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Tougher acoustic testing for city apartments

Published: Mon 29 Nov 2004 09:04 AM
Tougher acoustic testing for city apartments
Soundproofing in the walls and floors of new apartment developments will be under closer scrutiny in a new soundproofing inspection initiative introduced by Auckland City.
“In the past we have relied on a visual assessment of wall and floor construction for apartment developments in Auckland city,” says principal building officer Bob De Leur. ”We are now stepping up our testing regime and have introduced soundproofing tests.”
This testing uses specialist equipment to measure the transmission of sound through walls and floors.
Testing will be carried out by Auckland City specialist inspector Bob Russell who says the testing will give apartment owners more confidence and peace of mind in the soundproofing of new developments. “Neighbours will have more confidence that they will not hear what is going on next door,” he says.
The soundproofing testing reports may also be used to assure potential buyers that apartments meet the new requirements.
“This testing regime will lay the ground for the proposed higher minimum standards which may be introduced next year,” says Mr De Leur. “If apartment developments are failing at this stage they will be certain to fail next year under the new more stringent criterion, unless standards are improved.”
Auckland City is committed to working with developers to ensure they pass the soundproofing tests and will be taking an information sharing approach with soundproofing engineers and soundproofing suppliers. “We are really happy to share knowledge and will be working with developers and engineers,” says Mr De Leur. Code of compliance certificates will not be issued on buildings that fail the final soundproofing tests. Any new developments failing testing will need to reinforce walls and floors until they comply with the testing standards. Auckland City soundproofing test requirements will be written into new building consents.
“We want to encourage the use of sound proofing professionals in the planning phase of new developments,” says Mr De Leur. “In particular, we want to encourage developers to do progress tests using their own engineers. It is always better to make sure soundproofing requirements are met in the early stages of development, rather than needing to reinforce walls and floors following failed testing.”
Developers who have enlisted the services of soundproofing engineers during the design and construction phases of development may face a lighter final random testing regime. This will be at the discretion of Auckland City and contracted inspectors.
“Privacy and sound proofing are important to everyone living in the city. As our city changes we want to ensure we are accommodating the needs of all residents and business owners,” says Mr De Leur. “With closer inspection of construction methods we can ensure that Auckland remains a very liveable city.”

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