Sound testing is a necessary test for different kinds of building projects, and it can help assess how noisy a place is or whether or not you require soundproofing so you can pass Part E of the Building Regulations in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Soundproof testing or acoustic testing, as it is also known, is also necessary if you would like to manage noise in places or areas which generate or produce vibration, especially those that go above normal airborne noise levels, such as industrial facilities or factories.
The test also covers the concept of reverberation, which measures how sound ‘decays’ in a particular room. This test is essential if you would like to meet unique guidelines for the Builders Bulletin 93 or BB93, particularly if you are in the education industry, or if you would like to comply with the guidelines for your workplace or a performance facility or venue such as a concert hall. So what else should you know about soundproof testing, and why do you need it for your project? Here are the basics.
What it is – and how it is done
As mentioned, sound testing will measure the airborne or the impact noise that comes through partitions, and these partitions can consist of walls, ceilings, or floors. There will be various requirements for each partition as well. Your project or structure will have to comply with Part E of the Building Regulations. The regulations were established to protect residents from the transmission of too much noise between different dwellings, and it applies to new builds with one residence next to another as well as conversions where a place has been converted from a single to a multiple dwelling.
The kinds of soundproof testing:
When undergoing airborne testing, it needs to be accredited with UKAS and follow ISO 16283 standards, as confirmed by sound testing specialists like TheBuildingComplianceTeam.com. The devices used for testing and calibration should operate without any fluctuation, and whatever equipment is used should be set at a particular level following these standards so the test can go smoothly and fairly.
With airborne testing, a ‘sound level meter’ is used, and it can gather background noise levels in a room and take externally-produced noise into account as well, such as traffic from the road. A speaker is set up in the ‘transmitting’ room, which is usually on the partition’s other side, and its output is measured in the ‘receiving’ room, which is on the other side. The reverberation level is measured first, which takes note of the reflectiveness as well as decay time of noise – how much time it takes for noise to roll off.
For impact testing, the same sound level meter is also used, but a tapping machine is added and set up in a room on an upper level or storey; this applies pressure at chosen timings of the dropping of the hammer. As with airborne testing, the reverberation level is measured, and the sound level meter is used to check the levels of sound transmission on impact.
The final results will take note of an average level from between 50hz to 5khz, and this can cover low to middle to high-frequency selections that may be a cause for concern.