Sound Insulation Testing (also referred to as pre-completion testing) is a property sound test required under Part E of the Building Regulations. A Part E acoustic test measures the sound insulation properties of partitions (floors and walls) that have an adjoining habitable space to each side. Full details for the impact and airborne noise requirements can be found in Approved Document E.
For properties designed and built under the Robust Detail scheme, additional sound insulation testing is not required.

Undertaking sound insulation testing

For new build developments 1 building in 10 are tested to ensure they are sufficiently robust to provide the required levels of performance for both airborne and impact noise to all partitions within the dwelling. A partition can comprise of a floor and ceiling, or a wall that separates habitable spaces (this is especially important in multi-occupancy dwellings such as flats or apartments). 
 Floors are tested both for airborne and impact noise, whereas walls are only tested for airborne noise. 
Sound Insulation Testing is also required for conversions and refurbishments – contact us for more details.

Basic elements for a Part E Acoustic Test

Airborne Noise – Floors
A noise source is placed in one room (generally on the lower floor) and a sound meter is placed in the room directly above.  The measured noise levels are used to assess how well the floor performs.

Airborne Noise – Walls
Are treated in the same way as floors with the exception that the noise source and sound meter are placed in adjoining rooms.

Impact Noise – Floors only
A ‘tapping machine’ is placed on an upper floor.  The sound meter is placed in a room directly below.  Weights on the tapping machine are calibrated to a precise  weight, speed and fall rate and the base line noise level generated is therefore a known variable.  The measured noise levels are then assessed and  performance levels recorded.  

Sound Insulation Testing | Part E Acoustic Test

Performance requirements for sound insulation testing

All Sound Insulation Testing is carried out to ISO 140-4 and ISO 140-7  to comply with Building Regulations.  The target levels required as per  Approved Document E: Resistance to Sound are shown in the tables below.

Table 0.1a: Dwelling-houses and flats - performance standards for separating walls, separating floors, and stairs that have a separating function
Airborne sound insulation
Sound Insulation
DnTw + Ctr dB
(Minimum Values)
Impact
Sound Insulation
L'nTw dB
(Maximum Values)
Purpose built dwelling-houses and flats
Walls45-
Floors and Stairs4562
Dwelling-houses and Flats
Formed by material change of use
Walls43-
Floors and Stairs4364
Table 0.1b: Rooms for residential purposes - performance standards for separating walls, separating floors, and stairs that have a separating function
Airborne sound insulation
sound insulation
DnTw + Ctr dB
(Minimum Values)
Impact
sound insulation
L'nTw dB
(Maximum Values)
Purpose built rooms for residential purposes
Walls43-
Floors and stairs4562
Rooms for residential purposes
formed by material change of use
Walls43-
Floors and stairs4364

Please note that Airborne values show minimum target levels.  When designing structures it is advisable to add partitions that will exceed these.  Impact noise is the reverse and the values shown are the maximum permissible levels allowed. As with airborne noise you should always aim to exceed minimum requirements during the design process.

Require a Sound insulation Test?

For information or to book a Sound Insulation Test.