Sound insulation testing is a legal requirement to comply with:
- Building Regulations of the relevant country (Residential):
- England and Wales: Approved Document E for new and converted houses, flats, hotels and hostels, with the exception of new property built according to Robust Details and with the appropriate licence fee paid.
- Scotland: Section 5 of the Building Standards Technical Handbook 2016
- Domestic for new and converted houses and flats, with the exception of new property built according to Robust Details and with the appropriate licence fee paid;
- Non-domestic for hotels, hostels and other non-domestic buildings.
- Northern Ireland: Technical Booklet G for new and converted houses, flats, hotels and hostels, with the exception of new property built according to Robust Details and with the appropriate licence fee paid.
- Ireland: Technical Guidelines Document E Sound for new and converted houses and flats.
- BB93: Building Bulletin 93 Acoustic Design of Schools (Education);
- HTM08-01: Health Technical Memorandum 08:01 (Healthcare).
Types of sound insulation
During a sound insulation test, 2 types of sound insulation are tested:
- Airborne sound insulation which is the reduction in noise level from one space (the Source room) to the adjacent space (the Receive room);
- Impact sound insulation which is the reduction of noise caused by direct contact with the upper surface of the separating floor; the sound level is measured in the Receive room below only.
Only walls and floors that separate individual properties need to be tested. Internal walls and floors within each individual property do not need testing. Walls are tested for airborne sound insulation; floors are tested for both airborne and impact noise.
Number of sound insulation tests required
The number of sound insulation tests typically needed varies from country to country:
- In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, where the construction is the same, only one set of tests is normally needed for every 10 dwellings. Each set of tests typically includes 2 locations between habitable rooms. Tests cannot be carried out to or from stairwells or corridors.
- In Scotland there are separate rates of testing for new build and conversions of non-traditional buildings, and for conversions of traditional buildings. The minimum rate of testing is 2 tests of walls or floors for an individual pair of dwellings, and then more depending on the type of dwelling/construction.
- In Ireland there are separate rates of testing for the Guideline's example constructions and ASDs (previously assessed sound details), and for 'other constructions'. For ASDs and example constructions, 1 set of tests is required for up to 4 dwellings; for 4+ dwellings, the number of tests required depends on the actual number of dwellings. For 'other constructions', 1 set of tests is required for each dwelling up to 4 dwellings; for 4+ dwellings, the number of test sets increases based on the number of dwellings.
Our acoustic consultants can help you determine the actual rate of testing required and confirm this with the relevant Local Authority on your behalf. Additional testing may also be required in the event of a test failure.
Sound insulation test values
Slightly different test values need to be met depending on:
- The purpose of the residential dwelling eg a house, hotel, hostel or hall of residence
- Any quality standards set by the client themselves.
Who can carry out a sound insulation test?
In the UK, sound insulation testers must be registered with either the Association of Noise Consultants (ANC) or UKAS, the only two approved sound insulation testing authorities recognised by the Government.
Adnitt Acoustics is an ANC Registered Testing Organisation for Part E sound insulation testing in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and all our acoustic technicians are registered to carry out sound insulation tests through the Association of Noise Consultants (ANC) registration scheme for residential, schools, universities and hospital projects, including BREEAM testing.
In Ireland, the equivalent scheme is SITRI, the Sound Insulation Testing Register (Ireland) which is a certification scheme developed by the Association of Noise Consultants (ANC) and the Institute of Acoustics (IOA). Adnitt Acoustics is working towards registration under this scheme.
Do you have noisy neighbours?
If you have noisy neighbours, you need to contact your local council and find out what your options are. We are rarely able to assist in such matters.