Sound Insulation Testing

Sound Insulation Testing became mandatory in Building Regulations Approved Document E 2003, to ensure the separating floors and walls between dwelling houses and flats, achieved the required acoustic performance standards.

Peninsular Acoustics is a founder member of the Association of Noise Consultants test registration scheme since its inception in 2004, with vast experience in providing a professional sound insulation testing service.

As acoustic consultants we pride ourselves in having the knowledge and experience, to resolve any construction issues when sound tests fail from time to time. You will be in safe hands by instructing Peninsular Acoustics to conduct your sound insulation testing.


What is a Sound Insulation Test?

There are two main parts to a sound test:


Airborne Sound Insulation Test

The airborne test measures the resistance to passage of airborne sound through a separating floor or wall structure. It is conducted using a high-power multidirectional loudspeaker, creating a steady airborne noise level and diffuse field within the source room.

A microphone is then used to measure the difference in the level of sound between the source room (room with the speaker in it) and the receiver room (the room next to, below or above the source room).

Background and reverberation time measurements are also taken in the receiver room. The results are given in DnT,w + Ctr to relate to Building Regulations Document E 2003 performance standards.


Impact Sound Insulation Test

The impact test measures the resistance to the passage of impact noise, using a tapping machine, which is a small machine containing weights. Placed on the floor, these weights are then allowed to drop onto the floor in the source room (the room with the tapping machine in it).

The sound level is then measured using a microphone in the room below the tapping machine (receiver room). Background and reverberation time measurements are also taken in the receiver room. The results are given in LnT,w.


How Many Sound Tests Do I Need?

The number of sound insulation tests required is dependent on the number of dwellings on your development. Typically, you require 1No. set of tests per 10no. dwellings.

For example, for a development of 10no. houses, 1no. set of airborne sound tests is required which is 2no. separating wall tests for airborne sound.

For a development of 10no. flats, 1no. set of airborne tests is required which is 2no. separating wall tests for airborne sound, 2no. separating floor tests for both airborne and impact sound.

The provided examples assume that the separating floor and wall constructions do not vary across the development, which may lead to extra tests being required.


Is My Site Ready for a Sound Test?

Sound insulation testing typically takes place at a “pre-completion” stage. During pre-completion testing, we require access to both sides of the separating wall or floor we are testing.

For example, you would expect the following to be complete: All structures are complete, including the roof, internal, external & separating walls along with internal and separating floors. 2nd fix is complete for electrical and plumbing. All internal doors and external doors to dwellings are in place. Windows and trickle vents fitted Basically, the site is complete, apart from minor snagging and decoration.


Quiet Site Conditions for a Sound Test

The test area must be unoccupied, with no other trades working within the dwellings being tested. The test rooms ideally must be quiet.

High background noise levels can make testing difficult, from both internal and external sources, and the time of the test should be planned sensibly.

For example, there is no point conducting sound testing on dwellings when externally the ground workers are tarmacking the front drive or installing kerbs / paving slabs, as the noise from wacker plates and circular saws will cause interference with the measurement process.

Likewise, internal noise from joiners and other building trades within the dwellings should be avoided.


Peninsular Acoustics, is a member of the ANC-accredited sound insulation test scheme, with a number of registered consultants, to carry out sound insulation tests.

Tests should be undertaken by suitably qualified testers who hold approved third-party accreditation in accordance with Building Regulations Document E 2003. The Association of Noise Consultants test scheme and UKAS are the approved accredited schemes.

Each test is registered on the ANC database and comes with a unique task number and password. This, with an ANC sound insulation test report, allows the Building Control Officer to verify the test has been undertaken by a qualified tester, with results viewed on the web-based ANC ADvANCE portal.

The sound testing equipment is carefully monitored and checked regularly for consistency of measurements.


Our Sound Level Meters are UKAS calibrated:

  • in accordance with IEC 61672-3:2006
  • in accordance with IEC 61260:1996 for 1/3 octave filters
  • and for reverberation time

Our Tapping Machines and calibrators are also UKAS calibrated.

Sound Test Reports and Certificates are generated following the sound insulation testing and supplied to the client on completion.

Typically reports and certificates are normally available within 5 - 10 working days. However, if you are under a tight schedule, we can help and carry out a same-day / 24-hour service, subject to current workloads.

If you have a test failure we are here to help, with senior consultants on hand to provide desktop studies of the information available. They will provide guidance on the most likely causes of the failure, and the options on the methods available to achieve a pass test result.

In certain situations, the senior consultant may recommend a site visit is required, as for example there may not be enough information available to the consultant, or the situation may be complex in nature.

If a site survey is conducted some destructive work may be required to assess the situation, such as "opening up ceilings and walls". Site labour should always be on hand during the survey in order for the engineer to gain all the necessary information, and provide the best route forward.

Peninsular Acoustics sound insulation test buildings nationwide, in all major cities including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol, Leeds, Sheffield and surrounding areas.

Peninsular Acoustics are able to offer competitively priced sound insulation test quotations, with fast testing and report turnaround times available. Please get in touch for a quotation for your project.


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