Cold-formed steel for acoustic code compliance

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For many years, Canada’s building codes for residential construction only took sound transmission through separating walls or floors into account when assessing acoustic separation and performance.

The North American steel industry has completed a research program to develop the necessary tools to meet code requirements for acoustic separation in cold-formed steel frame construction.

The National Building Code of Canada (NBC) is considering additional paths for sound waves, including flanking transmissions through shared ceilings and floors. When ceilings and floors are shared with adjacent rooms, the transmitted vibrations are expressed as sound next door regardless of the acoustic separation designed into the shared wall between the two rooms that was the focus of previous NBC editions.

To address challenges, the National Research Council Canada (NRC) and the Canadian Sheet Steel Building Institute (CSSBI) undertook a project with co-funding support from the Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI) and other steel industry partners to support the transition of construction industry practice to using ASTC rather than existing STC ratings for sound control objectives in NBC, reports Construction Canada.

Architects and designers will be able to use the NRC’s soundPATHS prediction tool for the calculation of direct and flanking sound transmission between adjacent rooms. This web application incorporates data from this research to help builders accurately predict ASTC performance.

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