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Acoustic Building Regulations

The nuisance of noise is regarded as a health and safety issue for persons living in dwellings and all occupants of a dwelling should be allowed to follow normal domestic activities, including sleep and rest, without threat to their health from noise.

Noise is transmitted in buildings by both airborne and impact sound sources and UK Building Regulations requires that both these noise types are controlled. Practical guidance to meet with Building Regulation requirements is given within Approved Document E.

Sound insulation, in general terms, is the prevention of airborne and impact sound being transmitted from one part of a building to another through separating floors, ceilings or walls.

Find out more about Floating Acoustic Flooring, Flooring Battens, Resilient Ceiling and Wall Bars, Sound Reduction Systems and more, from Hush. Or connect with Rob Crampton.

Robust Details

Robust Details (RD) are high performance separating wall and floor constructions that are expected to be sufficiently reliable not to need the check provided by pre-completion testing (PCT). A set of design details which achieve compliance with requirement E1 have been approved by Robust Details Ltd.

Builders intending to use any of these design details must register the project with Robust Details Ltd and follow, to the letter, procedures issued by Robust Details Ltd.

For further information on Robust Details visit www.robustdetails.com

Airborne Sound

Airborne sound sources produce noise by vibrating the surrounding air, for example - speech, televisions and home entertainment systems. Airborne sound insulation is concerned with reducing this sound transmission through separating floors and walls.

Impact Sound

Impact sound sources produce noise by direct physical excitation of a part of a building, for example footsteps on a floor. Impact sound insulation is concerned with resisting this impact sound upon separating floors.

Flanking Transmission

Flanking transmission occurs when sound is transmitted from one space to another indirectly, through adjoining parts of the structure. For example, impact sound may be transmitted from one room to another through a timber floor, but also through the supporting wall.

Flanking transmission is always a potential problem within any structure, in particular, buildings being converted, and depending on the intensity of the acoustic energy received via flanking transmission paths, the effectiveness of sound insulation of separating partitions can be much lower than expected from their construction.

Careful consideration must be given to the effect of flanking transmission within any building and all potential flanking paths must be identified and eliminated prior to the installation of any sound insulation system.

Building Regulations New Approved Document E came into force on 1st July 2003 with the introduction of pre-completion testing (PCT) for sound insulation as a means of demonstrating compliance, and as from 1st July 2004 the use of Robust Details (RD) in new build has been accepted as an alternative to pre-completion testing.

Requirements E1, E2 and E3 of Document E apply to the sound insulation of any type of conversion or new build used as a dwelling including; houses, apartments, hostel rooms, hotels, boarding houses, halls of residence and residential homes. Requirement E4 applies to acoustic conditions in schools.

Performance standards are given for each requirement, as follows.

Table 0.1a Dwelling-houses and flats – performance standards for separating walls, separating floors, and stairs that have a separating function

 
Airborne sound insulation
Sound insulation
ctr dB
(Minimum values)
Impact
Sound insulation
lntw dB
(Maximum values)
Purpose built dwelling - houses and flats
Walls
45
-
Floors & Stairs
45
62
Dwelling - houses and flats formed by material change of use
Walls
43
-
Floors & Stairs
43
64

Table 0.1b Rooms for residential purposes – performance standards for separating walls, separating floors, and stairs that have a separating function

 
Airborne sound insulation
Sound insulation
ctr dB
(Minimum values)
Impact
Sound insulation
lntw dB
(Maximum values)
Purpose built dwelling - houses and flats
Walls
43
-
Floors & Stairs
45
62
Dwelling - houses and flats formed by material change of use
Walls
43
-
Floors & Stairs
43
64

Table 0.2 Laboratory values for new internal walls and floors within dwelling-houses, flats and rooms for residential purposes, whether purpose built or formed by material change of use.

 
Airborne sound insulation
rw dB
(Minimum values)
 
Walls
40
 
Floors
40
 

For further information on Approved Document E visit www.communities.gov.uk or www.planningportal.gov.uk

Pre-completion testing applies to all conversion projects and new build projects not built by means of Robust Details. At least 10 percent of each type of all new residential properties are tested to determine fulfillment of the regulations and pre-completion testing must always be carried out by an accredited acoustic engineer.

Contact with suitable sound testing companies can be arranged through our technical department.

Robust Details

Robust Details (RD) are high performance separating wall and floor constructions that are expected to be sufficiently reliable not to need the check provided by pre-completion testing (PCT). A set of design details which achieve compliance with requirement E1 have been approved by Robust Details Ltd.

Builders intending to use any of these design details must register the project with Robust Details Ltd and follow, to the letter, procedures issued by Robust Details Ltd.

For further information on Robust Details visit www.robustdetails.com

Scottish Building Regulations Part H, Regulation 19-21, Resistance to Transmission of Sound

 
Airborne sound insulation
Sound insulation
dntw dB
(Minimum values)
Impact
Sound insulation
lntw dB
(Maximum values)
New Build & Conversion
Walls
53
-
Floors & Stairs
52
61

For further information please visit www.scotland.gov.uk

Northern Ireland Building Regulations Part G, Sound Insulation in Dwellings

 
Airborne sound insulation
Sound insulation
dntw dB
(Minimum values)
Impact
Sound insulation
lntw dB
(Maximum values)
New Build
Floors
52
61
Conversion
Floors
48
65
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