Pre Completion Sound Testing Explained
Posted in Acoustic Consultants News on Apr 18, 2019
What is Pre Completion Sound Testing?
As a Part E requirement of building regulations pertaining to new properties (be it a new flat, house or conversion of abode), sound testing is mandatory. It places responsibility on the owner or builder to prove that the acoustic rating is both accurate and complies with modern regulations regarding noise control. This is especially important in controlling noise between walls or separating floors between one or more dwellings. Like other building regulations tests, local building control units may specify which dwellings are to be tested but if not we can guide you through the process and specify what pre-completion sound testing is required.
It is important the property is at the right stage of the development to ensure that it has the best chance of passing the test. We need to test when the dwelling is essentially complete but not occupied. There are a number of specific requirements that can be found by visiting our sound insulation testing page.
How Is A Building Sound Tested?
Sound testing follows approved document part E which provides an outline of how to properly undertake sound insulation tests. Tests must be undertaken once building work is completed, without furnishings such as carpets or floor installations. Tests are therefore unbiased recording of properties acoustic performance. These are carried out on the initial property type to be completed, with further tests taken out on every 1 in 10 properties of each type. Tests are taken and applied to separate elements of a property rather than in living spaces, corridors or hallways, etc. The testing must be carried out by an accredited test body, such as UKAS or the ANC. Results are passed on to your local building control office to be certified. There are two types of sound insulation testing: airborne tests and impact tests. Where airborne tests measure sound transmitted through the air between walls or ceilings, impact tests are measured by making impact on floors or ceilings via a tapping machine.
Tests may be carried out differently depending on the property as so:
- Houses: A set of tests will comprise two individual airborne insulation tests. Ideally, if there are separating walls between bedrooms of the adjoined houses or living rooms, these must be tested.
- Flats: Sound Insulation tests on flats normally comprise of one set of floor tests including 2 impact and 2 airborne tests, as well as one set of wall tests including 2 airborne tests.
The requirements for new buildings are to provide a minimum airborne sound resistance of DnTw+Ctr ≥45dB and maximum impact measured sound level ofLnTw ≤62dB, whilst conversions must meet the following requirements of DnTw+Ctr ≥43dB and LnTw ≤64dB.
What If Tests Fail?
If a sound test fails, remedial work will be required to improve the partition so that it will achieve a pass on a re-test. If multiple tests fails then additional testing may be requested by the building control body to ensure all other areas pass the sound test. We can provide guidance on cost effective ways of passing your pre-completion sound test first time or help you to deal with a failed sound test. You can review our building regulations part e compliant wall and floor designs at our sound insulation design advice page to get an idea of the level of acoustic detailing required to pass a test first time.
There are alternatives out there to pre completion sound testing such as the robust details certification scheme. In this scheme, users select details from a provided handbooks before registering their plot on the official scheme website before work commences on the building sit. Building control are notified of this and construction must then follow the step-by-step guide provided in the handbook.