Many new buildings require sound insulation testing such as blocks of flats, HMOs and semi-detached houses. These may be new build or conversion projects, such as an existing office which has been converted into flats.
There is lots of useful information within a section in Building Regulations called “Approved Document E” this document provides details on the building regulation in England and Wales for the resistance to the passage of sound and sound insulation for flats, houses and rooms for residential use.
How Many Flats need to be Sound Tested.
Approved Document E states “Building control bodies should stipulate at least one set of sound tests for every ten dwelling houses, flats or rooms for residential purposes in a group or sub-group” – but this is more complex than it seems at first glance, and is often wrongly interpreted as 10%. If the flats on the development have several different construction types, you may need more than the one set of tests in ten stated above.
For instance a group can be determined by the type of dwelling, so houses, bungalows, flats are all different and should be treated separately for the number of tests.
For instance of you have a pair of semi-detached houses and a block of 6 flats the development should require the following testing:
• 2 airborne wall tests to the semi-detached houses
• 2 airborne wall tests to the flats
• 2 airborne floor tests to the flats
• 2 impact floor tests to the flats
Sub groups can be quite complex and we advise letting us looking at each project individually to establish whether your project’s construction type means you’ll need additional testing. APT sound testing are always happy to take a look at your project on an individual basis to help ensure you are booking the correct number of tests to ensure compliance with Approved Document E.
What rooms require sound testing in my flats
Approved Document E also specifies which rooms need to be tested. Sound testing is required between living spaces, which usually includes:
• Living room
• Dining room
Although there is no requirement to test between common areas such as stairwells, corridors and hallways, if no suitable rooms are available then building control may insist that a test is carried out between a stairwell and bedroom and/or a bedroom and bathroom.