Acoustic Tests: Providing sound insulation testing and noise consultancy throughout the UK, and at great low prices!

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Pre-Completion Testing / Sound Insulation Testing as per the requirements of Approved Document E

What is pre-completion testing?

Pre-completion testing is a building regulation requirement for all purpose built & "formed by material change of use" (i.e. refurbished) properties since 2003. Testing is undertaken in a percentage of properties in each development to ensure that the separating walls & floors between habitable rooms of neighbouring properties meet the minimum requirements as defined by Approved Document E, commonly referred to as ADE.

Which areas of the UK do 'Acoustic Tests' cover?

Our consultants are based in several strategic locations across the country to ensure that we can provide the most competitve quotations in the industry for sound insulation testing. A list of some of the areas covered is as follows:

All areas of Manchester, Liverpool and the North West, London, Kent, Surrey & the home counties, Brighton, Reading, Guildford, Canterbury, Hastings, Gillingham, Colchester, Wycombe, Northampton, Oxford, Birmingham, Leicester, Cambridge, Peterborough, Lincoln, Norwich, Bristol, Swindon.

More generally, we find our prices to be lowest available in: Manchester & Greater Manchester, Surrey, Greater and Central London, East & West Sussex, Cumbria, Kent, Essex, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Cheshire, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, South Wales and North Wales.

For an exhaustive list of locations our engineers and consultants operate in, please follow this link: Locations

What are the minimum requirements for separating walls and floors between neighbouring dwellings?

The minimum requirements depend on a variety of factors such as if the development is new build or refurbished, whether the development is intended to be a permanent dwelling, or classified as "rooms of residential purposes" (e.g. hotels, student accommodation, etc). A brief summary of the minimum requirements can be found below, in table form:

Type of Accommodation Nature of the Building Work Transmission Path Type of Party Element Performance Criterion {dB}
Dwellings Purpose built Airborne Walls 45 DnTw+CTr
Floors 45 DnTw+CTr
Stairs 45 DnTw+CTr
Impact Walls 62 L’nTw
Formed by Material Change of Use Airborne Floors 43 DnTw+CTr
Stairs 43 DnTw+CTr
Walls 43 DnTw+CTr
Impact Floors 64 L’nTw
Rooms for Residential Purposes Purpose built Airborne Stairs 43 DnTw+CTr
Walls 45 DnTw+CTr
Floors 45 DnTw+CTr
Impact Stairs 62 L’nTw
Formed by Material Change of Use Airborne Floors 43 DnTw+CTr
Walls 43 DnTw+CTr
Stairs 43 DnTw+CTr
Impact Floors 64 L’nTw
What happens if I fail a pre-completion sound insulation test?

Should a sound test fail, the partition in question must undergo remedial works in order to improve its level of sound insulation, and finally, be re-tested once again to confirm compliance with Approved Document E. In most cases our consultants will be able to provide straightforward remedial work advice to enable the improvement of the failed partition, and bring it up to the requirements of building regulations. Occasionally, failures of a greater magnitude require a more deliberate diagnostic testing approach to properly assess flanking elements and/or any weak spots in the construction.

How can I avoid my acoustic test / sound insulation test failing first time around?

The easiest way to ensure that your development avoids the costly mistake of failing its pre-completion test is to bring "Acoustic Tests" on board as early as possible in the project. We can assess the suitability of party wall & floor designs with architects and periodically carry out site inspections to check acoustic details are being followed correctly.

What are typical mistakes made during construction that affect sound insulation performance?

There are many ways that errors in construction or poor workmanship can affect acoustic performance. Some of the issues we see regularly on site are things such as; too much mortar collecting at the base of cavity masonry wall constructions, as well as the wall ties not being kept clean and free of mortar. Resilient bars incorrectly installed, by 'screwing through' the resilient part of the bar into joists and/or the studwork. Incorrect perimeter isolation details; when floating floors are installed and missing or badly fitted perimeter isolation strips allow the floor to come into contact with the walls, thus bridging the floating element. These are but a few of the hazards that must be successfully navigated to ensure that your design meets its specifications from laboratory performance to onsite performance.

What are the Code for Sustainable Homes credit guidelines for sound insulation?

The Code is the national standard for the sustainable design and construction of new homes. The Code aims to reduce our carbon emissions and create homes that are more sustainable. Credits are awarded for achieving above the recommended level of sound insulation as defined by Approved Document E. Achieving 3 dB in excess of the requirements of ADE awards 1 credit, 5 dB in excess awards 3 credits, and 8 dB in excess awards 4 credits.

What is BB93?

Building Bulletin 93 governs the acoustic requirements for schools, ranging from the minimum requirements for sound insulation, to speech intelligibility, internal ambient noise levels and reverberation times of teaching areas. Compliance with BB93 must be demonstrated by a test schedule undertaken by acoustic professionals. A new document entitled "Acoustic Performance Standards for the Priority Schools Building Programme September 2012" is to be released in 2013 which updates the various requirements that BB93 currently governs, and this will become the reference point for acoustic design & testing targets for schools upon its roll out

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