In recent years, the science and engineering for controlling sound transmission in buildings have shifted from a focus on individual assemblies such as walls or floors, to a focus on performance of the complete system. Standardized procedures for calculating the overall transmission, combined with standardized measurements to characterize sub-assemblies, provide much better prediction of sound transmission between adjacent indoor spaces. The International Standards Organization (ISO) has published a calculation method, ISO 15712-1 that uses laboratory test data for sub-assemblies such as walls and floors as inputs for a detailed procedure to calculate the expected sound transmission between adjacent rooms in a building. This standard works very well for some types of construction, but to use it in a North American context one must overcome two obstacles – incompatibility with the ASTM standards used by our construction industry, and low accuracy of its predictions for lightweight wood or steel frame construction. To bypass limitations of ISO 15712-1, this Guide explains how to merge ASTM and ISO test data in the ISO calculation procedure, and provides recommendations for applying extended measurement and calculation procedures for specific common types of construction. This Guide was developed in a project established by the National Research Council of Canada to support the transition of construction industry practice to using apparent sound transmission class (ASTC) for sound control objectives in the National Building Code of Canada (NBCC). However, the potential range of application goes beyond the minimum requirements of the NBCC – the Guide also facilitates design to provide enhanced sound insulation, and should be generally applicable to construction in both Canada and the USA. This publication contains a limited set of examples for several types of construction, to provide an introduction and overview of the ASTC calculation procedure. Additional examples and measurement data can be found in the companion documents to this Guide, namely NRC Research Reports RR-333 to RR-337. Furthermore, the calculation procedure outlined and illustrated in this Guide is also used by the software web application soundPATHS, which is available for free on the website of the National Research Council of Canada (see the references in Section 7 of this Guide for access details).
This Report presents the results from experimental studies of the airborne sound transmission of mass timber assemblies, together with an explanation of the calculation procedures to predict the apparent sound transmission class (ASTC) rating between adjacent spaces in a building constructed of mass timber assemblies.
The experimental data which is the foundation for this Report includes the laboratory measured sound transmission loss of wall and floor assemblies constructed of Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), Nail-Laminated Timber (NLT) and Dowel-Laminated Timber (DLT), and the laboratory measured vibration reduction index between assemblies of junctions between CLT assemblies. The presentation of the measured data is combined with the presentation of the appropriate calculation procedures to determine the ASTC rating in buildings comprised of such assemblies along with numerous worked examples.
Several types of CLT constructions are commercially available in Canada, but this study focused on CLT assemblies with an adhesive applied between the faces of the timber elements in adjacent layers, but no adhesive bonding between the adjacent timber elements within a given layer. These CLT assemblies could be called “Face-Laminated CLT Assemblies” but are simply referred to as CLT assemblies in this Report. Another form of CLT assemblies does have adhesive applied between the faces of the timber elements in adjacent layers as well as adhesive to bond the adjacent timber elements within a given layer. These assemblies are referred to as “Fully-Bonded CLT Assemblies” in this Report. Because fully-bonded CLT assemblies have different properties than face-laminated CLT assemblies, the sound transmission data and predictions in this Report do not apply to fully-bonded CLT assemblies.
The number of occupant complaints received about annoying low-frequency footstep impact sound transmission through wood floor-ceiling assemblies has been increasing in proportion with the increase in the number of multi-family wood buildings built. Little work has been conducted to develop solutions to control the low-frequency footstep impact sound transmission. There are no code provisions or sound solutions in the codes. Current construction practices are based on a trial and error approach. This two-years project was conducted to remove this barrier and to successfully expand the use of wood in the multi-family and mid- to high-rise building markets. The key objective was to build a framework for the development of thorough solutions to control low-frequency footstep sound transmission through wood floor-ceiling assemblies.
Field acoustic tests and case studies were conducted in collaboration with acoustics researchers, builders, developers, architects, design engineers and producers of wood building components.
The field study found that:
1. With proper design of the base wood-joisted floors and sound details of the ceiling:
With no topping on the floor, the floor-ceiling assembly did not provide sufficient impact sound insulation for low- to high-frequency sound components ;
Use of a 13-mm thick wood composite topping along with the ceiling did not ensure satisfactory impact sound insulation;
Even if there was the ceiling, use of a 38-mm thick concrete topping without a proper insulation layer to float the topping did not ensure satisfactory impact sound insulation ;
A topping system having a mass over 20 kg/m2 and composed of composite panels and an insulation layer with proper thickness achieved satisfactory impact sound insulation.
2. The proper design of the base wood-joisted floors was achieved by the correct combination of floor mass and stiffness. The heaviest wood-joisted floors did not necessarily ensure satisfactory impact insulation.
3. Proper sound ceiling details were found to be achieved through:
Use of two layers of gypsum board;
Use of sound absorption materials filling at least 50% of the cavity ;
Installation of resilient channels to the bottom of the joists through anchoring acoustic system resulted in improved impact sound insulation than directly attaching the resilient channels to the bottom of the joists.
A four-task research plan was developed to thoroughly address the issue of poor low-frequency footstep impact insulation of current lightweight wood floor-ceiling assemblies and to correct prejudice against wood. The tasks include: 1) fundamental work to develop code provisions; 2) expansion of FPInnovations’ material testing laboratory to include tests to characterize the acoustic properties of materials; 3) development of control strategies; and 4) implementation.
The laboratory acoustic research facility built includes a mock-up field floor-ceiling assembly with adjustable span and room height, a testing system and a building acoustic simulation software.
The preliminary study on the effects of flooring, topping and underlayment on FIIC of the mock-up of the filed floor-ceiling assembly in FPInnovations’ acoustic chamber confirmed some findings from the field study. The laboratory study found that:
A topping was necessary to ensure the satisfactory impact sound insulation;
The topping should be floated on proper underlayment;
Topping mass affects impact sound insulation of wood framed floors;
A floating flooring enhanced the impact sound insulation of wood framed floors along with the floating topping.
It is concluded that:
1. even if the studies only touched the tip of the iceberg of the footstep impact sound insulation of lightweight wood-joisted floor systems, the proposed solutions are promising but still need verification ;
2. with proper design of the base wood floor structure, the proper combination of flooring, and sound ceiling details along with proper installation, the lightweight wood floor-ceiling assembly can achieve satisfactory impact sound insulation ;
3. this study establishes a framework for thoroughly solving low-frequency footstep impact sound insulation problem in lightweight wood-joisted floor systems.
Solutions will be developed in the next phase of this study as planned and the study will be conducted under NRCan Transformative Technology program with a project dedicated to “Serviceability of next generation wood building systems”.
This report summarizes the acoustics research component regarding sound insulation of elements and systems for the research project on mid-rise and larger wood buildings. The summary outlines the background, main research considerations, research conducted and major outcomes. Further details of the design and the results can found in the appendix of Client Report A1-100035-02.1 .
The goal of the acoustics research components was to develop design solutions for mid-rise wood and wood-hybrid buildings that comply both with the current National Building Code of Canada (NBCC) 2010  requirements for direct sound insulation and with the anticipated requirements for flanking sound transmission in the proposed, 2015 version of the NBCC. In addition, the design solutions were to provide better impact sound insulation while still achieving code compliance for all other disciplines (interdependencies) as identified in the final report of the scoping study conducted in FY 2010/2011 
The growing diffusion of cross-laminated timber structures (CLT) has been accompanied by extensive research on the peculiar characteristics of this construction system, mainly concerning its economic and environmental benefits, lifecycle, structural design, resistance to seismic actions, fire protection, and energy efficiency. Nevertheless, some aspects have not yet been fully analysed. These include both the knowledge of noise protection that CLT systems are able to offer in relation to the possible applications and combinations of building elements, and the definition of calculation methods necessary to support the acoustic design. This review focuses on the main acoustic features of CLT systems and investigate on the results of the most relevant research aimed to provide key information on the application of acoustic modelling in CLT buildings. The vibro-acoustic behaviour of the basic component of this system and their interaction through the joints has been addressed, as well as the possible ways to manage acoustic information for calculation accuracy improvement by calibration with data from on-site measurements during the construction phase. This study further suggests the opportunity to improve measurement standards with specific reference curves for the bare CLT building elements, in order to compare different acoustic linings and assemblies on the same base. In addition, this study allows to identify some topics in the literature that are not yet fully clarified, providing some insights on possible future developments in research and for the optimization of these products.
Mass timber is a generic name for a broad range of thick and heavy wood products such as cross-laminated timber (CLT), dowel-laminated timber (DLT), nail-laminated timber (NLT), and gluelaminated timber (GLT), among others. So far, vibration-controlled design methods have been developed mostly for CLT floors.
The 2015 edition of the National Building Code of Canada (NBCC) includes significant changes to the acoustic requirements for residential constructions. The 2015 edition defines the acoustic requirements in terms of the Apparent Sound Transmission Class (ASTC) rating which includes contributions from flanking transmission and therefore is a better descriptor of how well the sound insulation of a building will actually protect the inhabitants of the building from unwanted noise than the STC rating which was used in earlier editions of the NBCC. The 2015 NBCC requires an ASTC rating = 47 for constructions between dwelling units.
The ASTC rating that a construction will achieve depends on the design of the building elements including the gypsum board, the framing and the thermal insulation as well as the design of the junctions between the building elements. Changes to the building elements or the junctions will change the ASTC rating.
Fifty five examples of the calculation of the ASTC rating for typical mid-rise wood constructions (single and triple staggered wood stud walls and floors constructed of I-joists) with 15.9 mm (5/8”) SilentFX® QuickCut gypsum board, 15.9 mm CertainTeed Type X gypsum board and CertainTeed Sustainable fiberglass insulation are presented. All of the constructions shown in the examples have an ASTC rating which is greater than 47.
In addition to the examples for mid-rise wood framing, an example using 15.9 mm SilentFX® QuickCut gypsum board as a lining on a cross laminated timber (CLT) construction is also presented.
This report addresses serviceability issues of tall wood buildings focusing on vibration and sound insulation performance. The sound insulation and vibration performance may not affect building's safety, but affects occupants' comfort and proper operation of the buildings and the funciton of sensitive equipment, consequently the acceptance of midrise and tall wood buildings in market place. Lack of data, knowledge and experience of sound and vibration performance of tall wood buildings is one of the issues related to design and construction of tall wood buildings.