In contemporary Britain, the issue of noise within residential buildings is considered a health and safety issue, as well as an irritation. External noise sources – such as noisy neighbours and nearby traffic – are becoming increasingly problematic for occupants and, thus, detrimental to their health.
Hush Acoustics offers an explanation of residential acoustics, and information on what homeowners can do to reduce noise levels and soundproof their properties.
According to Hush, there are three main sound sources that can affect residential buildings: airborne, impact and flanking transmission.
Airborne sound sources include music and TV, whilst impact sounds can include sudden noises, like footsteps. Flanking transmission is indirect sound transmission that bypasses a floor or wall system and travels through connected paths.
UK Building Regulations require that these noises are controlled to ensure comfortable living in residential buildings.
By specifying high quality acoustic products, which offer compliance with UK Building Regulations, the noise levels in residential buildings can be significantly reduced.
The most important regulations for residential builds are Approved Document E (England & Wales), Section 5 of the Scottish Building Standards (Scotland) and Approved Part G (Northern Ireland): these establish critical criteria for sound insulation performance for different types of residential accommodation, including multi-occupancy and single dwellings.
Approved Document E (England & Wales) has various requirements relating to sound, specifying that residential buildings should be protected against sound from other parts of the building and adjoining buildings; reverberation in common internal parts of buildings containing flats or single occupancy rooms.
These requirements are enforced by two methods: pre-completion testing (PCT) and Robust Details (RD). New build, refurbishment and change of use residential developments that are not built by means of Robust Details, require PCT to determine their compliancy with building regulations.
Robust Details are separating wall and floor constructions that are built to specific requirements set out by Robust Details Ltd. They do not require pre-completion testing.
Hush believes that early acoustic advice is crucial to achieve effective levels of soundproofing.
By attaining early design advice, architects, contractors and developers can be assured that their project will achieve compliance with UK Building Regulations and Standards, minimising the potential for failures.
This also reduces the need for costly and disruptive remedial measures later on.
The planning and design process requires designers to consider the noise exposure of the residential site, factoring in internal and external sources. Internal factors include building layout, acoustic screening, reverberation control and room acoustics, and protection from communal areas.
External factors include outside noises such as road traffic, railways, noisy neighbours and other local influences.
44 Canal Street,
Phone: 0151 933 2026
Fax: 0151 944 1146
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