Complying to Acoustic Regulations

This week our focus is around the conversion of houses into flats. Last week, we discussed the increase in this type of construction, and the impact that noise can have on the standard of living. Now, we turn our attention to the regulations around unwanted noise.

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The benefits of thermal insulation and its applications are pretty well understood and documented. But, enhanced sound insulation and what it can achieve is often overlooked.

In 2003, the UK government enforced the new Approved Document E of the Building Regulations¹. This legislation was used to outline the issue of unwanted noise transmission between residential dwellings in an attempt to improve modern living standards. As well as listing new performance requirements, Part E established a Pre-Completion Testing to help enforce these standards.

Under these regulations, new buildings are required to have a minimum airborne sound insulation performance of 45 DnT,w + Ctr dB for separating walls, floors and stairs, and a maximum impact sound insulation of 62 L’nT,w dB. Refurbishment projects, or dwellings formed by material change of use, need to meet slightly less strident standards of 43 dB and 64 dB respectively.

For those who are thinking about converting houses into flats, it is at this renovation stage that sound insulation needs to be installed. It would be far more costly and time consuming to do this at a later point.

While we are currently experiencing an increase in flat conversions, this isn’t a new thing, and there are a lot of shared properties that were designed before the Approved Document E of the Building Regulations came into force. We would strongly advise the landlords of these properties to consider voluntary upgrades, as this would improve their rental income and decrease tenant turnover.

Next week, we will look at the installation methods for providing sound insulation within flat conversions.

HM Government, The Building Regulations 2010, Approved Document E, 2003, click here