High performing sound insulation solutions from Hush Acoustics have delivered outstanding results in material change of use conversion project on the Isle of Man.
The project on involved upgrading the floors in a building that had previously been converted from a bar to offices in the 1990s, but which was now being redeveloped into residential.
The property owner sought to convert the office space into four flats and tasked chartered architect Andrew Bentley with the project. He immediately identified that the separating floors and walls would need to achieve significantly higher levels of insulation to prevent nuisance sound transmission between individual properties.
Under the building regulations covering the Isle of Man, which are consistent with Approved Document E in England & Wales, the separating floors would have to achieve an airborne sound transmission level of greater or equal to 43db and, for impact sound transmission, no higher than 64db.
Following a comprehensive consultation period by Hush Acoustics soundproofing experts, it was apparent that the existing acoustic flooring design fitted during the bar-to-offices conversion was inadequate due to flaws in several areas. This meant a complete redesign of the floors was required to bring them up to an acceptable standard.
As part of the original conversion, an acoustic floor was installed to help reduce the noise from one office to another. This floor consisted of a resilient bar ceiling system and an acoustic floor, which used a metal top hat type solution, a foam joist strip and chipboard.
However, with insufficient sealing, air gaps and poor installation of the acoustic flooring and resilient bar ceiling system, assumptions that this existing construction would fail to meet the required standard for domestic dwellings were confirmed in testing.
Hush Acoustics and Andrew Bentley, who have worked together very successfully on previous projects on the Isle of Man, collaborated to develop a specification for upgrading the separating floor construction.
The solution came with the Hush MF Ceiling System. This creates a suspended ceiling, separated from the existing structure using the Hush Acoustic Hangers, allowing for Hush-Slab 100 sound absorber slabs to be fitted into the void created. Two layers of 15mm Soundbloc plasterboard were then installed onto the suspended ceiling’s metal frame.
Key to the success of the new acoustic system was the quality of the installation, which the Hush Acoustics team – as with all projects – offered guidance on to the installation contractor. This was important from a fire safety perspective too, with a fire specialist also engaged to ensure all gaps, junction details and products were installed and sealed correctly.
The result is a collection of flats benefiting from soundproofing levels not normally seen in conversion projects of this kind. The airborne sound insulation levels for the floors tested in various rooms ranged from 50db to 67db (minimum level to pass test is 43db) and for impact sound it was between 38db and 50db (must be below 64db).
Andrew Bentley, project architect, comments: “With commercial-to-residential conversions so important in maintaining a good supply of housing, it is no surprise that more building owners are undertaking such projects.
“But the acoustics need a specific focus, which is why the solution provided by Hush Acoustics will play an important role in contributing to the flats being quiet and comfortable long term.
“The test results were so good that the acoustician who carried out the testing of the completed installation said it was the best results he had ever seen.
“In the lounge of one of the flats, there was virtually no background noise detected despite sound of 107db being generated in the lounge of the flat directly above – that’s a noise level almost as loud as you would experience at a rock concert.”
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