Month: August 2020

Improving Acoustics in Dwellings

Improving Acoustics in Dwellings

Improving Acoustics in Dwellings
When designing a new project containing multiple dwellings, why go further than just meeting the basic regulations. For instance, if you only manage to achieve the minimum requirements for compliance with Building Regulations Part E for sound testing, then the chance of noise complaints will usually be higher than if you better it by 5-7dB.  

Improving Acoustics in Dwellings

The World Health Organisation defines noise as ‘unwanted sound’ and such noise in buildings can have significant effects on the people (residents) who occupy them. If a person is subjected to excessive noise for long periods, it can result in physical discomfort or mental distress and in many cases noise complaints.

The WHO estimates that around 50% of the population of the European Union live in areas are exposed to noise levels that do not ensure acoustic comfort to their inhabitants and more than 30% are exposed to noise levels at night which is at a level disturbing to sleep this is simply not good enough.

Within homes, a noisy neighbour can be one of the main problems experienced in attached housing. It’s estimated that up to 4 million people in Britain have had their lives disturbed by noisy neighbours.

The best way to combat excess noise is to ensure that proper precautions are taken at the design stage of the project and thereafter during the construction of the building. Noise transmission levels should be compatible with the building’s usage with the correct acoustic climate provided in each space.

The UK has the building regulations and a number of sector-specific guidance documents covering noise, these are:

  • Approved Document E
  • Building Bulletin 93
  • Health Technical Memorandum 08-01
  • BS8233
  • BS4142

There are strong arguments for considering solutions that go above and beyond just meeting the minimum requirements in the above regulations. For instance using acoustic ceiling products and partition systems it is possible to create environments that offer greater acoustic comfort for occupants go above and beyond the standard Building Regulations requirements, which should have a positive impact on health, well-being and productivity.

Firstly, get advice on acoustic design before starting construction. The most effective way to ensure you improve the acoustics on your project and pass your sound test at the first attempt is to plan your project with sound insulation in mind. This does not need to be costly, and can save considerable time and cost at the end of the project, by reducing the chance of needing to undertake remedial works and re-testing.

The two main areas to take into consideration are usually the dividing wall and floor partitions. If you are unsure of how to build the separating wall and floor partitions and associated junctions across your project don’t panic, we can offer an acoustic design service. The degree of guidance you require can vary from site to site; however, we can cater for every eventuality by offering sample sound testing to establish the sound insulation performance of your existing wall and floors. Thereafter we can undertake more targeted design review using the information at hand.

When your project is underway, we can visit site and check the construction is being constructed as designed. Even minor alterations can have a significant impact on the effectiveness of your sound insulation measures.

Contact APT Sound Testing
If you have a new project and you need help with your acoustic design and/or sound testing then please email us at:  or call us on 01525 303905. If you want more information on our full range of services please visit our website at:

If you would like to download more information on how to prepare for your sound testing, please click download our sound testing checklist.

Sound Testing for New Build

Sound Testing for New Build

Sound Testing Services for New Build Dwellings
Sound Insulation Testing became mandatory in England & Wales in 2003, when Approved Document E was updated. Approved Document E requires new and converted to achieve a reasonable level of sound insulation between dwellings. The simplest way to comply with the requirements of Approved Document E; is to have on-site pre-completion sound insulation tests carried out on your project. We carry out full sound testing services in compliance with Approved Document E.

Sound Testing Services for New Build Dwellings

Sound Testing for New Build
In our experience there is usually a level of apprehension with our clients having to undertake pre-completion sound insulation tests.  This is often down to the fear of failure. It should be remembered; however, that if the acoustic design specification is closely followed, and a good standard of onsite workmanship is maintained there is very little chance of failure.

Approved Document E requires a minimum of one ‘set’ of tests for every ten units in each group and/or sub group.  Is usually broken down to the following: two airborne wall, two airborne floor and two impact sound tests. For example, if you have a block of 100 flats, all of the same construction, you would usually conduct 10 ‘sets’ of tests. If you have a development of 25 houses, with five different sub-groups (5 units in each) then you would usually conduct 5 ‘sets’ of tests. 

As previously stated a set of tests usually consists of two airborne tests of separating walls and two airborne tests and two impact tests on separating floors; however, if no separating floors are available, i.e. in semi-detached or terraced houses, one set of tests would consist of two airborne tests of separating walls only.

To test the airborne sound insulation properties of a floor or wall, a sound source which consists of an amplifier and loud speaker is set up on one side of the wall or floor partition that is to be tested. We then turn the setting to turn on Pink noise. Pink noise sounds like the static that can be heard on a radio that is off station or the old TV test card noise. This type of noise is used because it is made up of a wall of sound that has a wide spectrum of frequencies.

This provides an indication of sound insulation performance for a wide range of sounds that may be experienced within a dwelling from speech to a kettle boiling. The pink noise is measured in the room which contains the speaker or sound source using a Class 1 Norsonic sound level meter; thereafter the noise is measured on the other side of the wall or floor partition that is being tested. In layman’s terms the difference between these two levels is the amount of sound that is stopped by the sound insulating qualities if the wall or floor partition/s.

The result is then corrected and adjusted depending on the echo or reverberation time within the receiving room, and any background noise such as builders work noise etc. to give the airborne sound insulation result (DnT,w). The results of these tests are then compared to the performance criteria of Approved Document E – 45dB new build & 62dB for conversions) and a pass or fail sound test certificate is produced

To test the impact sound insulation performance of a floor, a Norsonic tapping machine which consists of five small hammers that are dropped onto the floor to simulate foot fall, is placed on the floor. The resultant noise in the room below is measured with a Norsonic Class 1 sound level meter and the amount of noise that passes through the floor is the impact sound transmission level and is expressed as a single number.

This result is then corrected and adjusted depending on the reverberation time of the rooms as well as any background noise to give the impact sound transmission result (LnT,w). The results of these tests are then compared to the performance criteria of Approved Document E – 62dB new build & 64dB conversions) and a pass or fail sound testing certificate is produced.

If pre-completion test results do not satisfy the performance criteria of Approved Document E, then our test engineer will attempt to determine the possible causes of failure. This may be to do with construction detailing around services or at junctions, or simply, poor acoustic design. Once the results have been finalised along with the associated graphs, our acoustician (with the aid of the information from the sound test engineer, we should be able to determine the specific cause of failure. Once a specific reason for failure has been determined, we can then advise the client on remedial actions that can be undertaken.

Contact APT Sound Testing Services
If you have a project that’s needs acoustic design advice or needs pre-completion sound testing then please visit our website at or call us directly on 07775 623464 and we should be able to offer you an acoustic solution to help your project achieve practical completion.

Thermal Imaging Surveys

Thermal Imaging Surveys

Thermal Imaging Surveys
APT Sound Testing provide UKAS accredited sound testing & Thermal Imaging Surveys for London and the whole of the UK as required by Approved Document E of the Building Regulations. We undertake projects on all types of residential buildings and commercial buildings. We also undertake sound testing on schools and buildings containing rooms for residential purposes.

Thermal Imaging Surveys in London

A thermal Imaging survey is a completely non-invasive method of investigating many aspects of a building that are virtually impossible by any other method.

Thermal Imaging Process

A thermal Imaging survey is an extraordinary method of investigating many aspects of a building that is completely non-invasive.

Thermal Imaging Inspections use IR Thermography to identify a wide range of issues such as:

• Incorrectly applied or inadequate insulation within the building envelope

• Locating air leakage paths into/out of your building

• Moisture infiltration

• Poor moisture barriers

There is no other low impact and accurate way to assess the unseen performance of insulation or the building fabric.

A thermal Imaging Survey can is also ideal for identifying water penetration through roofs or other parts of a building structure, alleviating the need for time consuming water dye tests which are not always accurate.

APT Sound Testing uses the latest Flir Thermal Imaging Cameras for our thermography report generation and as well as utilising the latest software for accurate reportage and trend analysis.

This means or thermal imaging reports can be issued within hours of the survey being completed with recommendations to help our clients deal with every eventuality.

How we Prepare for a Thermographic Survey

What is also important is that there must be no direct or residual solar loading from the sun in the building.

Many companies have their thermal imaging surveys undertaken an hour or so after sunset and this is usually flawed and may lead to inaccurate results. Whilst there may be rate exceptions to this, as a rule, there will be solar load in the building for many hours after sunset.

Therefore, we have learnt to undertake more accurate reportage the thermal imaging surveys should generally be conducted in the early hours of a cold morning, approx.

Two hours before the sun can fall on the building. It is more difficult to undertake conduct these types of heat loss survey during summer months when the ground temperatures and surrounding buildings are at high temperatures for months on end; however, this can be overcome by ramping up internal temperatures within the building and using the latest and more advanced thermal imaging cameras.

In all cases APT Sound Testing will check each project in isolation to ensure the correct site conditions are in place prior to undertaking the thermal imaging survey in compliance with the requirements with BS EN 13187. Building Regulations Part L and this link both offer lots of useful information in regards to Thermography Surveys.

We have years of experience working with a wide range of clients that span both the public and private sectors. We have clients ranging from self-builders through to the largest housing developers. We also work with the health authority and the banking sector on their cleanroom testing. Our clients have benefited from our wealth of knowledge and friendly, proactive service that we provide.

If you need more information on how to prepare your building for a Thermal Imaging Survey please download our air tightness testing checklist. If you would like more information in regards to our, please visit our website or call us Direct on 07775 623464.