Sound Insulation Testing: Comply With Part E of Building Regulations

Sound Insulation Testing: Comply With Part E of Building Regulations

Sound Insulation Testing: Comply With Part E of Building Regulations
Sound insulation testing is usually undertaken near the end of a project to show that the party wall and floors meet the Building Regulations Approved Document E stipulated performance values.  The method for testing for airborne and impact sound insulation is in full accordance with: the suggested methods presented in BS EN ISO 140-parts 4 & 7: 1998.

Detached houses don’t require sound insulation testing, however if the house has been built on to the end of an existing terrace it usually requires 2 airborne wall tests – 1 through the lower kitchen/lounge and one through the bedroom walls on the upper floors.

Buildings such as apartment blocks often require airborne impact sound tests. Airborne sound insulation tests are normally required between horizontally and vertically separated pairs of rooms i.e. the wall and floor partitions. The sound tests are undertaken by using a sound source, amplifier and loudspeaker to generate a high noise level in one room (the source room). Noise measurements are then taken in both the source and receiver rooms using a prescribed number of source and microphone positions. The background levels in the receiver room are measured and the reverberation time in the receiver room is also measured. From the results, the airborne sound insulation (DnT,w + Ctr) is calculated and compared to the requirements of Approved Document E.

Thereafter impact sound testing may also be required for vertically separated dwellings. Impact sound insulation testing is undertaken using a “tapping machine”, which drops a series of weights/small hammers onto the floor of the upper room. The noise level in the lower (receiver) room is measured for a prescribed number of source and microphone locations. The background levels in the receiver room are measured and the reverberation time in the receiver room is also measured. From the results, the impact sound insulation (L’nT,w) is calculated and compared to the requirements of Approved Document E.

When it comes to refurbishment projects i.e. large houses converted into flats and/or an office block into flats we can undertake a sample sound test of the existing wall and floor construction. Once we have established the sound levels for the existing construction we can then look at extent of the acoustic upgrades to attain Part E Compliance. This is much more effective than just forwarding an acoustic design that may be to excessive and expensive, especially when the existing construction is already ‘acoustically’ robust and therefore only needs to improve by a 1-3dB.

The sound insulation levels required to pass Part E are usually 45dB for airborne wall and floors and 62dB for Impact Sound Testing on new build and 43dB for airborne wall and floors and 64dB for Impact for converted properties. Sometimes a higher target may be required in-line with the Code for Sustainable Homes; this is usually in defined in the following figures +3, 5 & 8dB. Obviously if you need to comply with the Code then special attention must be shown to the acoustic design from the offset. APT Sound Testing can help you to achieve this more robust design criteria. We can also help if your building fails the sound insulation testing by offering a targeted acoustic design solution saving time and potential costs.

The amount of sound insulation tests you require depends on the size of the development. All new build properties and conversions require 10% of each party wall/floor construction type to be tested, i.e. if you have 10 flats you would require 1 x 6 pack, this consists of 2 airborne wall, 2 airborne floor & 2 Impact sound tests. However if you have 11 units this would rise to 12 Sound Tests or 2 x 6 pack. Sometimes more tests may be required if you have many different types of walls and floors, however we will always try to propose the minimum testing required to comply with Part E.

We also offer planning noise surveys comply with BS8233 and BS4142, this allows us to provide all you acoustic requirements in one easy package; reducing cost and improving onsite co-ordination. Air Pressure Testing is UKAS accredited to undertake both Sound and Air Tightness Testing and is also accredited to ISO 17025:2005 ‘General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories’

If you have a project that requires sound insulation testing and you are unsure how to comply with Part E of Building Regulations then contact us now, we can propose a sound testing schedule that should comply with Part E. If you are unsure of your projects acoustic requirements please click here at; info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or call us at 07775623464 today.


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