What is Sound Insulation Testing? – Failed Tests

In our new 5 part series, Lee Thompson goes through the details of SITMA, Sound Insulation Testing and what to do if a test fails. In our final part, Lee discusses what should happen in the event of a failed test?

Failed Tests – What should happen in the event of failed tests

Failed tests are an unfortunate but a reality of testing. As much as we don’t like to see them or give the news of failed tests; they are the very reason we conduct testing.

 We must always be mindful that any test(s) that fails to meet the building regulation requirements (or if they are marginally passing or even if they are comfortably passing) has a real-life negative impact on the homeowner / occupant of the property.

The role of the tester is to ensure that the building is tested accurately, in accordance with the latest test standards and is reported correctly and transparently. This includes the reporting of ALL failed tests and further dialog to make sure that no property loses the opportunity to be sufficiently sound insulated. The value of this must not be underestimated.

In the event of failed test, the report must be issued. The report must NEVER be divided or split into a passed test report and a failed test report. This is often a request from the developer/client (sometimes innocently and other times not!) as the failed test report will never be issued to the building control body and therefore numerous sound insulation issues will go unaccounted for.

The failed tests; whether its floors or walls; must have remedial works carried out on them and then sound insulation tests must be carried out again. This is logical to everyone. However, if this is a sample of testing on the building; where many of the walls and floors have not had or required a test initially; raises questions over the untested wall and floors that share the same separating detail(s).

ADE States: “A Failed set of tests raises questions over properties between which test have not been carried out.”

Communication is essential between the tester, building control body and the developer/ client to the extent of how many tests have failed any how many further tests are required.

For example, if it was a large block of apartments and 100% of the wall and floors failed; then probably 100% of the untested walls and floors should be tested. Or the building control body could deem this enough evidence that no further testing is required, and full remedial works is to be carried out and 100% is re-tested after completions on remedial treatment.

If it was just the walls that failed 100%; then100% of all the walls must be tested and remedial works is carried and re-tested.

If it was 50% of the tests that had failed, then the building control officer may require just few additional tests or sets of tests to be carried out to assess the extent of the issue on the building.

 Or perhaps it is just 1 wall or floor out of 10 tests that failed then this would change the dialog and would probably be assessed (looking into the detail and construction) as a one off and no additional testing may be required and it is decided that just the singular failed wall or floor require remedial treatment and re-testing.

It all depends on the number of plots and separating walls/floors of the building and the amount or percentage of tests that have failed the testing. Every building and situation are different. The important point is to make sure that this is raised, and dialog is recorded.

 If there are any noise complaint from the occupier in the future, there is likely to be an investigation to where and how the building/ house/ apartment was allowed to be signed off in relation to the building regs and who would be to blame for the oversight. As a tester you would do not to be questioned over your integrity or quality of your work. This can be avoided by written and recorded communication between all parties. More importantly we have a duty to make sure these buildings and separating walls and floors are built and tested to; at very least; the minimum standards set in the building regulations.

In the event of failed test, the report must be issued. The report must NEVER be divided or split into a passed test report and a failed test report. This is often a request from the developer/client (sometimes innocently and other times not!) as the failed test report will never be issued to the building control body and therefore numerous sound insulation issues will go unaccounted for.

The failed tests; whether its floors or walls; must have remedial works carried out on them and then sound insulation tests must be carried out again. This is logical to everyone. However, if this is a sample of testing on the building; where many of the walls and floors have not had or required a test initially; raises questions over the untested wall and floors that share the same separating detail(s).

ADE States: “A Failed set of tests raises questions over properties between which test have not been carried out.”

Communication is essential between the tester, building control body and the developer/ client to the extent of how many tests have failed any how many further tests are required.

For example, if it was a large block of apartments and 100% of the wall and floors failed; then probably 100% of the untested walls and floors should be tested. Or the building control body could deem this enough evidence that no further testing is required, and full remedial works is to be carried out and 100% is re-tested after completions on remedial treatment.

If it was just the walls that failed 100%; then100% of all the walls must be tested and remedial works is carried and re-tested.

If it was 50% of the tests that had failed, then the building control officer may require just few additional tests or sets of tests to be carried out to assess the extent of the issue on the building.

 Or perhaps it is just 1 wall or floor out of 10 tests that failed then this would change the dialog and would probably be assessed (looking into the detail and construction) as a one off and no additional testing may be required and it is decided that just the singular failed wall or floor require remedial treatment and re-testing.

It all depends on the number of plots and separating walls/floors of the building and the amount or percentage of tests that have failed the testing. Every building and situation are different. The important point is to make sure that this is raised, and dialog is recorded.

 If there are any noise complaint from the occupier in the future, there is likely to be an investigation to where and how the building/ house/ apartment was allowed to be signed off in relation to the building regs and who would be to blame for the oversight. As a tester you would do not to be questioned over your integrity or quality of your work. This can be avoided by written and recorded communication between all parties. More importantly we have a duty to make sure these buildings and separating walls and floors are built and tested to; at very least; the minimum standards set in the building regulations.

If you have any questions or need some guidance from SITMA please do not hesitate to contact us. We can always help, advise, and guide.

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