Sound Testing

Sound Testing

Sound Testing Ireland provides accredited sound testing as required by part E of the Building Regulations for all types of residential buildings.
The Department of the Environment Community & Local Government published new Building Regulations pertaining to sound testing in December 2014. An updated and enhanced Technical Document E Sound followed in January 2015. The key aspects of the new guidance may be summarized as follows:
For the first time in Ireland, minimum standards of sound testing performance have been used to define reasonable resistance to sound;
Reverberation in common internal parts of buildings has been introduced as an issue requiring consideration; and
Mandatory pre-completion testing is required in order to demonstrate compliance with the requirements of the Regulations.
The Department expressed a desire to see the establishment of an industry led scheme that would provide the necessary certification, which led to the creation of SITRI.

Sound testing procedure

Sound testing procedure is quite simple and our engineer will be happy to explain this on site. Essentially  for party walls there is one type of sound insulation test which is airborne sound test and for compartment floors there are two types of sound insulation tests which are airborne and impact sound insulation tests. The airborne sound insulation test is carried out by means of a loudspeaker emitting a steady source of noise on one side of the partition (wall or floor) to be measured. The corresponding sound level is measured on the other side of the partition. Impact sound insulation tests are carried out by means of a tapping machine placed on the floor sample to be measured and the noise measured in the room or space below. Calculations are done based on these measurement and the above mentioned parameters are calculated and compared to the Building Regulations Part E sound insulation requirements for the given type of the building. It is important that the building to be sound tested is completely finished and sealed with no sound leakage through doors and windows.

Check List for Sound Testing

The measurements we take are very sensitive to noise such as someone talking in an adjacent room, hammering, grinding, walking up and down stairs, use of a compressor / generator or other external groundwork equipment. Such noises can adversely affect the test results. It is important that all trades should be suspended for the duration of the testing (about 2 to 3 hours for a typical set of tests), or workmen sent to another part of the site where their work will not affect the test area. We can carry out sound testing out of normal weekday working hours or over a weekend. There will be an additional cost for this.

Completion
Rooms should be available in pairs, either vertically (separated by the party floor) or horizontally (separated by the party wall) and should be complete but unfurnished.
· Wall and ceiling surfaces must be complete and skimmed
· Skirting boards, architraves and covings fitted
· Kitchen units in place
· Electrical sockets, light fittings and switches in place
· Windows in place and fully closeable with fully working trickle vents
· Internal doors in place and fully closeable
· External doors to flats and houses must also be fitted
We will require power on site to carry out sound testing. If power is not available, please make this known to us at the time of booking the tests.

Floor finishes
Carpets and laminates should not be fitted as impact testing should take place on the bare floor i.e. directly on the surface of the chipboard floating floor or on the surface of the concrete floating screed with the exception of “Type 1″ floor which is a concrete floor with a soft covering. If a proprietary ‘acoustic underlay’ is used as an impact layer on a timber floor, then this can be left in place and we will test using a piece of MDF or plywood under the tapping machine. If a laminate or timber floor finish is to be supplied by the builder/developer, then impact testing should be carried out on a sample of the floor finish, at least 1 square meter.

Access and preparation
We will use our discretion to select rooms for testing unless specific arrangements have been made with the building control officer. Therefore, there must be reasonable and safe access to all parts of the building to be tested. Rooms should be cleared of all building materials, tools etc. and the floors swept clean. Staircases and corridors must be free of obstructions and trip hazards.

Plans and other details
To prepare a full report, we will need plans of the building showing the room layouts and flat or plot numbers. We will need full details of the floor construction, the ceiling construction and wall construction, including densities of plasterboard and concrete etc. We will require the full names and addresses of the client, the builder/developer and the principal contractor.

Safety
Our test engineers will attend site in their own safety equipment (PPE) i.e. ear defenders, hard hat, safety shoes and high-visibility vest or coat and will comply with all site safety requirements. Any other persons wishing to be present during testing should provide their own safety equipment as listed above.

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