FPInnovations launched the “Next Generation Building Systems” research program to support the expansion and diversification of wood into new markets. “Next Generation Wood Buildings” can be described as buildings that implement design and construction practices, and use innovative wood-based materials and systems beyond those defined and addressed in current building codes. As part of this program, the serviceability research focuses on addressing issues related to floor and building vibrations, sound transmission and creep.
CLT is a next generation wood building material, which is a promising alternative to concrete slabs. To facilitate wood expansion into the market traditionally dominated by steel and concrete, several CLT buildings have been designed or built. Taking this opportunity, we conducted this study on two CLT buildings in the province of Quebec (i.e.,Desbiens and Chibougamau) to collect data that will form a database for the development of design provisions and installation guides for controlling vibrations and noise in CLT floors and buildings. The study also provides some information to designers and architects to strengthen their confidence in using CLT in their building projects. It is our hope that the collaboration through this study demonstrates to both designers and users of CLT buildings that if we work together, we can build good quality CLT buildings.
During the construction, ambient vibration tests were conducted on the two CLT buildings to determine their natural frequencies (periods) and damping ratios. Vibration performance tests were conducted on selected CLT floors to determine their frequencies and static deflections. ASTM standard sound insulation tests were conducted on the selected CLT walls and floors in Chibougamau CLT building to develop the sound insulation solutions. After the two CLT buildings were completed, ASTM sound insulation tests were conducted in the selected units to determine the Field Sound Transmission Class (FSTC) of the finished floors and walls, and the Field Impact Insulation Class (FIIC) of the finished floors.
We found that in general, the vibration performance of these two CLT buildings and their floor vibration performance are functional. The efforts made by the design engineers, the architects, and the contractors to make it happen are commendable, considering the lack of design provisions and guidelines in building codes for controlling vibrations in such innovative wood floor and buildings. The sound insulation of the selected units in Chibougamau building was very satisfactory. This confirmed that with proper design, construction, and installation of the sound insulation solutions studied in this report, CLT floors, walls and buildings can achieve very good sound insulation.
Some specific recommendations for CLT building sound insulation:
If flanking paths can be minimized, then it is expected that better sound insulation than what we measured on the CLT floors during the building construction will be achieved ;
Increasing the stud spacing from 400mm to 600mm for the wood stud walls enhances the airborne sound insulation of the current wood stud-CLT wall assemblies tested in this study ;
Decoupling ceiling from the structure frame and from the CLT floors is a significant factor for cost-effective sound insulation solutions ;
Selection of solutions for FSTC and FIIC above fifty (50) for non-carpeted CLT floors will ensure the satisfaction of the majority of occupants ;
Conducting subjective evaluation is useful to ensure occupants satisfaction ;
For implementation of the sound insulation solutions for floating floors, it is necessary to consult wood flooring and ceramic tiles installation guides for floating the flooring.
Three performance attributes of a building for serviceability performance are 1) vibration of the whole building structure, 2) vibration of the floor system, typically in regards to motions in a localized area within the entire floor plate, and 3) sound insulation performance of the wall and floor assemblies...
In order to address the lack of measured natural frequencies and damping ratios for wood and hybrid wood buildings, and lack of knowledge of vibration performance of innovative CLT floors and sound insulation performance of CLT walls and floors, FPInnovations conducted...
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”.
Project contact is Jianhui Zhou at the University of Northern British Columbia
The impact sound perceived in the lower volume in a building is radiated by the vibration of the ceiling transmitted from the vibration of the floor generated by an impact source in the upper volume. Thus, the dynamic behaviour of a floor is one crucial intermediate step to understand the impact sound insulation performance of such a floor. A key to reducing the impact sound is to isolate the structural floor from the subfloor. Floating floor construction is a common way of improving the impact sound insulation, which is to float a concrete topping on the mass timber floor with an elastic layer in between. There are two types of floating floor solutions, a) with a continuous elastic layer and b) with point bearing elastic mounts as shown in Figure 1. This study will investigate both solutions and will provide guidance on how to adopt both solutions for mass timber floors with an exposed ceiling.
The objectives of this project are:
1. To measure the sound insulation performance of mass timber floors with full-scale concrete topping on various continuous elastic interlayer materials
2. To measure the sound insulation performance of mass timber floors with full-scale concrete topping on discrete elastic load mounts
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.