Why acoustic testing matters in your building design

Affinity R&D Team

At Affinity, we include third-party compliance testing in all our windows and doors. This ensures that we can demonstrate our products’ effectiveness and reliability in reducing external noise and ensuring comfortable living environments.

Recently, we tested our double-glazed, VLAM Hush, and laminated glass products to assess their benefits in noise-sensitive environments.

Here’s what we found.

Left to right: Norbet Gabriels, Willie Musa, Ken Courtney, Brendan O’Shea

But first, why perform acoustic testing?

As our neighbourhood planning becomes denser, as traffic increases and highways become busier, local Councils are revising their regulations to require higher sound-proof ratings on new buildings. Building Codes Australia has also changed, to be stricter on both acoustic and bushfire ratings.

And with an increase in buildings made from lightweight steel or timber, we’re seeing an increase in the sound-proofing requirements for a range of new builds.

So how to you make sure that happens?

You test it.

These days, many new homes and buildings are acoustically rated. And to ensure they remain within the necessary Council requirements they have to meet specific sounds reduction index ratings, known as Rw+Ctr ratings—that is, the levels of sound being transferred through windows, doors, and their sealings.

Willie Musa
Maintenance Supervisor

Acoustic testing the Affinity way

At Affinity, we know that good enough isn’t good enough. So we perform acoustic testing for our entire product range. We do this to check for airborne sound transfer within the whole window system—not just the glass, but frames, sealings, and walls themselves.

To achieve this, we effectively test our products in a real-world environment, to see how they hold up against the sound pressures of day-to-day life.

Undertaken at a specially designed acoustic testing lab, our product testing is undertaken in an isolated room, so it can be tested without any outside influences. We build a wall in the middle, separating the room into two, and install our products within the wall—just like it was being installed in a new house, all sealed and ready to go.

One of the rooms has a range of recording devices to test the noise levels, and the other has specialty sound equipment that plays different levels of ambient noise.

Left: Sound equipment playing different levels of ambient noise
Right: Recording device to test the noise levels

Our products are tested against what’s known as pink noise, a wall of sound that’s the equivalent of standing next to a jumbo jet taking off. Trust us: it gets loud in there, so full PPE is required.

Once it’s all set up and ready to go, we perform a sequence of tests to monitor for difference noises, and the levels that are received on the other side of the window. Measured in octaves, we’re trying to determine how well our products block out noises ranging from incidental sounds and speaking levels, through to traffic, building, and aircraft noises.

We tested all different types, configurations, and air pocket ratios of the different glass and sashes used in our products.

Brendan O’Shea
Sales Manager

The Affinity difference

This is going to surprise you: many of our competitors don’t put their products through rigorous testing like we do.

Instead, they do deemed-to-comply testing. This is theoretical acoustic testing based on mathematical equations, which ultimately deliver a notional idea of what the acoustic rating will be.

But that’s just it: it’s notional, and hasn’t been tested in a real world environment. It doesn’t take into account factors like the quality of the product, ambient conditions, or even the installation measures used.

This means that it may not be accurate—or could even be completely wrong.

They rely on good enough being good enough.

We don’t. At Affinity, we undertake our testing to emulate real world examples of how our products are used.

Norbert Gabriels
Acoustic Laboratories Australia

Yes, it’s a more expensive and time-consuming exercise, but the end result provides you with clear scientific data, so we can discuss the acoustic ratings of our products with absolute certainty. This means that when you choose Affinity Windows, we can guarantee what our products can achieve, and can provide you with peace of mind that you’re getting the right product at the right rating.

Ready to see the results? Click here to review the testing results of our double glazed, VLAM Hush, and laminated glass products.

Then when you’re ready to get started on your next construction project, get in touch with us to discuss a guaranteed noise dampening solution for your new building

If you would like further help in choosing window styles for your home, don’t hesitate to contact Affinity Windows, the Perth windows installation experts.

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