BM TRADA Certification Ltd

BM TRADA Certification Ltd

Acoustic Testing of Buildings


UKAS accredited, site-based sound insulation and acoustic testing. Nationwide service for flats, houses, rooms for residential purposes, schools and other industrial buildings.

We undertake acoustic testing (sound testing) to the British Standards; BS EN ISO 140-4 and BS EN ISO 140-7.

  • BS EN ISO 140-4 is the measurement of sound insulation of separating walls and floors between rooms. The sound test simulates a wide range of noises experienced within a dwelling e.g. TV, conversation, a washing machine etc.

  • BS EN ISO 140-7 tests the impact sound insulation of separating floors to simulate footfall.

We can also offer further acoustic testing services to specialised standards including:

  • Building Bulletin 93 Acoustic (BB93). Requirements for existing and new schools are assessed using Building Bulletin 93 for educational buildings.

  • Health Technical Memorandum 08-01 (Healthcare premises). This standard sets out the recommended acoustic criteria for the design and management of new healthcare facilities.

To purchase copies of either of the BSI standards follow the links below:

It is important to consider both acoustics and air permeability when detailing builidng envelopes. At BM TRADA we also provide UKAS registered air tightness testing of all building types to both Approved Document L1 and L2. As experts in both sound and energy we can help you achieve improved performance in sound and air leakage while limiting costs and points of contact.

Sound testing, also referred to as acoustic testing, is the measurement of how much sound is stopped by separating walls or floors between dwellings and rooms such as classrooms, hotel rooms, student residences and offices. By making a controlled noise on one side of the separating wall or floor and measuring how much sound is being received on the other side, we can tell how much sound is stopped by the structure.

In England and Wales, Approved Document E of the Building Regulations requires new buildings and conversions to demonstrate reasonable levels of airborne and impact sound insulation performance between separating walls and floors. 

There are two ways of complying with the sound insulation requirements that are contained with Approved Document E which are:

  • Build to Robust Details, which is a set of specific design details that have previously been tested to show compliance.


  • Conduct on-site pre-completion sound testing. This is where sound testing is performed on site prior to the building being completed and signed off by Building Control. The testing does not need to encompass all of the buildings but must be representative of the units contained within the building project.

Pre-completion sound testing is often the preferred method as it allows greater flexibility in design details which may be less limiting, more cost-effective and achieve improved sound insulation performance.

Sound testing can be done in compartments as soon as a number of plots are completed past second fix stage. All internal doors need to be hung and all windows fitted and closable. It is important that carpets are not laid for tests that need to take place through the floor.

BS EN ISO 140-4: 1998 and BS EN ISO 140-7: 1998 describe the procedures for conducting airborne and impact sound insulation testing.

Airborne sound testing (BS EN ISO 140-4: 1998)

To test the airborne sound insulation performance of a wall or floor, a sound source is set up on one side of the wall or floor being tested. The sound source consists of an amplifier and a loud speaker which produces pink noise. Pink noise (similar to white noise) is used because it is made up of all sound frequencies, giving an indication of performance for a wide range of sounds that may be experienced within a dwelling, e.g. TV, conversation, washing machine, vacuuming, etc.

This pink noise is then measured on both sides of the wall or floor being tested. The difference between the two levels recorded is the amount of sound stopped by the wall or floor. The result is then corrected and adjusted depending on the reverberation time of the rooms (the time taken for sound to decay by 60dB), and any background noise, to give the airborne sound insulation result.

Impact sound testing (BS EN ISO 140-7:1998)

To test the impact sound transmission performance of a floor, a tapping machine which simulates footfall, is placed on the floor. The resultant noise in the room below is measured with a sound level meter and the amount of noise that passes through the floor is the impact sound transmission level. This result is then corrected and adjusted depending on the reverberation time of the rooms (the time taken for sound to decay by 60dB), and any background noise to give the impact sound transmission result.

The results of airborne sound insulation and impact sound transmission are compared to the performance criteria stipulated in Apporved Document E (ADE) of the Building Regulations. It is the performance criteria within the Approved Document E that determines whether a building passes or fails.

These two tests are compared to the performance criteria of Approved Document E and a pass or fail certificate is produced, (see tables 1 and 2).

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