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NOVA Acoustics

Soundproofing Walls

Soundproofing Walls

We provide acoustic testing, consultancy and products to help developers, contractors and architects achieve the minimum requirements of Part E of the Building Regulations or specific Lease Condition requirements where specific sound reduction requirements are required.

Soundproofing Walls for Part E

We, unfortunately, do not provide consultancy or products for domestic noisy neighbour issues. The most common question we are asked is “How do I soundproof my walls to ensure I pass my Part E sound test?”. You are in the right place as we can guide you through this process with ease, we have numerous designs we can provide and can also discuss bespoke soundproofing solutions for soundproofing walls.

Firstly, as a developer, you need to consider what acoustic performance you need from the party wall. We can design soundproofing for your wall to just pass a Part E sound test or we can design soundproofing for your walls to achieve an excellent level of sound insulation compared to Part E’s minimum requirements.

Mute Clip Double brick wall

See Also...

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Soundproofing Designs for Party Walls to achieve compliance with Part E of the Building Regulations.
Sound Insulation Design Advice
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Our consultants provide bespoke sound insulation design to ensure you comply with Part E of the Building Regulations.
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Soundproofing Products
We specialise in providing soundproofing products to help builders, contractors and architects comply with Part E of the Building Regulations.
Sound Testing
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Nationwide UKAS-accredited sound insulation testing services with a quick and reliable turnaround.

How much do I need to soundproof walls to achieve Part E compliance?

Part E which is also known as Approved Document E, was last published in 2015 and deals with sound insulation. More specifically, it is concerned with the resistance within a property to the passage of sound. It gives advice on the requirements for sound insulation in both new dwellings and dwellings that have been converted from other types of building. The scope of the document covers sound reduction between different rooms in residential terms as well as specific rooms in a dwelling. Part E sets out the minimum criteria for airborne acoustic insulation for separating walls between dwellings. The minimum requirements for your party walls to pass a sound test are different for conversions and newbuilds and are as follows:

Airborne Noise

Conversion DnT,w + Ctr


New Build DnT,w + Ctr


Impact Noise

Conversion LnT,w


New Build LnT,w


To allow the reader to better understand the acoustic performances stated above, we have applied the following subjective scale. This scale is based on our opinion of best achieving our client’s expectations.
Soundproofing the walls to ensure you meet the requirements of Part E of the Building Regulations should not be seen as an arduous task. Achieving good wall soundproofing between houses and flats is essential for our growing cities, nobody wants to hear their neighbours through a poorly soundproofed wall or hear the flat above you walking to and fro. Poor insulation is an issue that plagues many houses both small and large, through the development of noisy hobbies such as gaming systems, drum kits or food processors, or simply poorly soundproofed properties. A lot of homeowners aren’t aware of the insulation requirements of Part E of the Building Regulations and further to this most won’t necessarily understand the importance of Sound Testing to show compliance with the regulations. Soundproofing to achieve compliance with Part E, should not be just about ‘Passing’ because if you ‘Just Pass’ or have a ‘Marginal Pass’ this means the property passes the required test but has poor soundproofing. This will have a knock-on effect for the owner renting the property for an extended period or the purchaser feeling they have purchased their dream home. So makes sure you get your soundproofed walls designed by the experts! Below you will find a database of soundproofing wall designs to help you comply with Part E of the Building Regulations.

What are the principles of wall soundproofing?

NOVA Acoustics Ltd deals with builders, architects, developers and specifiers on a day to day basis and the challenges behind soundproofing walls are very apparent. It is really important to not only understand the target levels for wall soundproofing but also a few of the basic principles that will help you achieve a great sound test result.
1. Decoupling

We’ve all been in homes or flats where you can hear a person walking across the floor in the room directly above. This is particularly noticeable in buildings which have hardwood or marble floors and apartment buildings which have not been converted to a particularly high standard.

One of the best ways to reduce the sound of people walking on the floor above is to decouple the ceiling structure from the floor joists. This can be done using a Mute Clip System, a Resilient Bar System, A suspended MF Ceiling or an Independent Ceiling to decouple of the SoundBloc plasterboard linings from the joists above. Second to this decoupling the floor and creating a floating floor creates a suspension in the floor and decouples the cosmetic floor finish from the sub floor and minimise impact noise transference.
The same kind of system can also be used on the walls by creating a staggered or double stud wall which helps to reduce the spread of sound waves and vibration through the partition wall. Ideally, two layers of studwork should be installed with a good quality and high density acoustic mineral wool between the studs to reduce sound transmission even further.

2. Acoustic Mineral Wool
To ensure your partition floor or wall achieves a good degree of acoustic insulation, you will need to install a good quality mineral wool between the joists or studwork. This needs to be tightly fitted between the framework to ensure a ‘snug’ fit and not have any gaps or voids. ALOT of soundproofing and building supplies companies will call any mineral wool ‘Acoustic Mineral Wool’ but to ensure you are getting the best product there is one simple rule. If it comes in a roll it is not acoustic! (Even if its got acoustic written on it!). We specify good quality Acoustic Slab Insulation, such as Rockwool RW45, Rockwool Flexi or Rockwool RW3. These mineral wool products come in varying slab sizes and whilst having a higher mass per cubic metre, improving the acoustic insulation, they are also easy to install and sit snuggly between you joists or studwork.
3. Mass

One of the key ways to improve the acoustic insulation of a party floor or wall is to ensure there is adequate mass, this can be done by using one of the higher mass mineral wool products mentioned above. There are also a number of Mass Loaded Vinyl products which can be used to apply to floors or walls. Finally, using SoundBloc, Duraline or SoundPlank ensures that your plasterboard linings also have the optimum mass. It is very challenging to achieve the requirements of Part E of the Building Regulations when using standard 12.5mm plasterboard on your ceiling.

For sound to travel through a wall, it actually has to move, hence the vibration. By making the walls heavy and a lot more rigid, they become harder to move, meaning the vibrations will be reduced. Some cost-effective choices for making walls heavier include plywood, OSB, and cement board. Though a heavy wall will still vibrate somewhat and you will still hear low frequencies, the sound will be reduced dramatically.

4. Air Tight Seal

One of the key areas to guarantee the acoustic insulation performance you are aiming for is by achieving an air tight seal. Air is like water, if there is any gaps, holes or cracks it will find a way through. Poor sealing is one of the most common reason for Sound Test Failures and is so easy to overcome.

For example, with a timber floor construction take the following steps:

Insulate between the joists with Rockwool RW45 and ensure this is tightly fitted between the timbers. Cut the insulation slightly proud of the joist spacing so that it holds itself in place.

Ensure you leave an air cavity of 25 – 50% of the joist, this significantly improves the floors performance, never overfill with mineral wool and NEVER use Kingspan.

On the underside of the ceiling, Install your ceiling system, Resilient Bars or Mute Clips. When installing your first layer of SoundBloc plasterboard affix this to the Resilient Bar or Furring Channel with no mechanical fixings (screws) to the joists.

Finish the plasterboard with a 3mm gap around the perimeter. At this stage silicone the perimeter and joints. Now apply your second layer of SoundBloc plasterboard, stagger the joints, and follow the same process of finishing with a 3mm gap and silicone the perimeter and joints.

From above apply your subfloor layer of 22mm Chipboard, if you are wanting a higher performing floor use a Cement Particle Board, this layer will need to be screwed into the joists. At this stage seal the perimeter and junctions within the room to ensure there are no gaps or holes.

Finally lay your Composite rubber floor layer, Mutemat 2, over the top.

5. Add Damping
Finally adding damping to your wall and ceiling can help to dissipate the vibrations caused by sound waves. One of the easiest ways to add damping is to apply a layer of Tecsound between the plasterboard layers. Damping can be applied to all of the above soundproofing methods so long as two layers of board or drywall are being installed. When combined with a hot or resilient channel this results in a particularly effective soundproofing method.

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