The tranquil face of framing

Noise is, according to many media reports, the bane of modern living. Its detrimental effects on health and well-being are well-documented, with increases in heart rate, blood pressure, fatigue, stress and even heart attacks and strokes being attributed to exposure to a lot of noise.

The control of noise in society is governed by various forms of legislation, including anti-social behaviour and noise Acts, underlining society’s concerns and governments’ determination to, at least, control noise and the nuisance it causes.

Within buildings, the control of noise concentrates on the passage of sound through walls, floors and stairs between or within different types of building. As with all areas of construction in the United Kingdom, Building Regulations provide guidelines on the performance requirements for the resistance to the passage of sound. These are, Approved Document E in England and Wales, Technical Handbook 5 in Scotland and Technical Booklet G in Northern Ireland, all of which, within reason, stipulate similar standards to be achieved.

The acoustic performance of a particular structure relies on the materials used in its construction and how it has been built. Testing is undertaken onsite, with walls, floors and stairs subjected to airborne noise testing, and floors and stairs subjected to additional impact sound tests.

Airborne sound tests are conducted to ascertain noise reduction from one room to another. Assessments are undertaken in accordance with BS EN 140 and BS EN 717. Typically, speakers are used to generate white noise of around 100 decibels in one room whilst a moving microphone technique is used to measure sound pressure levels in an adjacent room. The resulting data is used to calculate the difference between the source room and receiver room.

For flats, apartments and houses, the reduction should be at least 45 decibels (Measured on site at 45 DnTw+Ctr). Other residential buildings, such as hotels and student accommodation, have a slightly lower requirement of 43 decibels (Measured on site at 43 DnTw+Ctr).

Here at Metsec we keep in very close contact with the leading manufacturers of facing and infill materials to ensure that we provide solutions which meet, if not exceed, the necessary standards and deliver value for money.

As with our fire testing, Metsec has laboratory-tested with all three major manufacturers of plasterboard and market-leading sheathing boards at UKAS-accredited facilities, providing architects and clients with the ultimate assurance of performance.