Monday, 3 August 2020

What is sound insulation testing?

Sound insulation testing is compulsory for all new build homes in the UK, and has been since July 2004.  So what is it and how is it done?

Basically, sound insulation testing is a check to see if your new build prevents the passage of sound adequately.  This is both sound travelling through the air, and through the materials in the build itself.  Your new build should be reducing the amount of noise being carried, which is why it is so important to carry out sound testing between two adjoining properties.  

The number of tests that a property needs can vary depending on its design. A rule of thumb is 10% of the development. For example if you have 50 flats you will test 5 sets of floors and walls. If the wall and floor make up is different or not consistent you will need to test that wall or floor individually.  When working out the no. of tests though make sure you round up...its better to be safe than sorry!

A sound test is carried out by a qualified engineer who will come to your site.  Please make sure the property is ready to test though! Too many times I have turned up for a test and the site isn't ready.  Any half decent sound testing company should issue a checklist before the engineer goes to site to make sure you are ready.

At the test itself, a range of background noise is measured before the test.  A sound source is placed in one side of the party wall / floor and a microphone measures the sound transmitting through the wall/floor.  (This is an airborne sound.)  When testing the floor we test for both airborne and impact. (Impact sound is created by using a small machine that has a set of hammers which create the impact.) 

The only time you do not require a sound test for a party wall or floor is if you registered and used "Robust detail". This is a set of details proven to meet the sound criteria. The company "Robust detail ltd" may turn up to test the wall / floor.

Sound is a science, please DO NOT take short cuts. If you are converting buildings with existing walls, please get a pre test and get recommendations from a specialist sound  consultant to design your wall and floors to meet the necessary requirements. This will save you time and money in the long term.

To learn more about sound testing take a look at the below page - the video explains the process and how you need to prep in full:

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