Sound Testing Services & Compliance with Part E

Sound Testing Services & Compliance with Part E

Sound Testing Services & Compliance with Part E
The pre-completion testing of all new and converted buildings has been a legal requirement since 2003. Sound insulation testing is the assessment of the sound insulation performance of party walls and party floors between different dwellings such as semi-detached – usually walls) houses and/or apartment blocks – usually walls and floors). Sound Insulation Testing is required once the property is nearing final completion and determines if the minimum Building Regulation standard for sound insulation has been met.

The required levels are as follows:

  • New Build Dwellings – Airborne 45dB & Impact 62dB
  • Converted Dwellings – Airborne 43dB & Impact 64dB

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

Attaining compliance with Part E of the Building Regulations is a vital part of the construction process to ensure both private and landlord-operated homes, and commercial properties keep sound within the room or space it occupies without polluting any other adjacent areas.


All new and converted dwellings such as houses and flats and rooms 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 and residential homes. Detached properties do not require sound testing.

Approved Document E was initially introduced in 1992 and covers the reduction of unwanted sound transmission. This is identified as the passage of sound. It covers all walls, ceilings, windows and floors in the building.

The building regulations are continually updated – the latest update to Part E of the Building Regulations was released on 6th April 2013. This takes into account of the fact that construction techniques have changed over the years. As new acoustic materials and construction methods have been introduced through research and development in the construction industry, the regulations are changed to reflect and rationalise them.

There are 4 main sections to Approved Document E, they are:

  • E1 – Protection against sound from other parts of the building and adjoining buildings
  • E2 – Protection against sound within a dwelling-house etc.
  • E3 – Reverberation in the common internal parts of buildings containing flats or rooms for residential purposes
  • E4 – Acoustic conditions in schools

For most small house builders Parts E3 & E4 is not going to have much impact, but E1 and E2 are certainly relevant to anyone building or renovating.

Sound insulation tests are undertaken when the development is near completion. This means that the dwellings and the test rooms should be at a stage where just final finishing, such as final painting and carpets are required. We provide sound testing services throughout England and Wales. To help our clients prepare for compliance with Part E we have provided a site preparation checklist – shown below. If you check all items on the checklist it should help you to correctly prepare the building for the final pre-completion sound testing. It’s worth noting that where items are not in place this will negatively affect the sound insulation performance of the dwellings:

  1. Internal & external doors must be hung, glazed & closable on the latch
  2. Windows should be fully installed, glazed & closable on the latch
  3. Trickle vents and other ventilation systems should be fitted
  4. All wall, floors & ceiling constructions must be completed
  5. Skirting boards and cornice should all be completed
  6. Electrical sockets, TV Aerial sockets & light switches should be fitted
  7. Rooms must be clear of building materials, tools & unfurnished
  8. No cosmetic floor coverings should be fitted (i.e. laminate, carpet, vinyl, ceramics)
  9. No building trades should be working in the dwellings during the tests
  10. Access to rooms either side of the separating structure is essential
  11. Non-tester access to the rooms is prohibited during testing
  12. No noisy operations such as drilling, cutting or groundworks to occur nearby during testing
  13. Provision of 240v 50Hz mains power is required within all the dwellings under test 110v cannot be used.

To attain compliance with Part E one set of tests needs to be undertaken for every ten flats or houses provided the construction system is the same. A set means that the test should include two locations where the party element (wall or floor) is tested. This is equivalent to two individual tests when assessing the performance of a wall – airborne performance only) and four individual tests when assessing a floor (two airborne and two impact tests).

All sound insulation tests must be undertaken between habitable spaces (e.g. bedrooms, living rooms) and not to or from common spaces such as stairwells and corridors. Approved Document E 2003 states that a minimum of 10% of all party walls and floors is sound tested for every construction group or sub-group; however, where variations in the construction such as a different wall and/or floor type then further testing may be required.

APT Sound Testing provides a full range of Sound Testing Services in compliance with Part E. if you would like more information please contact us at or call me direct on 07775623464.

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