Standard Active Last Updated: Apr 16, 2020 Track Document
ASTM E557-12(2020)

Standard Guide for Architectural Design and Installation Practices for Sound Isolation between Spaces Separated by Operable Partitions

Standard Guide for Architectural Design and Installation Practices for Sound Isolation between Spaces Separated by Operable Partitions E0557-12R20 ASTM|E0557-12R20|en-US Standard Guide for Architectural Design and Installation Practices for Sound Isolation between Spaces Separated by Operable Partitions Standard new BOS Vol. 04.06 Committee E33
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Significance and Use

3.1 Rooms formed by operable partitions often need to be isolated acoustically. Sound-isolating properties of operable partitions are specified by architects in terms of sound transmission class (STC) and so advertised by the manufacturer on the basis of laboratory tests in accordance with Test Method E90 and Classification E413.

3.2 Because normal building design and construction practices are not the same as those used in acoustical laboratories, actual field performance of partitions, including operable partitions, will probably be less than that of test specimens. Sound transmission between areas to be isolated will occur through all of the connecting building components in addition to the operable partition, that is, floor and ceiling slabs, ceiling plenums, common walls, etc. All possible paths between the areas being isolated should have a sound insulation performance at least equal to the operable partition. Unless good acoustical practice is followed in both building design and installation, there may be a significant discrepancy between the sound isolation expected and that achieved.

3.3 Because of the complex nature of the sound flanking paths adjacent to operable partitions, it is highly recommended that all related construction details be reviewed by a person qualified in acoustical design and construction.

3.4 This guide does not specify requirements. However, persons desiring to write installation and construction specifications may find the contents useful in developing requirements for the building design site preparation, and installation practices necessary to minimize leakage and flanking sound around the operable partition.


1.1 This guide provides design details that should be considered in the design of buildings that include operable partitions. Operable partitions are those that can be quickly put in place or removed and stored to provide flexibility in the size of spaces typically used for meetings or social functions.

1.1.1 The guide primarily discusses details in the building design required to limit leakage of sound around an operable partition.

1.1.2 The guide also discusses some factors that affect the performance of the partitions themselves.

1.1.3 This guide is neither a specification for operable partitions nor a document intended to be imposed as a requirement on manufacturers of operable partitions.

1.2 Excluded from this guide are those partitions that are classified by the building products industry as demountable. Demountable partitions are those that are designed and installed with the intent of later being taken down and re-erected by a crew over a period of time, with the components being reusable.

1.3 The values stated in inch-pound units are to be regarded as standard. The values given in parentheses are mathematical conversions to SI units that are provided for information only and are not considered standard.

1.4 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

1.5 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.

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Book of Standards Volume: 04.06
Developed by Subcommittee: E33.04
Pages: 7
DOI: 10.1520/E0557-12R20
ICS Code: 91.060.10