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What Is a Sound Test and How Do You Pass?

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What Is a Sound Test and How Do You Pass?

sound test

According to the statistics, the number of homes to be built in London has doubled from that of last year.

If your building project is among these numbers, it is important that you know about sound tests.

According to regulations, sound tests need to be conducted and passed in order for new building projects to be approved by the board of building control. Without certification, your project could come to a grinding halt.

Read on to find out what is a sound test, as well as how to get one conducted and when to arrange one.

What Sound Tests Are

Sound tests are procedures carried out on new buildings and projects to ensure that developments yield adequate levels of noise attenuation performance.

These tests are carried out by independent acoustic consultation parties, such as ourselves. Upon completion of the test, if compliance levels are met, results are submitted to the building board.

If compliance is not met, adjustments and modifications to the insulation of the building in question will need to be carried out to ensure compliance with the minimum noise attenuation requirements as per Part E of the Building Regulations for England and Wales

The Importance of Sound Tests

All new dwellings and residential conversions that create adjoining dwellings require soundproof testing. Without a sound test certificate, the final building will need to be approved and the project can not be legally completed.

How Sound Testing Works

During a sound test, the acoustics team will carry out two types of attenuation tests. These are airborne noise tests and impact noise tests.

Airborne noise generally consists of things like conversation, and television and radio sounds. Impact noise refers to the sound that comes from the impact of footsteps on the floors.

The team will set up sound testing equipment to generate airborne and impact noise and then measure this on the other side of any dividing structure between dwellings such as walls, ceilings, and floors.

The size of the structure will determine how many individual tests need to be carried out. A small to medium-sized construction will generally require roughly 2 impact floor tests, 2 airborne floor tests, and 2 airborne wall tests.

When to Get a Sound Test

Noise tests should be carried out as early as possible during the building phase. If minimum noise attenuation levels are not met during the test, changes can be made to insulation measures with less difficulty and expense that if these were to be carried out after the construction is fully completed.

For example, if modifications need to be made in a fully completed set of housing units, components in kitchen and bathrooms areas will likely need to be removed, as well as carpeting, flooring, and wall panels. This can incur unnecessary and exorbitant costs for a project.

However, at the same time, buildings also cannot be tested too early.

To increase the chances of passing the sound test, the following components of the project need to be completed:

  • Walls, floors, and ceilings (including plastering)
  • Internal doors should be hung
  • Windows and external doors hung and glazed
  • Ventilation systems installed
  • Light switches and electrical plug outlets should be in place
  • Skirting boards should be installed
  • Any gaps in floors or ceilings should be fully sealed

While these elements should be in place, there are also a few things that should only be installed after sound testing has taken place. These are:

  • Cosmetic floor coverings
  • Kitchen units
  • Bathroom units
  • Built-in cupboards and wall units

As you can see, it is quite critical to time your noise test for the optimum stage in construction. Therefore, it is a good idea to book the test well in advance. Once you have booked a test, you can liaise with your acoustic testing service for an exact date closer to the time to ensure that you test at an optimum stage in construction.

How to Get a Sound Test Done

Sound tests are relatively simple processes, however, you will need to prepare the building beforehand for the sound testing team.

In order to gain accurate results, you will need to ensure that the following takes place:

  • Make sure that all windows and doors are sealed
  • Close all ventilation system openings
  • Have all rooms that are to best tested cleaned and tidied (optimally there should not be anything in the rooms)
  • 240v (50Hz) mains power is available in all areas to be tested

Additionally, you also need to make sure that testers can gain access to all rooms. Outside noise should be kept to a minimum so as not to influence test results.

Also, no work can be carried out on the site while the testing is taking place.

Do You Need a Sound Test for Your Building Project?

Soundproof testing is required for the construction of all new dwellings as well as for any construction that modifies a freestanding (previously single) dwelling for multiple living uses. It is also required when converting previously commercial space into dwellings, such as offices into flats.

As well as these types of construction, you might also want to look at sound testing if you are planning proposals for new gyms, restaurants, bars or nightclubs, and industrial and dyno-tuning complexes. These types of establishments all generate heightened levels of noise.

If you need to book a sound test for a project in or around London, do not hesitate to contact us and we can discuss your project timeline. Not only do we offer sound tests, but we are also building regulations Part L specialists, and can assist with a range of test services, for both residential and commercial needs.

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