Acoustic performance

Good sound insulation by walls and floors is easily achieved using the inherent mass and damping qualities of concrete. The need for additional finishes is minimal, thereby reducing capital and ongoing maintenance costs.

Noise control in buildings for residential use in England and Wales is regulated using Approved Document E. This Building Regulation now applies to any kind of building used as a dwelling, including houses and apartments; and rooms for residential purposes, such as students and nurses accommodation, nursing homes and hotels. It also applies to dwellings that have been created as a result of a conversion or material change of use.

The aim of the regulation is to protect residents from the noise of activities in other rooms or adjoining properties. This has been highlighted as a major cause of tension between residents. The acoustic requirements are shown  in tables 1.1a & 1.1b.

Robust Details provide high performance separating wall and floor constructions that are expected to be sufficiently reliable not to need the pre-completion testing normally required by the Building Regulations.
The majority of details illustrated in both of these sources are of masonry and concrete.

Additional guidance is provided by actual test results. For further information please refer to acoustic test reports. These comprise of acoustic reports from a selection of real projects with various floor and partition solutions and different arrangements of finishes and can be used by designers as another source to indicate the likelihood of similar details passing pre-completion tests (PCT).

Acoustic tests summary
Below is a summary of the concrete structures tested. Click on the name of the project to download the full report.

Project name
Test number
Element tested
Finish
Structure
Finish
Airborne Result
Impact Result (Floors only)
Centrium, Woking  
SRB/5326/A
Wall
2 x 12.5mm Knauf Soundshield plus extra 'sacrificial' layer for sockets 
70mm Knauf Soundshield c-stud with 60mm cavity.  Cavity partially filled with Rocksil RS33 Insulation
2x12.5mm Knauf Soundshield, plus extra "sacrificial" layer for socket
50>45
Pass
 
 
 
Floor
-
175mm insitu concrete
12.5mm Soundshield board 125mm C-form channel
52>45 Pass 
60 </=60 Pass
Colman House, University of East Anglia
040901
Wall
2mm plaster skim
180mm insitu concrete
2mm plaster skim
47>45 Pass
 
 
 
Floor
50mm screed bonded 6mm carpet
250mm insitu concrete
painted
57>45 pass
39<62 pass
Pavilion H Howlands Farm, University of Durham
U20
Wall
-
180mm insitu concrete
-
48>45 pass
 
 
 
Floor
Bonded 5mm carpet
225mm insitu concrete
15mm polystyrene on aluminium exposed grids
59>45 Pass
42<62 Pass
Sport City, The Frame Residential Development,
Manchester
PO818-REPOI-IE
Wall
2 layers of 12.5mm plasterboard supported by channel system with 70mm Isowool in cavity
150mm precast concrete
12.5mm plasterboard on 38mm x 25mm battens
51>45 Pass
 
 
 
Floor
65mm screed on resilient layer
200mm precast hollowcore concrete
12.5mm plasterboard on channel support
50>45 Pass
 
Bron DrewResidential Development,
Colwyn Bay
PO818-REPO1-LC
Wall
12.5mm plasterboard on 48mm c-studs with 52mm quilt
2 leaves 100mm block (2000kg/m3), 40mm cavity
Single layer plasterboard on adhesive dabs
51>45 Pass
 
 
 
Floor
18mm chipboard
8mm resilient layer
30mm insulation panel
100mm beam and block floor (2000kg/m3) with 75 screed
15mm Plasterboard fixed via resilient bars on 50mm timber battens. 50mm acoustic insulation fixed between structural beams
45 >/= 45 Pass
55<62 Pass
Laboratory Testing at Holbrook House, Sudbury
(nine different finishes)
C/03/5L/0804
Wall
12.5mm plasterboard fixed on plaster dabs
(Two leaves of 100mm dense blocks)
12.5mm plasterboard fixed on plaster dabs
Pass
 
 
 
Floor
Varying screeds and resilient layers
150mm beam and block (300kg/m3)
Varying suspended ceilings
Pass
Pass
ContemporisPhase 2, Bristol
REP-1001981-JNB-010306-1
Wall
Render coat and plaster finish
13-15mm
215mm dense block
(195kg/m3)
Render coat and plaster finish
13-15 mm
53>45 Pass
 
 
 
Floor
Tiled finish with resilient backing
250mm insitu slab
Metal framing system, 15mm plasterboard with thirteen downlighters
55>45
Pass
55>45
Pass
Grosvenor House, 13-19 Evesham Road, Cheltenham
SW402.06
Wall
25mm thick mineral wool and 12.5mm plasterboard with plaster skim on
both sides. Mineral wool layer continues to mineral wool mat laid on floor planks.
200mm thick Structherm Fastbuild solid concrete wall panels.
 
62>45 Pass
 
 
 
Floor
Upper surface of separating floor has 75mm concrete screed laid on 25mm thick mineral fibre mat(36kgm-3). Screed is isolated from separating wall panel by the mineral wool layer. Underside of separating floor has 100mm thick mineral fibre mat (10kgm-3)
above 15mm thick plasterboard with plaster skim.
200mm thick hollowcore concrete plank floor running parallel
to separating wall and supported on separating wall panel.
 
55>45 Pass
42<62 Pass
Llety Road, Tumble, Llanelli
REP-10-02038-AM-250406-1
Wall
External Wall
215mm thickness Durox System 500 thin-joint blockwork (107kg/m2) finished internally with
plasterboard-on-dabs, and finished externally with 60mm of expanded polystyrene combined with a proprietary render.
Separating Wall
2 leaves of 100mm Durox System 600 thin-joint blocks (67 kg/m2) per leaf separated by a 75mm cavity
and finished on both sides with an 8mm sand/cement parging coat (scratch finish) and 9.5mm
plasterboard on dabs.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Floor
Ground Floor
Beam and block suspended floor using dense infill blocks finished with 65mm insulation and 18mm
moisture resistant chipboard.
First Floor
Timber joists on joist hangers spanning onto the separating wall, finished with 22mm moisture resistant
chipboard (floor) and plasterboard (ceiling).