accountability, impartiality, or integrity. Hats why it’s really important to use UKAS accredited testing laboratories like APT Sound testing for all your air tightness and  sound insulation testing.

How can I tell if an organisation is UKAS certified?

So, how can you tell if an organisation is UKAS certified? Well, all accredited businesses are allowed to use the Royal Crown symbol. Thus, you simply need to look out for this. Alternatively, you can head to the UKAS website at www.ukas.com , and you will find a list of all certified bodies under the ‘Accredited Bodies’ tab on the homepage. For peace of mind here is a direct link to APT sound testing’s UKAS accreditation.

Why we are a UKAS Accredited Air and Sound Testing Laboratory

We are a UKAS accredited company

Here at APT Sound Testing, we are happy to prove our UKAS certification. As a UKAS accredited laboratory we are committed to providing quality consultancy services to your business. If you want to know more about how we can help you with our UKAS accredited air and acoustic testing services, please contact us on 01525 303905 or email us at info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk  and we’ll be happy to talk you through our precompletion testing services or supply a free no obligation quote.

Precompletion Testing Services for Dwellings

Precompletion Testing Services for Dwellings

Our Pre-completion Testing Services for Dwellings

Whatever you’re testing or survey requirements for dwellings, APT Sound Testing are here to help you every step of the way with your pre completion Testing needs. Working in close partnership with our customers we guide them through the precompletion testing process, providing impartial advice from the initial design stage through to the precompletion testing at the end of the project. With over 20 years’ worth of experience under our belt, we ensure that clients always achieve the required result and that reports are completed within specific timeframes whilst maintaining the standards of a UKAS accredited testing laboratory (No. 4340).

We pride ourselves on delivering a proactive, cost-effective service and offer one point of contact throughout your contract. This customer-focused ethos has seen us partner with consultants, developers, contractors and self-builders on a wide range of their residential developments.

Sound Insulation Testing for Dwellings

Pre completion sound testing under Part E of Building Regulations has been a mandatory requirement since July 2003. All new build properties and conversions which were built after this date require 10% of each party wall/floor construction type to be tested. Sound Testing is to be carried out between pairs of rooms separated by party walls or floors.

Utilising our many years of acoustic design experience means that your project will be in safe hands from the initial design stage to the final precompletion testing of the project. If you require sound insulation testing on your project please contact us now. Our highly experienced team of engineers and consultants provide a friendly and cost-effective sound testing service, to achieve the requirements of Approved Document E throughout the UK. We are a UKAS accredited laboratory so providing our customers a first class service with quality reportage is a given.

For more information on our sound insulation testing service or to prepare your development, please download our sound test checklist.

Precompletion Testing Services for Dwellings

Air Tightness Testing to Dwellings

Air tightness testing to achieve satisfactory levels of air tightness became a legal requirement in 2006 in England and Wales, under Building Regulations Part L and ATTMA Technical Standard TS1, to help to reduce carbon emissions. Building Regulations Part L defines ‘air leakage’ as the uncontrolled flow of air through gaps and cracks in the fabric of a building. The general public recognise it as draughts.

When you lose energy through the building fabric this is known as the building emission rate. New projects/developments must meet specific requirements for air testing and emission rates. A common air leakage target for a standard dwelling is 5.0m3/hr/m2; however, for commercial buildings the target rate is often much lower approx. 3.0m3/hr/m2

If you require domestic air tightness testing please contact us now. Our highly experienced team of engineers and consultants provide a friendly and cost-effective air testing service, to achieve the requirements of Approved Document L throughout the UK. We are a UKAS accredited laboratory so providing our customers a first class service with quality reportage is a given.

For more information on our air tightness testing service or to prepare your development, please download our air testing checklist.

Precompletion Testing Services for Dwellings

Extract Vent Testing to Dwellings

The new Part F of Building Regulations requires standard intermittent extractor fans such as bathrooms and kitchens in new buildings, to have their air flow rates measured on site and the results submitted to the building control body prior to completion and handover.

We can undertake the extractor fan testing at the same time as the air and sound testing which helps to reduce coordination issues as well as offering a substantial cost saving. We also provide expert advice for helping customers to achieve compliance with approved document F for domestic extract fan testing.

If you require domestic extract vent testing please contact us now. Our highly experienced team of engineers and consultants provide a friendly and cost-effective extract vent testing service to achieve the requirements of Approved Document F throughout the UK. We are a UKAS accredited laboratory so providing our customers a first class service with quality reportage is a given.

For more information on our extract fan testing service or to prepare your development, please download our extract fan testing checklist.

Acoustic Design service for Dwellings

APT Sound Testing has many years’ experience of acoustic design, supported by our vast experience in construction design management and by utilising the data from thousands of sound insulation tests, which gives us a clear understanding of the positives and negatives of many different construction types. This gives us a clear understanding of the requirements necessary to pass your sound testing in line with The Building Regulations Approved Document E. We have undertaken hundreds of acoustic design and testing packages on many different types of projects, from the initial scheme stage to completion. We offer a no nonsense professional proactive service that ensures your company receives professional advice every step of the way, with a continual consideration of cost.

If you require acoustic design to your project please contact us now, we help clients with acoustic party wall & floor design to achieve the requirements of Approved Document E. Our highly experienced team of engineers and consultants provide a friendly and cost-effective design service. We are a UKAS accredited laboratory so providing our customers a first class service with quality reportage is a given.

For more information on our acoustic design service

SAP Calculations & EPC for Dwellings

SAP Assessments to show compliance with the Building Regulations (Approved Document L1A or Approved Document L1B) for domestic new build and converting an existing property into any number of dwellings. SAP Assessments are also sometimes called SAP Calculations, SAP Ratings or SAP Certificates. It is from these calculations that an EPC is produced. SAP stands for Standard Assessment Procedure and it is used to assess and compare the energy and environmental performance of dwellings.

It is worth noting that SAP assessments have been a legal requirement for all new-build, domestic properties in the UK under Part L of Building Regulations since 1995. Homes must achieve a ‘Pass’ on these calculations for the project to pass Building Regulations. Without this, a property will not be signed off by Building Control and may not legally be listed for rent or sale.

APT Sound Testing carries out SAP Calculations every day and by involving one of our trained consultants in the initial planning stages; we can help develop the project so that not only do you get the house you want, but that it meets all Building Regulation and environmental guidelines. Our highly experienced team of engineers and consultants provide a friendly and cost-effective service throughout your project.

For more information on our SAP Calculation service or to prepare your development, please download our SAP Calculation checklist.

Water Efficiency Calculations

Water efficiency calculations are required by the Government in the United Kingdom under Building Regulations Part G. All new dwellings and commercial developments require water calculations to help ensure that they have suitable water provisions to accommodate proposed activities. Additionally, water efficiency calculations also help to ensure that the maximum amount of water being used by a person within a property or development does not exceed a limit of 125 litres of water, per person each day.

If you need any advice for your water efficiency calculations, please contact us now. We have the expertise and experience in helping our clients attain the level of efficiency their project requires through our informative water calculation processes. Using our knowledge hydro dynamics we can attain acceptable water calculations on your project. We can take into account high pressure and low-pressure systems, as well as grey-water systems and rain-water type systems.

Contact Us Re: Precompletion Testing Services for Dwellings

Please contact us now to chat about your water calculation assessment requirements. Our friendly and experienced team of consultants are here to help you achieve your water efficiency calculations in compliance with Building Regulations Part G.

For more information on our water calculation assessment service or to prepare your development, please download our water calculation checklist.

Air Tightness Testing Service

Air Tightness Testing Service

APT Sound Testing – Our Air Tightness Testing Service

Air tightness testing, also known as blower door testing, is the process of measuring the amount of air leakage from a building through the building envelope. To try and help our clients better understand and prepare for their air tightness testing, we have tried to explain and answer our customer’s most common questions. For more information on our air tightness testing services you can also visit our Services Page.

What is Air Tightness Testing for Building Regulations?Air Tightness Testing What is Air Tightness Testing for Building Regulations?

Air testing is mandatory in the United Kingdom and is governed by Part L of the Building Regulations, this split into two parts; for domestic properties Part L1A should be used and for commercial properties Part L2A should be referenced.

Building Regulations Part L states air tightness testing should be carried to check the air leakage that occurs through a buildings envelope. The air leakage test checks the amount of air that escapes through gaps or air leakage paths through the building fabric. If the building is more air tight, less energy will be being needlessly lost, thus lowering the carbon emissions of the building. Air testing also shows how efficient a building is at retaining conditioned air which will also put less straight on your mechanical and ventilation system. Failing to maintain adequate air tightness can lead to up to 50% of heat loss from within a building to the outside atmosphere.

Air Tightness Testing

What air leakage target do I need to achieve?

Most new dwellings and commercial buildings need to achieve an air leakage of 3m3/hr/m2 to 5m3/hm2, this rate would usually be acceptable by building control and your SAP assessor as an acceptable result, although you need to check each your designed SAP assessment as there may be items within your buildings design that that may affect this figure.

How long does the air test take?

Most air tightness tests can be completed in 1-2 hours if they pass straight away; however, tests can take much longer if they initially fail. It usually speeds up the process if customs prepare their buildings in-line with our air tightness checklist as its means we can start the testing as soon as we arrive on site instead of waiting for the client to tape up areas, or make upgrades to the building envelope.  We also offer a smoke testing service to locate the air leakage paths within a building envelope which can also take extra time; however this often allows our clients to seal and pass their building at the first attempt even if their building initially fails the air test.

Air Tightness Testing

How do you undertake an air tightness test?

The air tightness test is undertaken in-line with Building Regulations Part L1 & L2 and ATTMA TS1 & TS2. Basically we measure the pressure differential across the envelope of the building by means of the temporarily installation of a large fan inside a door panel. Thereafter, a range of static pressures and environmental readings are taken. The fan is switched on and the air pressure in the property is gradually increased or decreased and the differential pressure is recorded at each step, usually from 25 Pa to 70 Pa. The total air flow required to achieve a pressure differential of 50 Pa is calculated and divided by the total building envelope area to provide the leakage rate in m3/h.m2@50Pa.

How do I prepare my building for the air test?

The more complete you’re building the more chance you have of passing the air tightness test at the first attempt. We send our and air test checklist with every quotation to help our client prepare for the testing. It is our aim to help clients pass their air test at the first attempt.

Basically you prepare the building in-line with our checklists and the items below, you will generally have a much better chance of passing the testing at the first attempt.

  1. The building envelope should be fully complete; this includes walls, floors and ceilings.
  2. All doors and windows must be fully fitted and able to shut tightly against their seals.
  3. All electric fittings must be installed and functional.
  4. All mechanical fittings must be installed and functional.
  5. Gaps within walls and floors must be sealed.
  6. All service penetrations must be fully sealed through the building envelope. 
  7. Bathrooms and kitchens must be fully fitted and all service penetrations sealed.
  8. All mechanical ventilation turned off with grilles sealed.
  9. All trickle vents to windows and doors must be sealed.
  10. All fireplaces must be sealed.
  11. Ensure water is present in soil pipes.
  12. 240v power must be available on site.

Whether you need air tightness test please contact us on info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk  to obtain a no obligation quote. If you need more information on how to prepare your building for the air test please download our air tightness testing checklist. 

Alternately, please visit our website at www.aptsoundtesting.co.uk, for more information on our precompletion testing services

Air Tightness Testing in Reading

Air Tightness Testing in Reading

Air Tightness Testing in Reading

There is no air tightness testing job too big or small APT Sound Testing in Reading.

From our local office, we provide our air tightness testing service throughout Reading

Below is a quick description of Reading and the surrounding areas where APT Sound Testing supplies our air tightness testing service:

A Description of Reading and the Surrounding Areas

Reading is is a large, historic university and minster town in Berkshire, South East England. As Reading has grown, its suburbs have spread: to the west between the two rivers into the foothills of the Berkshire Downs.

Here is a more detailed list of all the locations in Reading and the surrounding areas that we carry out our air tightness testing services. We carry out our testing in Caversham, Caversham Heights, Caversham Park, Coley, Coley Park, Emmer Green, Katesgrove, Southcote, Whitley, Whitley Wood and Tilehurst

The local authorities in and around Reading are Reading North, and Reading South. Since the 2010 general election, Reading has been divided between the parliamentary constituencies of Reading EastReading WestWokingham,  Shinfield, Earley and Lower Earley) and Maidenhead and Woodley).

Our air tightness testing equipment in Reading

Air Tightness Testing in Reading

Preparing your Reading site for the Air Tightness Test

One of our team will take measurements of the building from the architectural plans as well as undertaking physical site check of the measurements, prior to the air tightness test which allows us to determine the building envelope area. This is an essential stage of the air testing process as the building envelope area is one of the main parameters that the result is based upon.  The measurements will be verified onsite by APT Air Tightness Engineer on the day of the air test to ensure that the measurements and calculations are correct.

We then set up the blower door equipment as follows.

  1. We’ll temporarily install a blower door fan system (depending on building size) in a suitably placed doorway.
  2. We then take a series of environmental measurements such as internal and external temperatures as well as barometric pressures.
  3. We then turn on the fan equipment and take measurements between 25-70Pa in 5Pa increments, recording the pressure differential at each step.
  4. Finally, our technicians will calculate the total air flow required to achieve a pressure differential of 50 Pa, divided by the total building envelope area –  this calculation will show leakage rate in m³/h.m² @ 50 Pa.

APT Sound Testing usually allow 2-3 hours to complete each commercial air tightness test, meaning there should have plenty of time to address any unexpected problems that may arise. We will guide you through the entire air testing process. In addition, we provide an air tightness review consultancy service to help you pass your air tightness test at the first attempt.

For more information about our Air Tightness Testing in Reading, please visit us at www.aptsoundtesting.co.uk or contact us on 01525 303905 or info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk for a FREE Quote.