Acoustics case grows louder in future homes thinking
The government has signalled its intent to drive up standards in house building and find a better way for defects and homebuyer complaints to be handled. But one element of a home’s construction that often makes the difference between a good home and a poor quality property is conspicuous by its absence – acoustic performance.
The calls to improve the quality of the UK’s new build homes grow louder every year. But as every new home is essentially a unique construction – apart from those built using MMC – there will always be the potential for variations in craftsmanship and mistakes to be made. That means minimum standards will not always be met and quality standards simply cannot be policed across every new home’s construction.
This process goes a long way to explain why the quality and refinement of many new homes is lacking. When you contrast this with the way that factory-built new cars have improved over the past three decades the difference is stark. Cars of the 80s and 90s that used to rattle and fall into a state of disrepair all too easily are now a thing of the past, replaced with high quality vehicles whether you are buying a budget Dacia or a premium Mercedes.
Housing has progressed far more slowly. Yes, some improvements have been made to the way we build in areas such as energy efficiency and security, but many other aspects seem to be continuously ignored despite the fact that product manufacturers are continuously innovating.
There is no clearer illustration of this than the fact that acoustic improvements have no significant part in the government’s high profile Future Homes Standard (FHS). The phasing out of gas boilers in new homes from 2025 grabbed all the headlines when it was announced earlier this year, but look at the detail and the only improvements proposed for acoustics is where noisy ventilation systems are concerned.
This is a strange omission when you consider that poor acoustics and noise problems are at the heart of many complaints by new home buyers and renters. From noisy neighbours in connected
properties to annoyances like the sound of light switches and footsteps on wooden flooring, the solutions for addressing these issues are here today, well developed and work!
But only by going beyond the current minimum acoustic standards of Approved Document E for England and Wales and the equivalents in Scotland and Northern Ireland, can builders and developers transform end-user satisfaction ratings. Simply complying with the minimum won’t go far enough because we can’t expect to build in a way that meets the expectations of today’s end-users by relying on standards that haven’t been upgraded in a meaningful way since 2003.
Acoustic insulation has come a long way in that time and Hush Acoustics have been at the forefront here in the UK. Our products have been designed, manufactured and tested to properly address all types of noise transmission issues in residential, commercial and public buildings. And to make it easier for specifiers and clients to achieve a wall, floor or ceiling construction that works acoustically, Hush also offers a wide range of complete tested systems.
All this makes a strong case for acoustic performance to be part of the next wave of standards in new homes and we will continue to bang the drum! But there’s no need to wait for legislation or standards bodies to catch-up and enforcing higher acoustic performance standards on construction. Any builder can take the lead and step-up quality today by researching better ways of building acoustically and seeking specialist advice to get it right.
Hush even provides solutions for Robust Details which can make construction even easier with effective results achievable providing the methods are followed to the word and no individual products are substituted in the make-up.