Planning Stage

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Completion & Post Completion

Part E Acoustic Testing

Part E Building Regulations acoustic assessments examine the design of interior surfaces, windows and ventilation systems to ensure they meet sound absorption standards. Our experts are here to provide you with knowledgeable guidance so that your property can be equipped with the best soundproofing solutions available.

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What is Part E Acoustic testing?

Unwanted noise from neighbours can be a huge source of stress in the home. Part E Acoustic testing aim to provide relief from this problem with soundproofing solutions that meet building regulations.  The Building Regulations Part E applies to new builds and conversions in both England and Wales, providing a minimum standard of soundproofing.

Part E 1: Provides protection against sound from separating walls and floors from other parts of the same building and adjoining buildings.

Part E 2: Provides protection against sound internally within a dwelling-house, for example internal walls between a bedroom or a room containing a water closet and other rooms, and internal floors.

Part E 3: Provides protection against reverberation sound in the common internal parts of buildings containing flats or rooms for residential purposes.

The regs cover airborne sound and impact sound – airborne sound resistance must be 45dB for separations between homes (43dB for conversion projects). Internal walls should provide at least 40dB of protection between bedrooms and other living spaces. This level easily muffles normal speech, TV or music sounds. Where there are doors leading into en suite bathrooms, an exception can be made.

For impact sound such as footsteps or dropped objects, the maximum transmittance level is 62dB for new builds (64 dB for conversions). At a development of fewer than 10 dwellings, meeting Part E regulations for soundproofing means testing 2 walls and floors using both airborne and impact testing methods. A small to medium-sized development should include these measures in order to ensure peace of mind for occupants. By following these guidelines, you can rest assured that your home will remain quiet and comfortable regardless of what’s happening outside or in other rooms. Our team is here to provide you with the guidance and expertise required to make sure the building meets all necessary criteria.

Download the Part E Regulations

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Why is Sound a Problem?

Sound often follows the path of least resistance, finding its way through small openings like service entry points or vibrating along nails and screws. Even when you take soundproofing measures, noise can still find a route around it! This is known as flanking transmission.

When constructing your home or business, there are several common pathways for noise that you should be aware of:

  • Fireplace chimneys with open flues between sound-resistant floors
  • Service entry holes for plumbing pipes and wiring
  • Double socket outlets on a single wall
  • Unsealed mortar joints that have gaps and holes
  • A lack of isolating void between ceiling boards and floor joists
  • Hard floor coverings without an isolation material beneath them.

By paying attention to these potential sources of unwanted sound, you can ensure your space is as quiet and peaceful as possible.

When should my development be tested?

For optimal success during sound testing, it is beneficial to involve us as early as possible in the development process. However, there are some necessary steps that need to be taken prior to the test that can increase the likelihood of passing. To ensure you meet all requirements, here is a checklist for preparing for sound insulation testing:

  • All windows and external doors must be installed, glazed and shut properly
  • The ventilation system should be ready and closed off
  • Internal doors should be hung correctly
  • Walls, floors and ceilings should be finished
  • Install skirting boards, electrical sockets and light switches where applicable
  • Avoid laying any flooring before impact sound transmission tests take place
  • Test rooms must remain empty and tidy throughout the procedure

Moreover , please make sure no tradespeople are working in or around either of the dwellings during acoustic testing; Access to neighbouring properties is required and both require power.

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When is a site ready for testing?

Preparing a site for testing prior to completion of the build is critical, as it allows us to take readings with more accuracy and conduct our tests in a quiet environment. Any background construction noise can easily compromise test results.

Doing so ensures that all installations – from windows and doors to trickle vents and power – are compliant from day one.
Please call 0333 772 2798 if you have any questions.

What is included?

At the design stage, we provide professional and friendly advice based on our extensive knowledge in acoustic assessments. Our experienced team will help you gain the necessary prior consent for any excess noise levels from the Principal Contractors. We are here to evaluate and ensure that all acoustic performance meets required planning conditions – from workplace noise and vibration assessments to building control sounds insulation testing.

Acoustic Design Solutions

Acoustic design modelling is the process of creating computer-generated 3D models or simulations of a space to predict and optimise its acoustic performance. By simulating the acoustic properties of a space before construction or renovation, acoustic design modelling can help designers identify and address potential issues.

Frequently Asked Questions

When should my development be tested?

Part E of the Building Regulations covers the requirements for sound insulation and acoustic performance in dwellings and certain types of buildings. Your development should comply with Part E acoustic regulations if it involves the construction, conversion, or renovation of residential properties, including houses, flats, or rooms for residential purposes.

In general, any development that creates new dwellings or alters existing dwellings, such as adding new walls, floors, or ceilings, should be assessed for compliance with Part E acoustic standards. This is to ensure that occupants are protected from excessive noise and have a suitable level of sound insulation within their homes.

It is important to consult with a building control officer or acoustic consultant to determine if your development falls within the scope of Part E regulations and to ensure that the necessary acoustic performance measures are incorporated into the design and construction process. Failure to comply with Part E requirements can result in delays in obtaining building regulation approval and potential issues with occupant comfort and wellbeing.

Are you installing hard floor finishes in an existing residential dwelling?

It is important to test the acoustic performance of a space to determine if it meets the required criteria for noise reduction, sound insulation, or sound absorption. This can help ensure that the space is suitable for its intended use and that occupants are comfortable and safe.Are you installing hard floor finishes in an existing residential dwelling

What is Sound Insulation?

Sound insulation, also known as soundproofing, is the process of reducing or blocking sound transmission from one space to another. This can be achieved by using sound-absorbing materials, such as foam, fiberglass, or acoustic panels, to dampen and absorb sound waves. Sound insulation is often used in buildings to minimise noise transfer between rooms, floors, or outdoor environments, creating a more peaceful and comfortable environment.

What is Airborne Sound Insulation?

Airborne sound insulation refers to the ability of a building element or material to reduce the transmission of sound through the air. It is a measure of how effectively a material or structure can block or absorb sound waves, preventing them from traveling from one space to another. This is important for maintaining privacy, reducing noise pollution, and creating comfortable environments in buildings. Materials with high airborne sound insulation properties are often used in walls, floors, and ceilings to minimise sound transmission between rooms or units.

What is Weighted Sound Reduction Index Rw?

The Weighted Sound Reduction Index (Rw) is a single-number rating that represents the sound insulation performance of a building element or material such as walls, floors, or windows. It measures the ability of the element to reduce the transmission of sound from one space to another, with higher values indicating better sound insulation. The Rw is calculated by taking into account the sound insulation properties at different frequencies and weighting them according to the human ear’s sensitivity to different frequencies.

What is Flanking transmission?

Flanking transmission occurs when sound from one room or space is transmitted through a common structure, such as a wall or floor, and is then transmitted into an adjacent room or space. This transmission can occur through structural elements like walls, floors, or ceilings, as well as through openings such as doors, windows, and ductwork. Flanking transmission can be a significant source of noise transfer in buildings and can be reduced by using soundproofing techniques such as adding mass, increasing isolation, and sealing gaps and openings.

Would it be okay to just soundproof the (wall, floor or ceiling) to pass Part E Building Regulations

Soundproofing just one element (wall, floor, or ceiling) may not be enough to meet Part E Building Regulations, as the regulations require a holistic approach to reducing sound transmission between dwellings. It is recommended to consider a combination of measures such as adding insulation, installing acoustic panels, using soundproofing materials, and addressing any gaps or air leaks. It is best to consult with a soundproofing specialist to ensure compliance with the building regulations.

How do you test acoustic insulation?

There are several ways to test the acoustic insulation of a material or structure:

1. Sound Transmission Class (STC) test: This test measures the ability of a material or structure to block sound from passing through it. It is typically done by subjecting the material to a range of sound frequencies and measuring the sound transmission loss.

2. Impact Insulation Class (IIC) test: This test measures the ability of a material or structure to reduce impact noise, such as footsteps or objects dropping. It is typically done by creating a controlled impact noise on one side of the material or structure and measuring the sound transmitted to the other side.

3. Field Sound Transmission Class (FSTC) test: This test is similar to the STC test but is conducted in a real-world setting, such as a room or building. It measures the sound transmission loss between different rooms or areas.

4. Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) test: This test measures the overall sound absorption properties of a material. It is typically done by subjecting the material to a range of sound frequencies and measuring how much sound is absorbed rather than reflected.

5. Reverberation time test: This test measures how long it takes for sound to decay in a room after the sound source has been turned off. A longer reverberation time indicates poor acoustic insulation.

6. Sound pressure level meter test: This test measures the sound pressure levels on both sides of a material or structure to determine how much sound is being transmitted through it.

Overall, a combination of these tests can provide a comprehensive assessment of the acoustic insulation properties of a material or structure.

How thick should acoustic insulation be?

The thickness of acoustic insulation can vary depending on the specific requirements of the space you are insulating. In general, thicker insulation will provide better sound absorption. However, the optimal thickness will depend on factors such as the type of noise you are trying to block, the frequency of the noise, and the size of the space. It is recommended to consult with a professional acoustic engineer or insulation specialist to determine the appropriate thickness for your specific application.

What insulation is best for acoustics?

When it comes to insulation for acoustics, soundproofing insulation materials such as mineral wool, cellulose, and foam panels are often considered the best options. These materials are designed to absorb sound waves and reduce noise levels, making them ideal for improving acoustics in buildings, recording studios, theaters, and other spaces where sound quality is important. Each of these insulation materials offers unique advantages and properties that can help enhance soundproofing capabilities in different ways. Ultimately, the best insulation for acoustics will depend on the specific requirements of the space and the desired level of soundproofing.

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