Month: December 2020

Searching for Sound Testing in London

Searching for Sound Testing in London

Searching for Sound Testing in London
Unless plans were fully approved prior to 1 July 2003, sound testing will be required on your London development between rooms or spaces that share a common area of separating wall and/or floor as stipulated in Building Regulations Part E for the passage of sound. Sound Testing is not generally required for internal walls and floors within a dwelling-house, flat or room for residential purposes; however, all internal partitions should be designed to achieve 40dB.

Sound Testing in London

The buildings that require sound testing are:

1.            Dwelling-houses, flats or rooms for residential purposes created by conversion of existing buildings or new build rooms for residential purposes will need to be tested if work starts after 1 July 2004.

2.            New build dwelling-houses and flats will need to be tested if work starts after 1 July 2004.

The main aim of sound insulation testing in London is to ensure that minimum standards of sound resistance have not been compromised by poor workmanship and/or poor design. You are normally required to undertake sound testing to each type of construction, i.e. if you have a mixture of brick, blockwork, timber and metal studwork walls all four types would need to be tested, followed by a 10% sample of that type using the equipment shown in Plate A below.

For instance, if you have a project with 25 flats you would be required to do 3 x 6 pack of tests; each 6 pack contains 2 airborne wall, 2 airborne floor and 2 impact sound tests; however if any test failures occur, then the number of sound tests may need to increase on the development. When sound test failures occur, then the design and construction of the failed partitions will need to be revisited to try and evaluate the reasons for the failure; thereafter, agreement can be reached on how to rectify problem.

We have carried our hundreds of acoustic design reviews, so we are well placed to help you overcome any potential problems to achieve compliance with Building Regulations Part E.

When designing acoustic partitions you will need to consider the following:

a.            The careful design of floor plans to avoid habitual rooms being placed side by side.

b.            The mass and density of products that you are using.

c.             Using good design detailing to ensure the careful isolation of materials.

d.            The whole construction detail and how it is made up.

e.            Undertaking careful acoustic detailing of junctions between walls, ceilings and floors.

f.             Using acoustic wall ties in cavity walls.

g.            Types of doors in sound resisting walls.

h.            Containment of noise within noisy parts of a building such as lift shafts.

i.              Positions of sockets and flues on opposite sides of walls to ensure they don’t sit back to back.

j.             Sealing and filling of joints.

k.            The use of cavity closers on window/door reveals.

l.              Careful sealing of service penetrations.

m.           Designing to reduce potential reverberation in common parts of buildings such as corridors and entrance areas and the subsequent use of absorbent materials.

Unfortunately unless the acoustic design has been taken into account, the floor and ceiling partitions can be the main pathways for sound transmission.  The first type of sound transmission is airborne sound such as TV and speech; and the second is the passage of impact sounds such as footfall or children’s toys being dropped on the floor above.  Achieving good airborne and impact sound isolation requires careful acoustic design considerations.

Plate A below shows one cost effective ceiling upgrade that can be undertaken on conversion projects. Firstly retain the existing floor joists, then above the joists install 22mm chipboard. Above the floor board install an acoustic resilient membrane and above this install the 22mm engineered floor. Within the joist cavity install 100mm AW IsoWool. To the underside of the joists fix a resilient hanger system and below this install two layers of 12.5mm sound boards ensuring that boards have adequate laps. 

A simple Acoustic Floor Upgrade

To try and help our clients achieve compliance with Approved Document E, we offer the following 4 step acoustic design package:

1.            Site Survey Visits – to let us view the existing site construction. This allows us to check for potential problematic construction such as inclusion of lightweight blocks in the existing construction. It also lets us check that the installation teams are installing the acoustic materials as per manufacturer’s guidelines.

2.            Sample Sound Testing – of the existing construction. This offers an accurate overview of the acoustic performance of the existing partitions which enables us to offer a targeted acoustic design using the sound insulation performance of the existing construction.

3.            Acoustic Design Review – a full design review of the proposed developments party walls and floors.

4.            Pre-completion Sound Testing to satisfy Approved Document E.

APT Sound Testing can advise on all types of acoustic design, whether it’s accomplished during initial construction or during a refurbishment/renovation project.

We also undertake UKAS accredited sound testing providing a ‘one-stop’ solution for all your acoustic requirements.  If you would like more information in regards to sound testing please follow our blog at: or visit the APT Sound Testing website..

Why Have I Failed my Sound Insulation Test?

Why Have I Failed my Sound Insulation Test?

Why Have I Failed my Sound Insulation Test?
This is one of the most common questions we get asked by clients when their property has failed the sound testing. One of the main reasons for acoustic partitions failing the Part E sound test is often down to poor isolation of material/s, which can lead to excessive noise flanking. Noise Flanking is a term used by acoustic engineers to describe where sound passes through an acoustic partition due to the abutment of materials. The noise simply hits one side of the wall and then travels through the construction via a noise bridge. This can be areas such as the incorrect use of masonry wall ties i.e. solid fishtail ties, used in place of specified acoustic wall ties.

APT Sound Testing

Unwanted noise travelling along flanking paths can make the building structure vibrate, which can cause sound to radiate into your room. One simple cost effective solution is to build another wall or ceiling in front of the original, to offer extra isolation. For this upgrade to work you need to make sure that the independent wall or ceiling is not directly connected to the existing failed partition; so it provides isolation between materials.

Another reason for excessive noise flanking is often down to the use of down to the use of lightweight blocks in the construction of the building envelope. Due to the lightweight mas of the inner wall it allows sound to transmit from dwelling to another, both vertically and horizontally. If a building has failed its sound testing, it is essential to establish if the problem is due to direct transmission, flanking transmission or a combination of both so that the most cost and time effective remedial treatment can be designed and applied to the failed partitions. 

One of the easiest ways to reduce the chance of sound testing failures due to excessive noise flanking transmission is through careful consideration of the acoustic design at the start of the project.  Unfortunately, by simply specifying high-performance wall and floor partitions, it is no guarantee to adequate sound isolation and successful sound testing.

We offer preconstruction design advice to help you achieve successful sound testing in-line with Building Regulations Part E. We also offer onsite inspection services to ensure that the sound insulation elements are being installed as per manufactures guild-lines, as it’s no use having good acoustic design if it not being installed properly on site.

During early design and construction process, we visit site to conduct a comprehensive acoustic design survey and review, we also take this opportunity to meet; where possible, the site/project manager, architects etc. The first stage of the acoustic design is to send through the design drawings – to include sections etc. We then review the design to check that the construction details proposed are capable of passing the sound tests. This usually takes place straight after planning has been approved as increased cost savings can be realised at the earliest stage, we will evaluate the construction methods and materials specified to ensure that they are capable of meeting the acoustic requirements of Approved document E.

The typical areas we check are:

a.            There are no flanking points, where isolated partitions are wrongly mechanically fixed together to caused noise bridging.

b.            The walls and floors design are acoustically robust, to comply with Building Regulations Part E.

c.             The acoustic treatments for Soil Pipes, Stair Cases Steel Beams etc. to ensure they are acoustically fit for purpose, as these are some of the areas that get usually missed.

d.            Acoustic floor treatments are compatible with the proposed floor finishes i.e. Carpets, Laminates, Floor Tiles and under floor heating systems.

We also provide on-going design support service, so you will have direct contact with the allocated acoustician from the start of the process through to the successful completion of the project. One of the most important services is the going site survey visits which allow our clients to feel confident about the outcome of testing at the end of the build. The site visits let us check that the installation teams are installing the acoustic materials as per manufacturers avoiding crucial onsite mistakes. You can often have a compliant design which still fails due to poor workmanship; the site survey visits negate the risk of sound test failure.

We also offer an acoustic advice service for clients that have failed their sound testing. We offer simple solutions to reduce the noise levels and achieve compliance with Part E. We can supply simple easy to follow acoustic design reviews, utilising our extensive knowledge of different materials and construction methods

If you require more information about acoustic design and/or sound testing on your project, please visit the APT Sound Testing website or call direct on 07775 623464.

Sound Insulation Testing – Common Questions & Answers

Sound Insulation Testing – Common Questions & Answers

Sound Insulation Testing – Common Questions & Answers
To try and help our clients better understand Sound Insulation Testing for Approved Documents E, we have collated the most common and questions (along with answers) clients have asked us over the last ten years. If you have further questions not contained within this article then please don’t hesitate to contact us.

What is Sound Insulation Testing?
Sound insulation is the property of a wall and /or dividing partition to resist the passage of noise. The sound Insulation testing is a method of quantifying the sound insulation performance of walls and/or floors. Sound Insulation testing can be carried out on party walls, party floors or facades of any building.

Sound Insulation Testing – Common Questions & Answers

Do I need sound insulation testing on my Property?
One of the largest single reasons for disputes between neighbours is noise complaints. Approved Document Part E – Resistance to the passage of sound describes minimum standards to be achieved by newly built domestic dwellings.

What is Approved Document E?

Approved Document Part E of the Building Regulations, sets out minimum standards for sound insulation performance to be achieved by party wall and party floors, you can achieve compliance with Part E by undertaking Pre-Completion Sound Testing

When is the Sound Testing carried out?
The Sound Insulation Testing is carried out when the buildings are complete. Windows should be in place with any vents closable. Internal and external doors should be in place, along with skirting, cornicing and plug sockets in place. Sound testing must be carried out before any soft coverings such as carpet have been laid to the floors. No furniture – such as beds or settees should be in the rooms during the sound testing as it will have an effect on the results. 

Are internal partitions within a single dwelling sound tested?
No, Laboratory test based performance standards (Rw) exist for certain internal walls and floors, but they are not intended to be verified as-built by on site measurement and therefore sound insulation testing is not a requirement; however, approved document E does state that internal partitions should achieve 40dB.

Do detached properties require sound testing for Part E of Building Regulations?
No, only attached properties require sound tests such as semi-detached dwellings or blocks of flats. Detached properties share no common partitions with any other properties.

How many sound insulation tests should I need on my Project?

Approved Document E states that one set of sound tests is required for every 10 units in a group or sub-group. A group or sub-group is defined where significant differences in construction or layout occur, for instance:

  • For a pair of semi-detached Houses – a set of tests would usually comprise two airborne sound insulation tests of a separating wall.
  • For Flats (up to 10 units) – a six pack would normally be required, this comprises of: two airborne wall tests, two airborne floor tests and two impact floor sound tests.
  • For Rooms for Residential Purposes (student accommodation, hotel rooms, care homes etc.) – a set of tests would usually comprise: one airborne sound insulation tests of a separating wall; one airborne sound insulation test of a separating floor; one impact sound transmission test of a separating floor.

Which plots selected for sound testing?
We usually specify the amount of sound insulation tests that is required on each project and this will be shown on a schedule within our fee proposal. This allows our clients to forward the schedule to building control to seek their approval prior to the test. We first look at the floor plans then work out a testing schedule taking into account testing through the projects ‘habitable rooms’ i.e. lounges & bedrooms where possible. When we have specified the sound testing schedule it should always be checked by building control and/or the client to seek their approval before the commencement of sound insulation testing.

How do I Prepare my Site for Sound Insulation Testing? 

APT Sound Testing always send out a sound testing checklist along with our fee proposals to help you prepare for the sound testing, as we always want our clients to be fully prepared so they can pass their sound testing at the first attempt.

How long will the sound testing take?

The time taken to undertake the sound insulation testing varies with site conditions, but generally a ‘6 pack’ set of tests on houses and flats takes about one to two hours. Obviously this depends on the site being fully prepared in line with our sound testing checklist.

Will the sound insulation testing disrupt work on site? 
we require relatively quiet conditions are needed to take accurate measurements. This means that anyone working in the testing area will have to leave temporarily and any noisy works in the vicinity of the test rooms will need to be halted i.e. using power tools or loud hammering etc.  

How do I know if I’m ready for a sound insulation test?
We send out a checklist with all quotations to allow our clients to check they are ready for the sound testing. Basically the plots should be at least at second fix stage – for further details please refer to our sound test checklist.

What sound testing equipment do you use?

We use the latest UKAS calibrated acoustic equipment, for ease of use and reliability. unlike many other companies we able inform clients if they have passed or failed straightaway whilst on site. This allows us to offer acoustic advice and collect detailed construction information whilst on site, in the event of wall and/or floors failing the sound testing.

What if I only have 110V and not 240V on site?

Unfortunately we cannot undertake the testing off 110V or localised generator power; we will need 240V to undertake the sound testing.                   

Should I inform my neighbours of the impending sound testing?
If the building is attached in any way to occupied properties then you will need to inform the neighbours. We need to gain access to the neighbouring properties to undertake the sound test as we test the wall partition. You will also need to ensure that access is provided to the neighbouring properties throughout the sound testing.

Can you offer acoustic advice to help me to pass my sound testing?
APT offer an acoustic design service to help you design your buildings partitions to pass Part E sound testing. If you send through the relevant drawings such as sections and floor plans during the design stages of the project, we can check the design to see if there are any junctions or details where ‘noise flanking’ may occur, we can then advise if any changes are required to lower the chance of sound test failures.

Rest Assured

We believe in working with our clients on all types of projects from small end of terrace developments up to large blocks of flats. We believe that by being involved at the beginning of a project we can often save our clients expensive and difficult remedial works at the completion stage of a project.

If you need sound insulation testing for your current project, please call our team on 01525 303905 or email  We can provide you with expert advice and are happy to offer a free, no obligation quote along with our informative

checklist to help you prepare for the sound testing.