Month: September 2023

Air Tightness Testing in London

Air Tightness Testing in London

Air tightness testing is a process that measures how much air leaks through the gaps and cracks in the fabric of a building. It is also known as air testing, air pressure testing, or air leakage testing. Air tightness testing is required for all new buildings, both domestic and non-domestic, as part of the Building Regulations Part L in the UK. But why is air tightness testing important? Here are some of the benefits of having an airtight building:

  • Building Energy efficiency: An airtight building reduces the amount of heated or cooled air that escapes through the building envelope, which means less energy is wasted and lower energy bills for the occupants.
  • Environmental impact: An airtight building also reduces the carbon emissions associated with heating and cooling, which contributes to tackling climate change and meeting the UK’s net zero target by 2050. Recent studies have  estimated  that buildings account for 40% of the UK’s total carbon footprint, so improving their air tightness can make a huge difference.
  • Comfort and health: An airtight building prevents uncomfortable draughts, cold spots, and noise from outside, creating a more pleasant and consistent indoor environment. It also avoids condensation problems that can lead to mould growth and poor indoor air quality, which can affect the health and well-being of the occupants.
  • Quality assurance: An air tightness test verifies the quality of the materials and workmanship used in the construction of the building, ensuring that it meets the standards and specifications required by the Building Regulations. It also identifies any defects or areas that need improvement, which can be fixed before they cause further issues or damage.

How to achieve a good air tightness test result

The key to achieving a good air tightness test result is to plan and prepare from the early stages of the design and construction process and using an air tightness champion to monitor the ongoing works. Some of the factors that affect the air tightness of a building are:

  • Design for Air Tightness: The design of the building should minimise the number and size of openings and penetrations in the building envelope, such as windows, doors, pipes, wires, vents, etc. The junctions between different elements and materials should also be well detailed and sealed to avoid gaps and cracks.
  • Building Materials: The materials used for the building envelope should be durable, robust, and compatible with each other. They should also have appropriate properties and performance characteristics for their intended use and location. For example, some materials may expand or contract due to temperature or moisture changes, which can affect their air tightness.
  • Workmanship: The workmanship involved in the installation and assembly of the materials and components should be of high quality and follow good practice guidelines. The workers should be trained and skilled in applying the appropriate techniques and methods for achieving air tightness. They should also check their work regularly and rectify any errors or defects as soon as possible.
  • Testing for Air tightness: The testing of the building’s air tightness should be carried out by a qualified and accredited tester using approved equipment and procedures. The testing should be done at an appropriate stage of the construction process, when all the relevant elements of the building envelope are completed and sealed. The testing should also be repeated if any changes or modifications are made to the building envelope after the initial test.

By following these steps, you can maximise your chances of achieving a good air tightness test result on your property, which will bring you many benefits in terms of energy efficiency, environmental impact, comfort and health, and quality assurance.

APT can help with your Air Tightness Testing

APT Sound Testing we have large amount of experience in understanding the requirements of Approved Document L, along with extensive experience of carrying out thousands of successful air tightness tests on a wide range of developments across London and the UK.

In order to achieve the required air tightness target (which is getting lower all the time) and to avoid the risk of a failed air tightness test, we strongly recommend that early consideration is given to the design of the air leakage line within your project.

By working with our customers throughout their design and construction stages, we can provide advice and guidance on the most feasible ways to avoid air leakage and attain compliance for the air tightness test. Please download our air tightness checklist to help you prepare for your test.

Simply get in touch via our contact form or call us on 01525 303905 to discuss your specific requirements with our friendly and knowledgeable acoustic and air tightness consultants.

Preparing for Sound Insulation Testing

Preparing for Sound Insulation Testing

The best way to prepare for a sound insulation test is to ensure that you prepare all the essential details of soundproofing your building for the sound test visit.

This includes:

  1. Checking there are no holes or gaps, such as service penetrations present around the dwelling allowing sound to escape through party walls and/or floors.
  2. Ensuring the party walls are correctly sound insulated inline with the acoustic design.
  3. Check the party ceiling/floor has also should have some form of sound insulation.
  4. Ensure there are not too many sockets or fuses sitting back to back in the room and the faceplates are fully installed.
  5. Check all internal/external doors and windows are fully installed.
  6. Ensure 240v power is on throughout the project.
  7. Check no noisy construction works are taking place at the time of the test.
  8. Ensure operatives are not working in the vicinity of the testing.
Sound Testing Services for New Build Dwellings

Airborne and Impact Sound Testing

When we undertake sound testing, we usually carry out two forms of testing, both airborne and impact. Both of these types of noise require a different procedure and accounts for different type of noise. Airborne sound requires needs the room to be kept as well sealed as tightly as possible so as to not allow sounds to escape the room. The sound associated with airborne noise are TV and music from Sound Systems etc. Impact noise refers to sound from footsteps, or any kind of impact such as the dropping of a rubber ball, or moving a piece of furniture such as a chair on a wooden floor.

Airborne sound testing usually needs to be carried out between pairs of rooms separated by party walls and/or floors. Most sound tests are carried out between living rooms and bedrooms as these are classed as the two main habitable rooms; however, other rooms can be used if this is not possible such as studies, kitchens and dining rooms. Impact sound testing usually needs to be carried out between floors only.

How long does the sound test take?

The amount of time its takes to complete the sound testing varies on each project as no development is exactly the same; however, as a rule of thumb a set of 2 airborne wall tests on pair of semi-detached houses will take approx. 1-2 hours. A six pack of tests on a block of flats, will usually consist of a minimum of 6 sound tests (2 airborne wall, 2 airborne floor and 2 impact floor tests) this will usually take approx. 2-3 hours.  The aforementioned test durations are dependent on our engineers having full free uninterrupted access between all the units/rooms under investigation, along with 240v power to each unit.

Contact us now for acoustic advice and sound testing

If you need help with your party wall and/or floor design we can help. We can undertake a full acoustic design for blocks of flats, or terraced dwellings and thereafter undertake sound insulation testing for compliance with Part E of Building Regulations.

For more information please contact APT Sound Testing on on 01525 303905 or email us at Alternatively please visit our website at

Pre completion Sound Insulation Testing Services

Pre completion Sound Insulation Testing Services

Pre completion Sound Insulation Testing Services
Pre completion sound testing under Part E of Building Regulations has been a mandatory requirement since July 2003. We are a UKAS-accredited sound insulation testing laboratory providing our valued clients with a proactive sound testing service and reliable reportage to achieve building control sign off.

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 pre-completion testing of the project.

Here is a concise introduction to sound insulation testing, and how APT can help you with your project.

Introducing Sound Insulation Testing
Sound Insulation Testing is measuring the airborne or impact noise coming through a partition. The partition is the floor, wall or ceiling and there will be different requirements for each. Part E Building Regulations, England, Wales and Northern Ireland, is a set of regulations for both new build and conversion residential builds.

Approved Document E was introduced in 2003, as a way of protecting residents from noise between dwellings. The regulations apply to all new-build and conversion constructions with residences next to one another.

How many sound insulation tests are required?
Approved Document E, requires that various walls and floors are tested between adjoining dwellings. The exact number of walls requiring testing will vary depending on the overall size of the development and the amount of different types of wall or floor constructions.

On a typical small to medium development consisting of up to 10 dwellings with the same partition construction the project will usually require one single 6 pack. This consists of 2 airborne wall tests, 2 airborne floor tests and 2 impact floor tests. On a pair of semi-detached houses you may only require 2 airborne sound tests through the walls.

What levels do I need to achieve to pass my Sound Test?
To pass your sound insulation testing in compliance with Approved Document E, you will need to achieve the following sound insulation results:

For separating floors & walls on new build projects:

Separating Floor Between Flats Airborne Noise Reduction = 45dB Dn T,w + (Ctr) or greater
Separating Floor Between Flats Impact Noise Reduction = 62dB Ln T,w or less
Airborne Wall Tests to achieve 45dB Dn T,w + (Ctr) or more

For separating floors & walls on conversion projects:

Separating Floor Between Flats Airborne Noise Reduction = 43dB Dn T,w + (Ctr) or greater
Separating Floor Between Flats Impact Noise Reduction = 64dB Ln T,w or less
Airborne Wall Tests to achieve 43dB Dn T,w + (Ctr) or more

How do I prepare for a Sound Insulation Test?
In all cases the more complete a development, the more likely it is to pass the sound test and achieve the requirements of Approved Document E. When we send out our quotation we also forward a specific sound insulation checklist to help our client prepare for the testing.

Basically if you meet the following criteria will generally have a much better chance of passing the testing at the first attempt.

  1. Site noise should be kept to a minimum with no power tools, generators, radios, fire alarms etc. operating
  2. Walls, floors and ceilings must be completed
  3. Windows & external doors must be fully fitted, glazed and closed
  4. Any ventilation systems should be installed and closed
  5. Internal doors should be hung and closed.
  6. Skirting boards, electrical sockets and light switches should be fitted.
  7. To test impact sound transmission, we can only test the fabric of the building, therefore there must be no additional final finish floorings fitted
  8. Rooms in which testing is to be carried out should be empty and tidy with safe access.
  9. No-one else should be working in the building during the test
  10. Free access to the properties on both sides of the separating partition is required
  11. 240v (50Hz) mains power is required within the property to run our test equipment

For more infomration call us today at 01525 303905. We offer a friendly and proactive design, consulting service for all your compliance and certification requirements.

Remember, we provide UKAS accredited sound testing for London and the whole of the UK as required by Approved Document E of the Building Regulations. So you know you are in safe hands.

BREEAM Thermographic Inspection Services

BREEAM Thermographic Inspection Services

BREEAM Thermographic Inspection Services
APT undertakes BREEAM thermal imaging surveys specifically tailored to meet the requirements of BREEAM. The thermography surveys can contribute towards extra credits for overall BREEAM certification and provides visual evidence to the energy performance of a building.

The BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology) is a structured to analyse, rate and certify a building’s environmental and sustainability characteristics for both new build and refurbishment projects.

BREEAM Thermographic Inspection Services

The standard that contains the requirements for a BREEAM thermal imaging survey is the SD5078 BREEAM UK New Construction standard. This was launched in 2014 and the section that deals with thermography is contained within thermal comfort for health and wellbeing. The aim of the BREEAM scheme is to mitigate environmental impacts throughout the life cycle of new buildings cost effective and robust manner.

The following text contains the necessary criteria set out within the BRE SD5076 scheme for gaining the extra credit/s for your project.

One Credit – Testing and Inspecting Building Fabric

The commissioning and testing schedule and responsibilities credit is achieved.
The integrity of the building fabric, including continuity of insulation, avoidance of thermal bridging and air leakage paths is quality assured through completion of post construction testing and inspection.

Dependent on building type or construction, this can be demonstrated through the completion of a thermographic survey as well as an airtightness test and inspection (see compliance notes 3 and CN3.4. The survey and testing is undertaken by a Suitably Qualified Professional (see Relevant definitions) in accordance with the appropriate standard.

Any defects identified in the thermographic survey or the airtightness testing reports are rectified prior to building handover and close out. Any remedial work must meet the required performance characteristics for the building/element.

Only Level 3 Thermographers are used for our thermal imaging surveys

The importance of using one of our Level 3 trained thermographers cannot be understated as they are trained to be write predictive maintenance and inspection practices and to develop test procedures and ascertain severity criteria. To try and help clients prepare for the BREEAM thermal imaging survey to their building, we have written the following article: How we carry our thermal Surveys on commercial buildings.

Here is some more information in regards to the new BREEAM Technical Standards as well as scoring extra BREEAM credits for your new development.

BREEAM provides extra points to projects that have a BREEAM Thermal survey undertaken. As not many clients are aware of BREEAM thermal surveys, we have included more information in our ‘What is a BREEAM thermal Imaging Survey’ article. Also to try and help clients prepare for their survey please download our Thermal Imaging Checklist.

Please contact us for more information

Contact us today If you require a Thermal Imaging Survey in London or anywhere in the UK, and our professional and certified Level 2 Thermographer’s will carry out your thermographic Inspections for BREEAM compliance in accordance with all necessary standards and current regulations.

All we need are a few details such as floor plans and elevation drawings and the building location to provide a quotation. We will also send across our informative checklist to help you prepare for the thermal survey.