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Lignacite: The sound choice for building development

Aerial view of Battersea Power Station in London, UK

Following stringent laboratory testing, Lignacite, a leading manufacturer of sustainable concrete masonry blocks, is delighted to report that its flagship product has advanced sound insulation qualities, cementing its suitability for modern construction projects.

Tested in accordance with BS EN ISO 10140-2:2010, the company investigated the sound reduction qualities of a bare Lignacite block wall and one with a stud wall attached. Using 100mm blocks laid flat, forming a thickness of 215mm, the block walls were tested from 100 hertz (Hz) to 3,150Hz.

The results showed that a bare Lignacite wall had a Weighted Sound Reduction Index (Rw) of 56dB, whereas the wall with a stud panel had a rating of 66dB. The higher the Rw index (expressed in dB), the greater the degree of sound insulation. These results compare favourably with the sound insulation qualities of standard blockwork, with the bare Lignacite block wall insulating sound by 2dB more than a regular concrete block wall.

To put these qualities in context, speech typically registers at 65dB. If Lignacite blockwork is installed with a stud wall, the sound of someone speaking would be completely inaudible to someone in a neighbouring room.

The superior sound insulation properties of these blocks have been attributed to their composition, which includes sand and – unlike other blocks – recycled wood. This gives Lignacite blocks a finer texture, reducing the sound transference.

The results of the test are particularly significant in the context of current construction trends. Tower blocks are increasingly common, and more people than ever before are working from home.[i] This means urban inhabitants want more amenities on their doorsteps, resulting in increased numbers of mixed-use developments.

Consequently, people are living and working in closer proximity to each other, as well as to businesses and traffic. This means they are more exposed to noise pollution generated both inside and outside buildings, which a growing body of research shows has a detrimental effect on human health.

For example, a 2015 study in New York City revealed that the mean street noise level was 73dBA. This is concerning because research suggests that long-term exposure to levels above 65dB can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

This research, along with the findings of the Hackitt Report and the Building Safety Act 2022, highlights the importance of ensuring the well-being of end-users during the design and construction of new spaces. Construction materials play a key role in getting this right, which is what prompted the Lignacite team to investigate the sound insulation qualities of their blocks.

Lignacite Chairman Giles de Lotbiniere comments: “We were pleasantly surprised by the findings of our test. These results show that it is possible to achieve the desired levels of sound insulation using blockwork, which means building designers may not have to make substantial changes to their plans in order to support end-user well-being.”

The standout qualities of Lignacite concrete blocks, including their thermal, sound and sustainability credentials, have already been recognised and used in significant building projects, including Chelmsford’s new Beaulieu Park housing development, Chelsea Barracks and Battersea Power Station.

Chelsea Barracks

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