A Soundproofing Opportunity
This article was originally published in issue 15 of Insulate Magazine. You can read this soundproofing feature and various other insightful insulation articles for free on the insulate magazine page.
Soundproofing and Acoustics
Regardless of the type of development, whether it is residential, commercial, leisure or public sector, the effective control of sound is a key consideration – both for building regulation compliance and occupier comfort. Moreover, given high levels of impact sound often result in unwanted noise travelling between spaces, the floor is commonly subject to an acoustic specification. Paul Absolon, Technical Director at CMS Danskin Acoustics, discusses why getting to grips with the various treatments available can pay dividends when it comes to working with sound reduction systems on-site.
Sound reduction systems will typically be specified according to the acoustic performance which must be achieved and the overall floor build up. At a basic level, there are various solutions available which have been specifically designed to work with certain types of screeds and subfloor. However, there are also systems available which are designed for more complex floor constructions, such as those which integrate underfloor heating or service lines.
Essentially, when tendering for a flooring package which includes a specialist acoustic element, it is important to understand why a specification has been made as this sets the parameters for exploring opportunities to value engineer the solution.
Scoping the Soundproofing Spec
Where a residential development is following the Robust Detail (RD) route to Part E compliance, it is important to understand the difference between a generic detail and a proprietary RD. For example, if E-FC-15 is detailed then only the Quietlay acoustic underscreed can be used. It is the same principle with E-FC-6, as only Regupol E48 screed isolation can be installed.
In contrast, a generic detail such as E-FC-1 does not specify a specific brand name. Instead, a range of acoustic cradle and batten build-ups – for which many of the CMS Danskin Acoustic range of systems have been approved – is available to choose from.
While the RD process simplifies the route to Part E compliance and offers some flexibility over the final choice of material (dependent on the type of RD), developments which follow the Pre-Completion Testing (PCT) route or non-residential projects present a much greater opportunity to value engineer impact sound specifications.
Engineering the Value of Acoustics
Once the degree of flexibility in the specification has been identified, which is typically dictated by acoustic and thermal performance as well as material thickness and composition, the next step will be to consult with acoustic product manufacturers to explore all the options.
Although the role of this technical consultation may initially be a simple costing exercise, with greater engagement there is further scope for contract floor installers to add wider value to the project. For example, more experienced acoustic manufacturers who have broad sound reduction product portfolios can conduct a full review of the specification and make recommendations on how improved performance could be achieved with reduced floor height. This approach often helps installers to deliver a more competitively priced package as compared with the original specification, whilst also demonstrating a thorough understanding of the project requirements.
Moreover, to assist contract flooring installers with this process, CMS Danskin Acoustics will attend project meetings and provide on-site training if an installation team has not previously used a particular impact sound solution.
The number of sound reduction systems available in the past few years has grown significantly, as has the number of manufacturers and suppliers. Couple this with what can often be a complex supply chain process from design to installation, and trying to compete in a competitive environment – can feel an impossible task. However, by spotting a sound value engineering opportunity at the initial point of tendering and then partnering with an experienced acoustic manufacturer to see this through to completion, the flooring package landscape starts to look very different.