Mar 20 2024 / Blog

How to Conduct a Soundproof Test

Finding peace in a quiet environment is a luxury many seek. Whether you’re constructing residential flats, a new music studio, a home office, or simply want to create a safe space within your home to wind down, conducting a sound test can demonstrate you have achieved your desired acoustic comfort and enhanced privacy.

Not only does soundproofing improve concentration, but it also provides you with peace within your workspace or home. However, achieving effective soundproofing requires careful planning and execution.

If you’re interested in conducting sound insulation tests or want to know more about professional sound testing, continue reading.


Understanding Soundproofing

Before preparing to conduct a sound insulation test, it’s important to grasp the fundamentals of soundproofing. Essentially, soundproofing involves minimising the noise transmitted from one area to another.

This can be achieved by implementing certain materials and techniques to help absorb or block sound waves. Soundproofing can be applied to walls, ceilings, floors, and doors, to name a few, but this depends on the requirements of the space.


Soundproofing for noise problems

Soundproofing or Sound Insulation is an essential requirement across many sectors to ensure acoustic comfort in residential dwellings, offices, education and healthcare environments, for example.

Acoustic consultants are commonly involved in solving noise problems which exist in these environments. When there is a sound insulation problem, the acoustic consultant would ideally have access to conduct a soundproofing test, or sound insulation test, as it is more commonly known, as the starting point to investigate the problem.

The sound insulation test experience for the acoustic consultant would allow them to subjectively and analytically relate the performance of the separating structure to the believed construction details. In some cases, destructive investigation may be required to understand exactly the construction details present.

Armed with sound test data, subjective experience and construction knowledge, the acoustic consultant will use their education and experience to provide options to the client to enhance the sound insulation of the structures to a required level.


The Importance of a Sound Insulation Test

In most cases, sound testing is required to meet certain regulations or agreed performance targets.

Part E of the building regulations. With sound testing playing a huge role in building regulations, it’s crucial to pass a sound test to achieve building control certification and the sign off of your new build or converted residential project.

Building Bulletin 93 (BB93). Sound testing is a requirement within BB93, with newly built and converted schools required to meet the detailed performance standards. BB93 has varied sound insulation requirements based on the associated activity noise and noise sensitivity of differing room types within the school environment.

HTM08:01 Healthcare Acoustics. Sound insulation testing is a requirement within the healthcare environment, with newly built and converted healthcare premises required to meet the detailed performance standards. Sound insulation requirements are varied based on the associated activity noise and noise sensitivity of differing room types within the hospital or clinic for example. In consulting rooms, speech privacy is critical, and high levels of sound insulation are required.

BREEAM Acoustics HEA 05. Sound insulation testing is a requirement for BREEAM Assessments, meaning that credits can be achieved towards your BREEAM score.

General Noise Problems. Soundproof testing is common before and after the remedial treatment of the sound insulation of separation between spaces. This allows both the noise complainant and the acoustic consultant or builder to understand the improvements that have been made across the frequency range. The sound test will also show if any further weaknesses persist which need further enhancement.

Hotel Acoustics. Sound insulation testing is required for new and converted hotels to meet Building Regulations Document E 2003, however, hotels typically have their own brand standards in excess of building regulations. As hotels are generally mixed-use developments, high levels of sound insulation can be required, typically when separating higher noise levels such as restaurants and bars from bedrooms.

HMO Acoustics. Soundproof testing is required within student accommodation and houses of multiple occupancy. Again, a requirement of Building Regulations Document E 2003. Sound Insulation Design which is critical to the sound test performance, is often overlooked, with HMO’s leading to sound test failures at the completion stage.

In summary, sound insulation testing can be seen as a key process in:


Sound Insulation Testing at Peninsular Acoustics

Here at Peninsular Acoustics, we offer a wide range of services, including sound insulation testing, such as airborne and impact tests. As expert acoustic consultants, we pride ourselves on offering professional services like no other.

Our dedicated and ambitious team has a wealth of knowledge and experience under their belt, having been operating within the industry for a number of years. You can rest assured that you’re in the safest hands when you choose Peninsular Acoustics for sound insulation testing.

Peninsular Acoustics, is a member of the Association of Noise Consultants (ANC) accredited sound insulation test scheme, with a number of registered consultants, to carry out sound insulation tests. The scheme audits and witnesses our consultants to ensure the highest standards for your sound insulation tests.

We offer both airborne and impact sound tests. Essentially, airborne sound tests measure the resistance to the passage of airborne noise through separating walls or separating floor structures, whereas impact tests measure the resistance to the passage of impact noise through floors using a device called a tapping machine.


Airborne Sound Insulation Tests

An airborne test at Peninsular Acoustics is conducted using a multidirectional loudspeaker. This method creates a steady airborne noise level across your source room. We then use a sound level metre to measure the different levels of sound between both the source room and the receiver room.

The source room is the room that we place the speaker in, and the receiver room is any room adjacent to it we test into. As part of the procedure, we are required to conduct background and reverberation time measurements in the receiver room.

Typically, the result of an airborne sound test will be calculated to a single number quantity. For example, in Building Regulations Document E 2003, this is DnT,w+Ctr.


Impact Sound Insulation Tests

We complete our impact sound insulation tests using a tapping machine. A tapping machine is a small machine that contains weights. The tapping machine is calibrated with the drop height of the weights regularly checked. We conduct impact tests by placing the tapping machine on the floor, allowing the weights to drop to the floor in the source room.

We can then go ahead and measure the sound level in the room below the tapping machine using a sound level metre. Similar to airborne sound insulation tests, we are required to perform background and reverberation time measurements in the receiver room.

Typically, the result of an impact sound test will be calculated to a single number quantity. For example, in Building Regulations Document E 2003 this is L’nT,w.


For Sound Insulation Testing, Contact Us in Birmingham, Liverpool and London

If you require a sound insulation test, we encourage you to reach out to us here at Peninsular Acoustics. We can recommend how many tests you might need and the cost of the testing process to achieve an accredited Sound Insulation Test Report.

If you need any additional information about our sound tests, you can reach out to a member of our team today. We’re more than happy to assist you.