Dealing with noisy neighbours

Noise can be an infuriating nuisance. Most people have experienced living next to a noisy neighbour, and have at one point, struggled to hear the TV over an argument next door, or have been woken up by loud music and doors banging. When there is nothing but a thin wall between you and your neighbours, it is very hard to enjoy – what should be - your quiet and relaxing time at home.

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This is particularly an issue in flats and maisonettes, where there are several people living in the building.  These types of properties remain popular in the UK, particularly in large cities, where space is an issue.  Because of this, more and more people are experiencing noise nuisances.


Check the facts

Noise is a big and growing problem.  According to a 2013 Chartered Institute of Environmental Health survey of 159 local authorities, there were over 120,000 noise complaints received from people in residential properties over a twelve month period. Meanwhile, more than a quarter of UK adults encountered a problem with a nuisance neighbour in 2014, according to a survey for Which?, with loud voices, loud music, slamming doors and noisy pets all featuring in the list of nuisances.  

A ROCKWOOL report entitled, Good Growth, Quiet Buildings, explores the impact of noise in a growing city and solutions in the built environment. The report touches on UK government research that shows that noise pollution is a real concern for the British public. The National Noise Attitude Survey showed that between 2000 and 2012, noise increased from being the ninth environmental priority to the fourth, with 48% of people feeling that their home life was spoilt by noise.

Whilst London enjoys a reputation as the world’s number one preferred relocation destination for professionals and the globe’s most popular city for those considering working abroad, research published in January 2017 also revealed that constant noise is one of the main reasons given by Londoners for moving out of the city, with 41% citing it as a reason for leaving.


It’s getting serious

With noise becoming such a nuisance, there have been regulations put in place to help people enjoy a peaceful home life. 

The Building Regulations Approved Document E (Part E) details acoustic performances for residential dwellings, flats, rooms used for residential purposes and schools. This was developed with the aim of improving modern day living standards in relation to the effects of excessive noise and reducing unwanted noise transmission within buildings and in particular, to noise transmission within residential dwellings.

These regulations require site-measured sound mitigation of 43-45dB for airborne noise in walls, floors and stairs (depending on building type); and 62-64dB for impact noise in floors and stairs.

Building regulations are designed to ensure a standard baseline of requirements are met for health and safety purposes. That is why adhering to these requirements alone will not design out all unwanted noise - especially in settings such as cities, where high density living often results in higher than average experiences of noise.

From all this information, it is clear that something needs to be done to minimise the issue of sound. A quick, easy, and effective way of doing so is by specifying and installing sound insulation between walls and floor. This will create a high quality sound barrier to allow for a quiet night’s sleep.

Keep an eye out for our next blog, which will focus on insulation as the solution for noise.