Sound Insulation Testing – your questions answered

sound insulation testing

Sound insulation testing is a required test for all new dwellings and developments in order to comply with Part E of building regulations. There are two types of tests, airborne sound test and impact test.

Below, we answer the most frequently asked questions about sound insulation testing, why the tests are needed and how the tests are done.

Get in touch with our team of UKAS accredited experts today on 01403 253439 if you’d like to book in a sound insulation test for your new build properties or development.

What is sound insulation testing?

Sound insulation testing checks the resistance provided by the part of the building (the floor or walls) which separates different buildings **homes/properties/dwellings** from each other to the passage of sound.

Essentially, it tests to see how much noise is generated through everyday use of the house and whether this is compliant with building regulations.

Airborne sound insulation tests look at noise generated through the air, such as conversations in a home.

Impact sound insulation tests look at noise generated through impact on a surface, such as walking on the floors.

If a building passes the sound insulation test, this means it produces suitable levels of noise that won’t disturb other dwellings and will provide comfortable living conditions for the surrounding homes.

Why are the tests needed?

Building Regulations Document E requires that any new homes or dwellings that are joined to another building, or part of the same building which is not exclusively used by the same occupants (e.g. semi-detached or terraced houses and flats), has the sound insulation performance of the separating walls and floors checked. This is to ensure the homes have been built to a standard which gives reasonable conditions for living without excessive noise transfer between dwellings.

Sound insulation testing may also be needed in some commercial premises. It can be required in schools, for example, to ensure rooms such as classrooms are protected from noisier areas by adequate sound insulation.

Tests on sound insulation can also be carried out if there have been noise complaints in existing properties to assess if the property has been constructed properly and meets building regulations.

Does the testing have to be carried out?

Sound insulation testing has been mandatory for certain property types since 1st July 2003 and for new build developments since 1 July 2004. It is not required for detached properties or for internal floors and walls within a single property.

In order to be compliant with Part E of the Building Regulations, sound insulation testing must be undertaken in order for the property to be sold or rented out once completed. It’s advisable that you contact a qualified sound insulation testing company before you start your development project in order to ensure all materials and plans are compliant from the very beginning stages of your project.

Does the new homes development need to be completed?

For sound insulation testing on new build properties, the homes don’t need to be completely finished in order for the sound tests to be undertaken. The minimum requirements for sound insulation testing are that the property should be at least at the second fix stage. This includes:

  • internal doors and windows should have been fitted and working
  • walls, floors and ceilings have to be completed
  • rooms that need to be tested should be completely empty and clear of mess
  • any ventilation systems must be installed
  • light switches and electrical sockets should be fitted

Sound testing of all new buildings requires a minimum of a 10% sample of the properties to be tested in order to pass the sound insulation tests.

How do you do sound insulation testing?

There are two types of sounds to be tested during sound testing, airborne sound and impact sound levels. These sounds are tested differently through a range of wall tests and floor tests.

Airborne sound is noise such as talking or music which travels through the air. Tests are completed by generating a controlled noise on one side of the wall or floor. This sound is measured and it is also measured using a sound level meter on the other side to establish how much noise is transmitted through.

Impact sound is made by something hitting the wall or floor and the noise transmitting through it. The impact test for this sound uses a tapping machine to simulate footfall noise on the floor which is then measured by a sound level meter in the home below.
Once the sound testing is complete, calculations are then made as to the sound pressure level between the walls and floors and the property will receive a pass or fail of the tests.

What do you need to do the sound test?

In addition to access to the property, we need to generate quite loud noises to carry out the sound testing so you should warn people about this in advance. Although we are working with noise, testing sound insulation actually requires the area being tested to be quiet so we can accurately measure the noise level of the test.

Here at Falcon Energy, we are very experienced in carrying out sound insulation testing and are UKAS certified testers so we can do the sound test quickly and efficiently with minimum disruption to you. This ensures you have little downtime and your construction schedule is not impacted by the test.

How do I know what tests I need?

The sound insulation tests you require depend on the number of dwellings, the separating party walls and floors and the layout of the build. Don’t worry though as you’re in safe hands, our experienced and qualified UKAS testers can determine the quantity of tests needed for your property and we will work to keep within your deadlines and costs.

If you have any questions about whether your development needs any sound tests, or any other types of testing such as air tightness testing, then get in touch with our team today. We’d be happy to discuss your requirements with you and provide you advice for your project.

Book sound insulation tests today

If you need sound insulation testing for your current project, please call our team on 01403 253439 or email We can provide you with expert advice and are happy to offer a free, no obligation quote.

Posted in Sound Insulation Testing, Energy.