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 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.
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).