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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.

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.

Robust Details can be a minefield and something that Hush Acoustics can offer assistance on.

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

Airborne Sound

Airborne sound sources produce noise from vibrating the surrounding air particles. Foe example, speech, televisions and home entertainment systems create airborne noise. Airborne noise will travel through a floor, ceiling and wall structure. An airborne acoustic test will need to be passed to ensure compliance to the minimum standards in all UK Building Regulations for separating floors, ceilings and walls between separate dwellings. It is imperative that the structure is isolated and all weak points treated if airborne noise is to be reduced.

Impact Sound

Impact sound sources produce noise by direct physical excitation of part of a building. For example footsteps on a floor produce impact sound. Impact sound is best treated at the source of the problem, most commonly with an acoustic floor system. An acoustic impact test will need to be passed to ensure compliance with the all the minimum UK Building Regulations requirements.

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.

England & Wales currently fall under the Approved Document E guidelines for residential dwellings. The latest document changes came in to force in 2003. There were some slight amendments to the document in 2010. The information detailed by Hush Acoustics is in line with the most recent document.

Acoustic Testing

Acoustic testing was the major change to Document E in 2003. It became compulsory to test all change of use/conversion residential projects and any new build residential projects that had not been constructed by the 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.

Hush Acoustics do offer a UKAS accredited testing service and we can arrange sound testing for you.

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

Section 5

Scotland currently falls under Section 5 of the Scottish Building Standards for residential dwellings. The latest document changes came in to force in 2010. The information detailed by Hush Acoustics is in line with the most recent document.

The primary change to the document in 2010 are listed as follows,

  1. To limit transmission of sound to a level that will not threaten the health of occupants of residential dwellings.
  2. Improved dB ratings for separating floors and walls in multi-occupancy domestic and non-domestic buildings.
  3. Applies to Non-domestic buildings as well as domestic.
  4. A more detailed testing regime.
  5. Robust Details introduced as a secondary building method for new build residential developments
  6. More focus put on home improvements that effect sound transmission within existing residential units

Robust Details

Robust Details (Scotland) was accepted as an alternative construction method for residential projects in 2012. Robust Details is a pattern book that has a list of systems that have been through rigorous testing to ensure that they achieve minimum standards that are in excess of the minimum standards detailed in Section 5 of the Scottish Building Standards. As the systems achieve higher acoustic performance levels than the minimum standards it allows the acoustic testing element upon completion to be removed. There are benefits to Robust Details and there are limitations. It has to be right of the development in everyway. Hush Acoustics can advise on what is the best Robust Details solution for the project.

Statement of Sustainability – Scotland

The statement of sustainability was introduced into the Scottish Building Standards as a method of achieving sustainable buildings that last longer and are more efficient.

Within this document it states that every building must be constructed in such a way that:

  1. With regard to a dwelling or school building containing classrooms, a level of sustainability specified by the Scottish Minister in respect of Carbon Dioxide emissions, resource use, building flexibility, adaptability and occupant well being (acoustics falls into this category) is achieved
  2. .
  3. A statement of the level of sustainability achieved is affixed to the dwelling or non-domestic building.

The levels of sustainability is detailed in the following formats:

  • Bronze or Bronze Active
  • Silver or Silver Active
  • Gold

Bronze Level – This is the baseline level of sustainability achieved where the dwelling meets the functional standards set out in Section 5 of the Scottish Building Standards.

Bronze Active Level – There is no performance improvement for Bronze Active level.

Silver Level – A dwelling at this first optional upper level should meet all the standards in Section 1-6 that apply to the building for the Bronze level and, in addition, the dwelling should comply with the silver level in each of the eight aspects. Aspect 7 is well being & security.

A. Noise separation: Design performance levels for separating walls and separating floors associated with attached dwellings should be:

  • Minimum airborne sound insulation: 58 dB DnTw
  • Maximum impact sound transmission: 54 dB LnTw

Performance levels for noise isolation for separating walls and separating floors should be verified by carrying out a sound test as indicated in the guidance of Section 5.

B. Noise reduction between rooms: Design performance level for a minimum airborne sound insulation should be 44 dB RW.

This refers to all internal partitions in all dwellings and intermediate floors within houses and maisonettes excluding storage cupboards and should be substantiated by manufacturers laboratory test certificates.

Silver Active Level– The same acoustic performance levels mentioned in Silver Level.

Silver Level– A dwelling at this first optional upper level should meet all the standards in Section 1-6 that apply to the building for the Bronze level and, in addition, the dwelling should comply with the silver level in each of the eight aspects. Aspect 7 is well being & security.

A. Noise separation: Design performance levels for separating walls and separating floors associated with attached dwellings should be:

  • Minimum airborne sound insulation: 60 dB DnTw
  • Maximum impact sound transmission: 52 dB LnTw

Performance levels for noise isolation for separating walls and separating floors should be verified by carrying out a sound test as indicated in the guidance of Section 5.

B. Noise reduction between rooms: Design performance level for a minimum airborne sound insulation should be 45 dB RW.

This refers to all internal partitions in all dwellings and intermediate floors within houses and maisonettes excluding storage cupboards and should be substantiated by manufacturers laboratory test certificates.

MINIUM STANDARDS FOR SECTION 5 OF THE SCOTTISH BUILDING STANDARDS - TRADITIONAL BUILDINGS.

 
Airborne sound insulation
Sound insulation
dntw dB
(Minimum values)
Impact
Sound insulation
lntw dB
(Maximum values)
New Build & Conversion
Walls
56
-
Floors & Stairs
56
56

MINIUM STANDARDS FOR SECTION 5 OF THE SCOTTISH BUILDING STANDARDS - NON TRADITIONAL BUILDINGS.

 
Airborne sound insulation
Sound insulation
dntw dB
(Minimum values)
Impact
Sound insulation
lntw dB
(Maximum values)
New Build & Conversion
Walls
53
-
Floors & Stairs
53
58

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

Acoustic Testing

Acoustic testing is a major factor in the change of Part G in 2012. It is compulsory to test all change of use/conversion residential projects and any new build residential projects that had not been constructed by the 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.

Hush Acoustics do offer a UKAS accredited testing service and we can arrange sound testing for you.

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.

Robust Details can be a minefield and something that Hush Acoustics can offer assistance on.

Table 0.1a Dwelling-houses and flats – performance standards for separating walls, separating floors. Northern Ireland Part G

 
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, Northern Ireland Part G

 
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, Northern Ireland Part G

 
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

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