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.
This report addresses serviceability issues of tall wood buildings focusing on their vibration and sound insulation performance. The sound insulation and vibration performance may not affect the building’s safety, but affects the occupants’ comfort and the proper operation of the buildings and the function of sensitive equipment...
Serviceability performance studied covers three different performance attributes of a building. These attributes 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. Serviceability performance of a building is important as it affects the comfort of its occupants and the functionality of sensitive equipment as well. Many physical factors influence these performances. Designers use various parameters to account for them in their designs and different criteria to manage these performances. 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.
In order to bridge the gaps in the data, knowledge, and experience of sound and vibration performance of tall wood buildings, FPInnovations conducted a three-phase performance testing on the Origine 13-storey CLT building of 40.9 m tall in Quebec city. It was the tallest wood building in Eastern Canada in 2017.
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 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”.
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...
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...
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.
This report documents apparent/field impact insulation class (AIIC/FIIC) ratings and apparent/field sound transmission class (ASTC/FSTC) ratings for a large number of light-frame wood-joisted floors, cross-laminated timber floors (CLT), massive glulam floors, and a wood-concrete composite floor...