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What is Sound Insulation Testing?

Sound Insulation Testing

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 2nd part, Lee discusses what sound insulation testing is and what should be tested.

What is Sound Insulation Testing?

Sound insulation testing is the method used to measure the reduction of sound between partitions (the wall and floor elements of a building) between the adjoining dwellings. It measures the effectiveness of the sound-proofing treatment constructed by the property developer on Residential buildings.

It is a regulatory requirement of all home nation Building Regulations for residential new-builds or existing buildings. This includes houses, flats, bungalows, hotel rooms, rooms for residential purposes and homes of multiple occupancy (HMO’s); that have been converted into dwellings, or existing residential buildings that are split into multiple dwellings (i.e., house converted into flats) that have adjoining partitioning walls and/or floors.

All tests carried out are tested by certified test engineers to a method described in BS EN ISO 140-4 & BS EN ISO 140-7, so that each test can be replicated and has traceability in a report that has stipulated, standardised requirements, as per the relevant building regulations.

How is a test carried out?

There are 2 types of tests, an airborne test and an impact test. All tests are carried out between the habitable rooms of the dwelling only, such as the living rooms, bedrooms, kitchen & dining areas.

What should be tested?

Testing should be carried out for:

  1. Purpose build dwelling-houses and flats (new dwelling buildings)
  2. Dwelling-houses & flats formed by material change of use (building converted into dwellings)
  3. Purpose built rooms for residential purposes (hotel rooms, HMO’s, care homes etc)
  4. Rooms for residential formed by material change of use (buildings converted in hotels, HMO’s care homes etc)

Note: Additional tests should be carried out for commercial areas connected to new dwellings and dwellings formed by material change of use (airborne tests are usually carried out from the commercial area unless otherwise instructed by the Building Control officer) Tests should also be carried out where a purpose-built dwelling(s) connects to an existing dwelling-house or flat or commercial property.

Do all homes have to be sound insulation tested?

Not all homes are subject to sound insulation testing. In all home nation building regulations requirements, a sample of plots are selected for testing. This does vary slightly for Scotland.

In our next part, we’ll look into what airborne and impact testing is!

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