Thursday, 24 January 2013

What is Sound Insulation Testing?

Sound insulation testing is the assessment of the sound insulation performance of party walls and party floors between different dwellings. Testing is required once the property is nearing final completion and determines if the minimum Building Regulation standard for sound insulation has been met.

Developers are responsible for arranging testing to demonstrate compliance to Building Control that the Approved Doc E sound insulation regulations have been met. The procedure is more commonly referred to as pre-completion testing (PCT) or Approved Document E (ADE) sound testing.

What is Approved Doc E?

Approved Document E – ‘Resistance to the passage of sound’ came into force on July 1st 2003 and provides minimum sound insulation Building Regulation requirement for newly built and converted residential dwellings as well as the Code for Sustainable Homes. Properties include houses, flats, student residences, care homes, hotels and schools.

Approved Document E of the Building Regulations is a government-issued document providing guidance for architects, developers, building control bodies, building services engineers, and others involved in the design and conversion of buildings for residential purpose. The document explains the testing requirement and provides advice and details about building procedures and materials that affect test results

What is the benefit of a Sound Test?

In buildings sound can be defined as 'airborne sound' (i.e. sound generated and transferred directly in the air by talking or home entertainment systems) or 'impact sound' (i.e. sound generated by the impact of an object striking the floor and transmitted through it, such as footfall noise).

The objective of Approved Document E is to raise sound resistance standards for both airborne and impact noise between dwellings to provide reasonable living conditions and improve the standards of acoustic insulation in attached properties

Sound insulation testing may also be required in non-residential buildings such as schools, hospitals and workplaces to ensure that noise sensitive areas such as classrooms, wards and meeting rooms are suitably insulated from noisier areas

Do I need a sound test?

All new and converted dwelling houses and flats for residential purpose require sound testing to Approved Document E standard. This also includes a room or suite of rooms which is not a dwelling house or a flat but which is used by one or more persons to live and sleep. For example, rooms in hostels, hotels, boarding houses, halls of residence, and residential homes.

Detached properties do not require sound testing and new constructions that have been built and appropriately registered with the Robust Details scheme do not need to be sound tested. Historic building conversions may not need to be sound tested but often a ‘test and declare’ certificate for sound insulation performance is requested by the Building Control Officer (BCO).