Sound Insulation Testing 

What is Sound Insulation Testing?

Also known as ‘Sound or Acoustic Testing’, the Sound Insulation Tests measure and quantify how much noise travels through party floors, walls and ceilings. Sound Insulation testing is required for the construction of all new dwellings, as well as for any construction that modifies a freestanding (previously single) dwelling for multiple living uses. It is also required when converting previously commercial space into dwellings, such as offices into flats for example. Tests are carried out to meet the requirements of Approved Document E of the Building Regulations. The chief aim is to minimise sound transmission with a view to reducing the impact of nuisance noise on homeowners and improving their quality of life.

How Do Sound Insulation Tests Work?

There are two types of sound insulation testing that are undertaken: Airbourne and Impact Testing.

  • Airbourne Testing BS EN ISO 140-4 (Airborne)

Airborne floor sound insulation tests are carried out with a large dodecahedron speaker, using a white noise generator to create the source sound. A sound level meter is then used to take noise measurements within the source room and the receiver room (room directly adjacent to the source room). The background noise level is also measured. The higher the background noise then the higher the source noise will need to be set, since the resulting noise level in the receiver room needs to be 10dB higher than the background noise at all measured frequencies.

  • Impact Testing BS EN ISO 140-7 (Impact)

When undertaking impact sound testing the tapping machine is placed in the upper apartment or flat and the noise level is measured in the lower apartment or flat in the room under the tapping machine. In all cases the room to be tested should be habitable in nature, i.e. bedrooms or living rooms.

airborne and impact

Part E Requirements for Sound Insulation Testing

In order to meet resistance to the passage of sound standards, the test elements must meet values outlined in Building Regulations Part E. This document presents the following criteria to be met:

Sound Insulation

When Should Sound Insulation Testing be Undertaken?

Sound Insulation tests should be carried out as early as possible. If minimum noise attenuation levels are not met during the test, changes can be made to insulation measures with less difficulty and expense that if these were to be carried out after the construction is fully completed.

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