Minimising the transfer of noise from a building and keeping heat energy inside is all part of meeting different Building Regulations.
Specific types of plasterboard are designed to help builders achieve compliance with regulations and achieve the optimum level of comfort in relation to both challenges.
Technical Services Manager, Michael Connor, from Buildbase board suppliers SINIAT explains the options.
Managing acoustics in buildings is seen as something of a dark art as the way sound behaves – and is managed – is complex.
For builders’ merchants’ customers, typical issues will involve managing noise transfer in connected houses, in multiple-occupancy buildings such as flats and noise created by a busy road. In more advanced situations, it might mean handling noise from a music practice room or multiplex cinema.
Building Regulations Approved Document E governs building design when it comes to acoustics, which ultimately dictates the installation of floors and walls to meet the needs of sound reduction.
The regulations demand specific room-to-room, sound-proofing performance and there are acoustic boards developed for this purpose. However, you must recognise that acoustic boards are tested in laboratory conditions, so they need to ensure that their installation complies in the real-life environment on-site.
Managing transfer of sound in buildings is based on the principles of adding mass (i.e. heavy board), separating areas (connected parts of a building will transfer sound more readily) and insulating (managing the transfer of sound).
Specialist acoustic plasterboard is denser than standard plasterboard, designed to prevent the transfer of airborne sound and control noise disturbance. The requirements of Part E Building Regulations for new internal walls (40RwdB) can be achieved using as little as a single 12.5mm GTEC dB Board each side of a 70mm steel stud. While all boards can minimise noise to a degree, the greater board mass you have will achieve greater sound control, along with constructing partitions, using insulation such as glass mineral wool and using an acoustic sealant.
Adding boards and insulation will help manage sound to a greater degree. However, don’t forget about the fixing method used, the insulation and other elements such as pipes that might need boxing out.
Building regulations – documents L1 and L2 – are responsible for improving thermal efficiency in residential and commercial buildings, whether new build, change of use or renovation projects. In each case, the regulations focus on U-values: the measurement of the rate of heat loss through a material.
Builders’ merchants’ customers are most likely to ask: “What U-value does this board give me? While boards offer resistance they don’t provide an overall U value, as that depends on the overall building framework the board is part of.
At SINIAT we’ve created a thermal/U value calculator for builders to enter basic calculations and give them the U-value of a room, which helps to identify the most efficient solution. It also helps when explaining to their customer (the homeowner) what’s necessary.
Thermal boards are available in a number of thicknesses and with various properties to prevent heat loss through walls, lofts and suitable for many building projects. This means reduced energy costs while maintaining a warmer room temperature in winter and cooler in summer.
The products on offer provide a range of solutions – basic, good, better and best – which is clearly reflected in the prices, from cheapest to most expensive. For a property with walls that already have good thermal performance, a basic or good board might be sufficient. However, for renovation or conversion of older properties – without the thermal performance of more modern homes – you will need a higher value and higher performance board.
Ultimately – whatever the living environment – the right solution is available to meet U-values, reduce energy bills and create a warm space.