How to provide easy to install, design-friendly and high performing acoustic solutions for the customer

The effect of poor sound insulation on the well-being of building occupants is often underestimated, with an un-wanted noise causing frustration, distress and even at times having an adverse affect on health. Here, Lee Nichols from Monarfloor Acoustic Systems, part of the BMI Group, looks at how easy to install and high performing acoustic products can significantly improve a building’s acoustic performance.

Some of the problems that arise with long-term exposure to un-wanted noise include developing impaired hearing and tinnitus. In hospital or care home environments, noise can cause sleep disturbance and slow patient recovery. For students, poor acoustics can affect their access to learning, and in offices, managers may see higher levels of sick leave. It’s certainly an issue for residential buildings, too. For those living in urban areas, exposure to noise pollution, particularly from the outside, is likely to be higher. For example, in these areas aircraft noise exposure might be a considerable concern.

However, products that provide excellent sound reduction can really help to alleviate noise related issues - improving the overall well-being of the building’s occupants.

When it comes to specifying the most appropriate products, the first consideration is to understand how noise is transmitted and identify where this can be reduced. There are a number of ways that noise is transmitted through buildings: external sources, where sound travels through open windows, doors or stairwells, and ‘internally transmitted sound’- when noise travels through floors, ceilings, walls and framing from adjoining dwellings or rooms.

External noise pollution can be addressed, in certain instances, by closing windows and doors, but it is trickier when it travels in stairwells, or via the internal fabric. This is where it pays to ensure that a good quality acoustic system are installed.

If the physics and sound transmittance of the building are not understood this can cause a particular problem when specifying appropriate products. Typically one acoustic floor solution won’t fit all applications.

In principle the structure plays the key role in what can or can’t be used to address the sound insulation requirements of Part E of the Building Regulations. Robust Details is a good proven design handbook, and commonly used within the industry, however there are bespoke projects where such details cannot be used, and this is where informed and careful specification is essential.

Acoustic flooring systems range from traditional Floating Floor Systems(FTTs) through to innovative second generation systems specifically designed for use in new-build projects.

For conversion and renovation projects for example, an FTT acoustic deck overlay system such as the one offered by Monarfloor rises to this challenge. The deck is designed to reduce sound transmission through existing timber floors where the existing timber sub-floor will either be removed, or levelled. The system comprises a 8mm layer of LRAC foam type II bonded to various flooring grade particleboards. This can be installed as part of a complete sound reduction system for a refurbishment project, enabling the timber floor to meet sound transmission levels outlined within Part E of the Building Regulations.

If we look at new builds, building a timber separating party floor into supporting masonry walls is one of the worse things you can do, given the significant transmission paths. Likewise, steel structures can be problematic given how sound travels through steel. However working with manufacturers from design stage, there are some unique solutions that can offer the answers. Acoustic isolation products such as Monarfloor’s Tranquilt, an isolation system for floating screeds, offer an ideal solution when specified as part of a bespoke solution and can be used whether the structure is timber frame, steel frame, concrete or masonry.

A product such as this reduces impact and flanking sound transmission by forming an isolation layer between the sub-floor and the finished screed. Monarfloor also offers Tranquility, a product which reduces impact and flanking through separating party floors by isolating wood and laminate floors from the concrete or timber sub floor.

The added benefit for the contractor is that modern solutions such as these are one-part systems and lightweight, helping to make installation easier. It is also worthwhile for flooring contractors to highlight to customers that installing acoustic flooring systems also provide a cost effective solution for those managing the overall project. This is because improving acoustics through a flooring system will mean there is less investment needed for other acoustic products.

Incorporating products such as these can create comfortable acoustic surroundings and ultimately improve the well-being of building occupants. It is also mandatory to determine sound insulation performance under Part E of the Building Regulations, so the contractor will be required to provide products to help meet these regulations. The good news is that contractors can select from a wide range of products that offer an easy way to incorporate good acoustics into a new build or retrofit scenario.


TEL: 01908 015760 21


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