The Need For Focus On Acoustics In High Density And High-Rise Residential Settings

Driven by the demand for urban living and a shortage of land to build houses on, many urban areas of the UK are seeing higher density living in high-rise developments becoming the norm. The residential apartment blocks constructed in recent years are often a far cry from the brutal edifices of the 1960s and 1970s, and display a more aspirational quality. A current example is the Brassington Avenue scheme by Glenn Howells Architects for developer Pegasus Life which is under construction in Sutton Coldfield, promising high quality environments for older residents including a 16-storey tower.

However as expectations of high-rise living increase, in line with often high-rise prices, there needs to be a keen focus on ensuring that noise issues from plumbing do not undermine all of the architects’ design goals – and the developer’s aims to retain residents. While the whirr of air conditioning can be irritating, the noise from plumbing systems in a high-rise can cause stress, sleep deprivation and more, but the problems can be designed out so that the aspirations for tranquil spaces in the agent’s literature are lived up to.


Addressing acoustic issues

Part E of the Building Regulations (2010) requires a maximum of 45 dB as a daytime average for sanitary noise in new and refurbished residential properties, and this can be a challenge to address. The problems result from structure-borne sound as well as airborne noise from water, which are normally not dealt with by the building’s insulation, but which can be remedied using a soundproof soil and waste system. Structure-borne sound can be complex to address by plumbing methods alone, requiring the plumber to minimise bends and avoid direct contact between the soil stack and the structure. However special acoustic fittings, such as the rubber-lined brackets supplied as part of our specialist acoustic AS plumbing range, help address this.

Our Wavin AS range is a robust system whose molecular structure absorbs both acoustic and structure-borne sound, and can provide a high degree of soundproofing without requiring the wrapping that normal plastic pipework would. It includes the unique feature of the AS Compensator socket which enables installers and building owners to prevent structure-borne noise. Connecting pipes, as well as pipes and fittings, the socket compensates for axial movement by adapting to temperature changes in the system, saving plumbing time and giving additional security. Its unique gasket also isolates the pipe from the fitting, to stop structure-borne noise passing from floor to floor and helping everyone enjoy a quieter life.

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