and Architectural Acoustics ENShas
been involved in building and architectural projects at all stages
of development, from the specification of the external building envelope
and internal separating elements, through to pre-completion testing.
Our advice has been sought for different types of new build, refurbished
and converted developments including residential, commercial, entertainment,
leisure and hotels, in addition to a wide variety of mixed-use developments.
In July 2003, the new Approved
Document E ‘Resistance to the Passage of Sound’
(ADE 2003) of the Building Regulations came into force.
This requires that new residential
properties and rooms for residential purposes be tested (known
as pre-completion testing) to demonstrate compliance with the
explicit sound insulation performance requirements of ADE 2003.
Guidance in ADE 2003 on pre-completion
testing indicates that tests should be carried out at a rate
of one set of tests of each construction sub-group completed,
whatever the size of the development and thereafter at least
one set of tests every ten completions (assuming no failures).
The onus is on the developer
to perform pre-completion testing before the property can be
“released to market” and it is now an offence not
to perform pre-completion testing.
In 2004 the Government allowed Robust Standard
Details (RSDs) to be used as an alternative to pre-completion
testing for demonstrating compliance with the sound insulation
performance requirements of ADE 2003 for new dwelling houses
The RSD scheme provides builders of new properties
with material and construction specifications that, provided
construction guidelines are followed and quality of workmanship
is adhered to, should provide a level of sound insulation compliant
with ADE 2003 (RSD structures typically achieve a higher performance
specification than that required by ADE 2003).
It should be noted that the use of RSDs as
an alternative to pre-completion testing is not applicable to
dwelling houses or flats formed by a material change of use
(i.e. conversions) or rooms for residential purposes (hotels,
cluster flats, etc).
We often advise property developers,
contractors, housing associations and local authorities on the
implications of ADE 2003.
Advice is given on the materials
and construction details for separating floors and walls and
the key interfaces with other building elements.
We also offer advice on the
additional requirements of ADE 2003 including the control of
reverberation in common areas and the performance of internal
walls and floors.
We are also advising a number
of clients on the practical application of RSDs as in some instances
the option for construction are potentially reduced and construction
costs may be significantly higher than those of a non-RSD structure.
In summary our scope of services with respect to
building and architectural acoustics includes:
Material and construction specification of walls and floors and
interfaces (junction details).
Control of reverberation in common areas of buildings.
Inspection of site works to ensure compliance with specification.
Sound insulation testing of separating walls and floors.
Design of remedial works to improve existing sound insulation.
Assessment and control of flanking sound transmission.
Examples of recent commissions
in the building and architectural acoustics sector have included:
Design of separating floors and walls in the conversion of
a listed building in Leeds to apartments with a ground floor
bar and restaurant.
Complex building envelope and separating wall and floor design
for the conversion of a former office block to apartments in
On going programme of pre-completion
testing for a major property developer to assess the compliance
of their preferred standard floor construction with the sound
insulation performance requirements of ADE 2003.