Sound Testing is essential across a wide range of projects. It helps to understand how noisy a particular workplace is, or whether soundproofing is required to assist in passing 'Part E Building Regulations' in England, Wales and Northern Ireland for Homes, or the more stringent requirements in the 'Building Standards Technical Handbook' found in Scottish Building Regulations, also for Homes. There is also the management of noise in areas that generate vibration and those that go beyond normal levels of airborne noise, such as factories or industrial complexes. 

 

Sound Testing, or Acoustic Test covers 'reverberation' too, this measures the decay of sound in a specific room. This is an essential test for those looking to meet specific guidelines such as those found in the Builders Bulletin 93 (BB93) for the education sector, or for reaching guideline targets for performance venues and workplace performance targets. Speech Intelligibility, the clarity of speech, is always at risk when reverberation is beyond the guidelines or recommended levels, and this management plays an important role in communication.

 

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, we will briefly explain what is involved and what you need to know for these tests.

 

Part E Building Regulations, England, Wales and Northern Ireland, is a set of regulations for residential builds. These were introduced in 2003 as a way of protecting residents from noise between dwellings and apply to all new-build constructions with residences next to one another, and for conversions from a single dwelling to multiple. Only under some circumstances, these may not apply, such as those around Grade Listed Buildings, these will be best discussed with your Building Control Officer. 

 

 Airborne Sound Insulation (DnT,w + Ctr dB minimum values)Impact Sound Insulation (L'nT,w dB maximum values)
New Build  

Walls

45

 

Floors & Stairs

45

62

Conversions  

Walls

43

 

Floors & Stairs

43

64

 

Airborne Test

 

UKAS accredited sound testing strictly follows ISO 16283 and the standards surrounding 'calibration', the process that makes sure all recording devices are operating without the fluctuation that gives a bias to specific frequencies. All testing equipment needs to be set at the correct amount and across these standards so that we can test fairly across the board! 

 

  1. A test with a Sound Level Meter gathers the 'background noise level' of the room, taking external noises into account, those such as road traffic can have a significant impact.
  2. A large dodecahedron speaker is placed in the transmitting room (on the other side of the partition, usually next door) and is measured in the receiving room, on the other side. This is set to a specific dB level, 100dB, and plays a white noise waveform. White noise is equal across the frequency band. Playing music would offer too much dynamic range and dips and troughs in the frequency.
  3. The rooms 'reverberation level' is gathered first in the receiving room and source room to measure its 'reflectiveness' and its 'decay time', the amount of time it takes for a sound to roll off.
  4. You then measure in the receiving room with a Sound Level Meter to assess the levels of sound transmission.
  5. The process above is repeated by moving both the speaker and measuring location to numerous locations in the rooms so that any resonances and anomalies are gathered.

 

The results from these tests take a final average number from the frequency band of between 50hz and 5khz which covers low, middle and high-frequency ranges that are most concerning. Our 'Guide to Understanding Acoustic Test Results' will help you to understand the different phrasing.

 

How many tests are required?

This will depend on your project, but for most multiple dwellings such as high-rise constructions, will not need to all be tested as long as there is a consistent build quality to them. For example, if there is a concrete structure has the same thickness in walls, it may only be up to four tests, unless otherwise specified, that needs to be tested.

 

Impact Test

 

  1. A test with a Sound Level Meter gathers the 'background noise level' of the room, taking external noises into account, those such as road traffic can have a significant impact.
  2. A 'tapping machine' is placed in the upstairs room, which is set to ISO standards to apply a set pressure in selected timings of dropping each hammer. (No damage is done to any flooring in this process)
  3. The rooms 'reverberation level' is gathered first in the receiving room and source room to measure its 'reflectiveness' and its 'decay time', the amount of time it takes for a sound to roll off.
  4. You then measure in the receiving room with a Sound Level Meter to assess the levels of impact sound transmission.
  5. The process above is repeated by moving both the speaker and measuring location to numerous locations in the rooms so that any resonances and anomalies are gathered.

 

The results from these tests take a final average number from the frequency band of between 50hz and 5khz which covers low, middle and high-frequency ranges that are most concerning. Our 'Guide to Understanding Acoustic Test Results' will help you to understand the different phrasing.

 

How many tests are required?

Again, this will depend on your project, but for most multiple dwellings such as high-rise constructions, will not need to all be tested as long as there is a consistent build quality to them. For example, concrete builds will be constructed on the same floor slabs, so it may only be up to four tests, unless otherwise specified, that needs to be tested.

 

Noise Impact Assessments

Noise Impact Assessments are critical for understanding the impact a certain property will have on the surrounding environment. They are a part of the developer's proposal for any project in their minimising of impact to the surrounding environment, both the natural environment and built-up. These require extensive testing of the surrounding area and at what levels of treatment will be needed depending on the proposed buildings operating hours and types of activities taking place. These reports will consider many different options and will help to satisfy Local Building Control and Councils on any noise regulations they may have.

 

Examples of where a Noise Impact Assessment may be required

 

  • Proposals for new Gyms, we give a strong focus on this area due to the excessive noise that comes naturally to these
  • Proposals for new restaurants in close proximity to residential areas
  • Proposals for new bars and nightclubs, there is a focus on conversions here also under the 'material change of use' for converting offices to apartments as these can affect local businesses
  • Proposals for Industrial complexes
  • Proposals for Dyno-Tuning complexes

 

We are always onside to provide a clear voice and strategy for your project so that all sides come out happy with the outcome, this is part of our Noise Impact Assessments.

 

Reverberation Testing

Reverberation over their guided recommendations for all types of properties create a cavernous, uncomfortable environment and often one that communication becomes severed by having excessive reflections in hard finished and furnished rooms. An RT60 will be commonplace in large environments where reverberation is an issue (or an alternative measurement in small space), and this measures the time it takes a sound to decay to below 60dB. 

 

A large dodecahedron speaker is placed in the room, and using an 'interrupted noise' will play a white noise frequency for a set amount of seconds and then shut the noise of immediately. We are measuring this the whole time to collect an average.

 

This is very important in managing acoustic comfort for restaurants, workplaces and in education, where the experience, productivity and learning, respectively, can all be affected!

 

Am I ready for a Sound Test?

These are guidelines to assuring the best possible gathering of results. If these are in effect there may not be an opportunity to carry out the tests in where a charge will still apply for the Site Visit. Assure everything is in place by looking at our Guidance to Part E Building Regulations and Passing the Sound Test.

 

  • Walls, floors and ceilings must be completed
  • Windows & external doors must be fully fitted, glazed and closed
  • There should be no radios, fire alarms or other noise generating equipment or plant operating.
  •  Any ventilation systems should be installed and closed
  • Internal doors should be hung and closed.
  • Skirting boards, electrical sockets and light switches should be fitted.
  • Generators should not be operating.
  • To test impact sound transmission, we can only test the fabric of the building, therefore there must be no additional final finish floorings fitted
  • Rooms in which testing is to be carried out should be empty and tidy with safe access.
  • No-one else should be working in the building during the test
  • Free access to the properties on both sides of the separating partition is required
  • 240v (50Hz) mains power is required within the property to run our test equipment

 

How much does sound testing cost?

Our sound testing fees offer excellent value for money and quality of service that is split down into the following two considerations

  • Site Fee – This varies dependent on location and covers the engineer, equipment and reporting.
  • Test Fee - Each test is charged separately to minimise your expenses.
     

What happens if my sound test fails?

Please remember, if the property fails, we only charge a ‘site fee’ for the re-test PLUS we offer FREE design advice. In the relatively rare event of your test failing, one of our experienced acoustic consultants will review the construction and provide advice on cost-effective solutions to achieve the appropriate standard. Remedial works can be expensive, so it is best to get the job right the first time.

 

Do iKoustic provide the tests themselves?

iKoustic partner with leading nationwide UKAS Accredited Sound Testing Specialists to bring a one-stop solution to you.

Whilst it is imperative in terms of professional integrity that the two parties remain completely neutral and independent, there are great synergistic opportunities in terms of product specification and proven system performance data that can be shared when planning an acoustic specification.

 

Contact iKoustic early on in your project to identify the specific requirements and to ensure the best possible chance of passing FIRST TIME. We can also provide impressive savings for bulk-testing and returning customers.

 

Contact us | 01937 588 226

 

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