Month: January 2022

Improving Separating Walls and Floors to Pass Part E Sound Testing

Improving Separating Walls and Floors to Pass Part E Sound Testing

Improving Separating Walls and Floors to Pass Part E Sound Testing

Approved document E of Building Regulations stipulates a minimum soundproofing standard for all new flats and houses with shared walls as well as conversion projects where house have been converted into flats. Usually, in newly built homes, you shouldn’t suffer noise issues with neighbour noise, unless they are creating very loud noise that is an environmental nuisance i.e., playing their music at 90dB.

Suffering excess noise through separating walls or floors can be a big problem for residents, and more so at night after 10pm, when there is less background noise to help the situation as noise becomes more noticeable. 

Improving Separating Walls and Floors to Pass Part E Sound Testing

Excess noise is a very common in older houses and flats constructed prior to 2004, as the dwellings may have been created with separating walls and floors, with no consideration to the sound insulation. In many of these older conversion properties, excess noise can be a huge issue as it usually consists of a timber joist with existing floorboard above and one single later of 12.5mm plasterboard below. This type of construction usually achieves around 30dB (Approved Document E, requires a minimum of 43dB for conversion properties) so normal residential noise such as speech can be easily heard from adjoining neighbours.  

One simple way to upgrade the floor would be to add insulation between the joists, with acoustic resilient membrane above the flooring. Below the joists resilient bars can be installed along with two layers if 15mm soundboard. You can easily achieve 46-48dB by using the above acoustic treatment, as long as its installed inline with manufacturers details. 

What’s the difference between airborne and impact noise?

There are two types of noise that usually become an issue between neighbours, airborne and impact noise; however, on closer inspection they are quite different! Airborne noise is created by speech, TV and music; whereas, impact noise is created by footfall, doors banging such as kitchen cupboard doors. In many instances impact noise is more annoying as its usually a loud thump similar to a banging of a drum sound. Impact sound can also radiate through the fabric of the building via walls etc.

Sometimes it’s a good idea to ask your neighbour to come around to your property so they can hear the noise disturbance, more often than not there can be a fairly simple solution such as replacing kitchen cupboard doors with soft closing hinge; or installing a large rug to the middle of the floor.  You may even be able to do a deal where you pay half the costs which should speed up the process.  

What’s Leaseholder Sound Testing?

We often get involved in leaseholder sound testing, for this type of test we undertake a sound test visit to check the sound insulation performance of the existing floor partition prior to the commencement of construction works. Thereafter, once the construction works are completed, we visit site a second time to check the acoustic performance of the newly upgraded floor is not worse than the original construction.

We can help with the acoustics on your project

Hopefully, this article will offer some guidance to help you soundproof your separating wall to reduce excess noise through the floors and help to improve the acoustic insulation values in-line with Approved Document E standards.

If you would like some more information, please give our team of friendly acoustic design consultants a call to discuss your project and let us take the stress out of soundproofing! We can undertake the initial acoustic design of your party walls and thereafter the sound testing to check the sound proofing of your party wall. For more information please email us at: or visit our website here. Alternatively please call us on 07775 623464

Types of Sound Insulation Testing Needed on Flats

Types of Sound Insulation Testing Needed on Flats

What Types of Sound Insulation Testing is Needed on Flats?

There are two types of sound tests that are required for flats to comply with Approved Document E; they are:

Airborne Walls and Floor Tests – These types of sound tests are carried out on separating walls and floors/ceilings between flats. An airborne sound test measures levels of sound transmitted through the air, such as speech and TV and Music noise. We use the latest Dodecahedron loudspeakers that produces white noise on one side of the partition, and measure noise with a Level 1 decibel meter on the other side of the partitions to check how much sound is lost through the partition.

Impact Floor Tests – This type of sound tests is only carried out on separating floor/ceiling divides between dwellings. An impact test measures the levels of noise transmitted directly through a separating construction as a result of impact noise such as footfall.  We use a Norsonic tapping machine, which drops metal hammers onto the floor to create impact noise. We then measure the amount of sound that passes through the partition with a decibel meter on the other side of the dividing partition.

Types of Sound Insulation Testing is Needed on Flats?

All types of sound insulation testing should only be completed on ‘habitable’ rooms. Habitable rooms can be Lounges, Living Rooms, Studies, bedrooms and open plan kitchens. Test findings are fed into a report, that will compare the results against the Part E Building Classification, which will clearly show a pass or fail. Thereafter the sound test report, will be sent to the client. As a UKAS accredited testing laboratory, our sound test report should always be acceptable to your tasked Building Control, and will help you to achieve building signoff for Approved Document E.

We know how important a sound insulation certificate is to you in achieving building control signoff, that’s why we pull out all the stops to make certain that you get the certificate quickly. We pride ourselves on the fact that our sound insulation certificates are issued with speed and efficiency.

Even before you get the sound test certificate, you will receive the results of the test. First, our skilled and competent acoustic engineers give you a verbal result at the site. Then, a written report is sent to you within 24 hours of a working day.

So why do we need Sound Testing on Flats?

When sound resistance (or sound insulation) is high in party walls and floors, the environment is more comfortable for residents as sound affects every aspect of our lives including home/work environment and while relaxing.

Insufficient sound insulation usually causes distress and discomfort while an effective sound insulation system brings about speech privacy and helps to improve relaxation and often helps to improve sleep patterns.  This is one of the several reasons why sound insulation is a key element in building.

Types of Sound Insulation Testing is Needed on Flats?

If, for example, resident working night shifts may not be able to sleep if their neighbour/s like to play loud music. Robust levels of sound insulation will help to reduce the noise and help to improve the quality of a person’s life in diverse ways. There are also developments where the neighbouring units are used for different purposes, such as home/work/studio units, in such cases a sound test ensures that the noise coming from each unit is minimal.

Why Choose us for your Acoustic Requirements

APT Sound Testing was formed with the idea of offering clients all the necessary help with acoustics on their projects. We provide all the necessary noise assessments, testing and certification under one roof to save developers time and money and reduce coordination issues.  Everyone at APT is fully trained and highly knowledgeable in our field or expertise cancelling out any need to speak to multiple people or departments

Based in London and Luton and operating nationwide across England & Wales, whether you require a single service or a fully tailored compliance package from design to sign off stage you can rest assured that APT will take a pro-active approach to ensure you have everything required for Building control sign off.

Secrets to Successful Sound Testing

It is our ongoing our goal to ensure all of our clients and customers are aware of all the required services their project(s) needs. We offer the most cost-effective assessment and precompletion testing solutions for your projects.

We also specialise with failed projects by providing on site diagnostics. If you have failed air tests, sound tests, low EPC ratings or bad ventilation rates are not things to be worried about then please contact us, at APT we have a massive amount of experience in providing the most cost effective and easy to understand remedial solutions.

For further information sound insulation on party floors in Flats, please see our sound test checklist or visit us at or call us on 01525 303905.  

Minimising Noise Transference

Minimising Noise Transference

Sound Testing to Minimising Noise Transference
There are many different types of intrusive sounds that can penetrate through external walls, party walls, and separating floors. And these are a major concern for the inhabitants and users of both residential and commercial buildings.

In many existing buildings, where noise is a problem, any noise reduction is welcomed, giving comfort and relief by improving the quality of the living space. In residential building conversions, alterations must be designed to minimise the risk of disturbance from external noise sources from both neighbouring properties or from outside noise sources via the building façade.

Defining Noise

There are many ways to define noise; usually, it’s any unwanted, unpleasant or unexpected loud sound’. Most people will be disturbed by any unexpected loud noise, but many are able to become accustomed and de-sensitised to constant background noises as long as these do not vary in pitch or become too loud or intense. A couple of examples of this are residents living under an airport flight path or adjacent to a railway line.

Noise usually originates from outside the building envelope, via sound sources such as traffic, horns, alarms, and sirens, however, noise can also be generated from within buildings via household activities such as televisions, radios and washing machines or badly maintained mechanical plant. Equipment such as old central heating boilers and air conditioning units can generate significant whine and hum acoustics which can be very upsetting to certain ‘sensitive’ people and can greatly affect the person/s wellbeing. The preferred background (ambient) noise level in dwellings is 35dB. This is very often reduced to 30dB for sleeping areas as this is seen as the most sensitive area within a dwelling.

The subsequent noise intensity is measured in decibel (dB) units and uses a logarithmic scale. A 10dB increase in noise is normally perceived as a ‘doubling’ in loudness. The table below gives the typical decibel level of some example sound sources.

Very faint
Very loud
Normal breathing
Whisper at 1.0 metre
Light traffic at 50 metres
Loud speech
Busy street, pub or restaurant
Vacuum cleaner or hairdryer
example sound sources

Improving Sound Insulation

In order to consider the options for tackling noise problems, it is necessary to have a basic understanding of sound behaviour and acoustic design.

In most instances, the weakest acoustic area of the external walls will be window units. In existing buildings, these are often Sash units and many councils do want them replaced as they are one of the most important features within the external façade of existing buildings.

As a result, many councils/local authorities will not let you remove and replace original window units unless the frames are rotten and beyond reasonable repair, however despite this decent acoustic improvements can still be made by installing a draught-proofing strip to the opening lights, and by providing an acoustic caulk seal around the window frame.

If it’s extremely noise secondary glazing units can be installed along with demountable shutters. One of the simplest improvements can be made via the installation of good quality heavy curtains fixed close to the wall; this can also be one of the most attractive upgrades and can also help keep heat within the home – a double winner!

If the building is being subdivided into new apartments then the walls between apartments will need to be sound tested in line with Part E for Converted Dwellings. In this instance, we can undertake sample sound testing on walls and floors to check the existing sound insulation performance.  

 APT Sound Testing has considerable experience in all matters related to architectural acoustic design and detailing. We can help develop the initial acoustic design from the initial design scheme stage right through to the pre-completion sound testing.

Our approach is robust and does not leave any room for errors using our In-depth knowledge of acoustic materials, construction systems, and Regulations we can provide the following:

  1. Sample sound testing to identify the acoustic performance of the existing building to allow for targeted acoustic upgrades.
  2. Acoustic testing of existing wall façades to ISO 140-5, to check the existing sound levels so new targeted wall upgrades can be specified.
  3. Provision of cost-effective and practical acoustic solutions
  4. Thorough understanding of the desired character of the space
  5. Specification of External Building Fabric and including walls, doors and windows in order to minimise noise break-in, or break-out for privacy and overall acoustic quality

If you would like more information in regards to acoustic design or sound testing on your project, please contact us now at: or call us direct on 01525 303905.