The Building Regulations state: ‘…Test bodies conducting testing should preferably have UKAS accreditation (or European equivalent) for field measurements. The DLHC (Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities) regards members of the ANC Registration Scheme as suitably qualified to carry out pre-completion testing.’ All acting Environoise consultants are accredited to do sound insulation testing under the ANC accreditation scheme. You can be confident with Environoise that pre-completion testing is done by a competent consultant whose testing, assessment and reporting is audited whilst sound insulation testing cost is kept to a minimum. Consequently, Building Control should automatically accept test reports. To achieve BREEAM credits where sought, a greater number of acoustic tests may be required and enhanced sound insulation target dependent on the number of credits sought.
External Noise Ingress Acoustic Tests
We advise on façade design including glazing and ventilation for residential developments and review noise levels in garden and balcony areas so that the amenity of residents is protected.
An acceptable internal noise level might be derived from BS 8233, Local Authority or a target from World Health Organisation Guidelines (WHO).
Ventilation and AVOG
Purge ventilation and noise can be considered under Part F of The Building Regulations. Other ventilation strategies are explored whilst meeting noise targets using the ANC Acoustics, Ventilation and Overheating Guidance known as AVOG.
Approved Document O
The Building Regulations 2010: Approved Document O ‘Overheating’ (ADO) was introduced to protect occupants of new residential buildings from the frequent occurrence of high indoor temperatures whilst providing adequate ventilation. The controlling of overheating within buildings requires interdisciplinary work within acoustics, thermal, air quality and architecture for a practicable solution.
ADO provides a ‘simple method’ of assessment whereby a building’s risk of overheating is categorised as either ‘moderate risk’ or ‘high risk’ depending on noise environment. The ‘simple method’ can be used to demonstrate compliance if the noise reduction provided by an opened window is greater than the differential between the external noise level and overheating noise criteria.
The ‘simple method’ may not be suitable for high external noise levels and then dynamic thermal modelling should be done by the project M&E consultant.
Building Services Acoustic Tests
Noise from services in mechanically ventilated buildings should not just provide adequate air flow, air quality and temperature but also be of low noise level. Internal building services noise is often compared with a CIBSE-based design target. Our acoustic tests service includes measurement and reporting of building services noise whether from background ventilation or comfort cooling.
Reverberation Time Tests
Rooms such as classrooms, offices, conference centres, cinemas, theatres and auditoriums require a specific reverberation target for appropriate room acoustics, we advise on how such targets can be achieved and we can commission the building before completion.
Frequently Asked Questions
Firstly, if you approach other acoustic consultancies make sure tests are either UKAS or ANC accredited so you know that the company is qualified and recognised to do the tests. The fee will depend on the number of sets of tests required which we can calculate on your behalf. We also offer guidance on the necessary tests and will request layout plans to assist in this process.
Here’s a comprehensive site checklist along with our quotations, which you can access on our site Acoustics test checklist. The key considerations include:
• ensuring all walls and floors are complete with windows and doors installed,
• each room has a 240v electrical supply to avoid the use of extension cables.
• If applicable resilient layers should be installed.
• Quiet conditions for the duration of the tests.
The on-site sound insulation performance can vary due to many factors. Constructions not built to specification or poor detailing are common reasons for failures. An early construction review and site inspections can be a good way to reduce risk at the pre-completion stage. It is worth remembering that the sound insulation testing cost can more than double should you have any failures.
The duration of testing depends on the good site conditions i.e. good lighting, power in all rooms, free access and quiet conditions. Generally, each sound insulation test takes around twenty minutes.