Noise Reduction for new builds. Does compliance always equal performance?

How do compliance and performance compare? And what are the issues we still encounter when planning and developing new builds and reduction of noise.

Does compliance equal performance?

You have to draw the line somewhere.  In construction, the “rule book” is set out in all 15 approved documents that make up Building Regulations which effectively form the backbone of our industry.

All very re-assuring, but when a building fulfils its destiny and people live and / or work within its walls, are we right to assume that compliance with building regulations always leads to a satisfactory result for the occupants?

Over recent years, concerns have been expressed about the performance of MVHR units, once installed.  This tells us that compliance does not always equal performance.

Another example may be written into Approved Document E Resistance to the Passage of Sound.  In Section 3:  Separating floors and associated flanking constructions for new buildings, there is a robust detail showing how pipework through floor penetrations which separate flats should be wrapped with 25mm unfaced mineral wool. However, compliance with this detail does not in itself guarantee that the homeowner won’t hear any noise.  A soil stack may still produce unwanted noise by:

  • Having too many offsets;
  • Every stack in a development may not have been checked by building control
  • Bracketing could be missing or set at incorrect intervals
  • Proper allowance may not have been made for thermal expansion.

Airborne and impact noise tests only measure the performance of whole room, without testing the performance of the soil stack when in use; so when it comes to the soil stack, any design or installations errors can easily have been overlooked by the time the building is handed over.

What’s more important, regulatory compliance or happy customers? 

There’s nothing like a flushing WC or an emptying bath to reveal any unwanted noise, so maybe the time has come for post installation performance tests for soil stacks? Let us know your thoughts.

See Wavin Acoustic Soil in action

At a £9 million care home development in Sunderland, sound proofing between apartments was a key requirement which led to the specification of the Wavin AS System, an internal drainage system which offered low noise, durability and ease of installation. Click here