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This section provides information on acoustics related guidance and regulations of direct relevance to building designers, project managers, builders and other commissioning clients. More information on documents will be added over time!

Part E Building Regulations 2003 [Approved Document E]

Standards of construction to control the passage of sound between dwellings with the aim of protecting residents from noise in adjoining properties.

Of use to: Architects, builders, property developers

Description:

Approved Document E provides testable minimum standards for sound insulation in buildings designed for residential use. The Regulations apply to any kind of building used as a dwelling, either newly built or created as the result of conversion from another building type. Part E covers houses, apartments and also ‘rooms for residential purposes’ which includes hotels, student accommodation and nursing homes.

The document is available to download at:

http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/england/professionals/buildingregs/technicalguidance/bcresistancetosoundparte/bcapproveddocuments3

In order to demonstrate compliance to Building Control, pre-completion testing must be carried out; Part E provides information on identifying a suitable programme of testing.

As a general guide, 1 ‘set’ of tests should be carried out for every 10 dwellings in a development. A ‘set’ of tests is defined depending on the layout of the dwellings. For example, in an apartment block where there are both separating floors and walls, a set of tests would usually comprise 6 tests, i.e.

2 x airborne tests through walls (1 bedroom, 1 living room)

2 x airborne tests through floors (1 bedroom, 1 living room)

2 x impact tests through floors (as above)

The set shown above may be reduced as appropriate, so for example where there are no separating floors, a total of 2 tests would be carried out for every 10 dwellings.

The construction of the development is also taken into consideration in that testing should be carried out to each construction type in the development; this is called ‘grouping’. For example, in a conversion where old elements meet new, or one area is new-build while other areas retain existing features, each type of construction would generally require its own ‘set’ of tests as described above.

Building Bulletin 93: Acoustic Design of Schools

BB93 aims to provide a regulatory framework for the acoustic design of schools in support of the Building Regulations.

Of use to: Architects, building services engineers, others involved in the design of schools

Description:

BB93 is a guide through the process of the acoustic design of schools in the context of the various types of spaces and activities. It contains performance standards, acoustic principles, good design practice, calculation procedures, case studies on existing schools, and an example submission to a Building Control Body.

BB93 can be downloaded at the following link:

http://www.teachernet.gov.uk/management/resourcesfinanceandbuilding/schoolbuildings/environ/acoustics/

The abolition of the Building Schools for the Future program and the government review on education has put the future of BB93 into question. At present there is a threat of Part E4 of the Building Regulations being scrapped or replaced, which may seriously compromise the requirements of schools developers to comply with acoustics guidance.

As a guide to architects involved in education schemes, Azymuth Acoustics has designed a sound insulation calculator based on parameters described in BB93. The calculator generates a target Rw value for partitions based on user input of room type, size etc.

The calculator aims to assist the architect during the outline design stage to arrive at a guide working target Rw for sound insulation of walls and floors. Using this target, from sources such as the British Gypsum White Book, a likely required build-up can be identified from an early stage. Wall thickness, for example, can have a significant effect on the size of rooms in a scheme. Knowing the likely required wall thickness from an early stage precludes surprises (i.e. a required increase) further down the line once rooms have been laid out with a specific floor area in mind.

Start using the calculator now>>

Health Technical Memorandum 08-01

HTM 08-01 sets out acoustic criteria for the design and management of new healthcare facilities. The document provides guidance from which solutions may be developed to meet the criteria.

Of use to: Architects, building services engineers, others involved in the design and commissioning of healthcare facilities.

Description:

HTM 08-01 details acoustic requirements for healthcare developments, including sound insulation, criteria on acceptable noise levels in various room types, building services noise control and room acoustics.

Good acoustic conditions improve patient privacy and dignity, and promote essential sleep patterns which are important to healing. Good acoustic design brings other benefits in terms of patient and staff comfort and morale, as well as improved efficiency and usability of equipment.

As a guide to architects involved in education schemes, Azymuth Acoustics has designed a sound insulation calculator based on parameters described in HTM 08. The calculator generates a target Rw value for partitions based on user input of room type, size etc.

The calculator aims to assist the architect during the outline design stage to arrive at a guide working target Rw for sound insulation of walls and floors. Using this target, from sources such as the British Gypsum White Book, a likely required build-up can be identified from an early stage. Wall thickness, for example, can have a significant effect on the size of rooms in a scheme. Knowing the likely required wall thickness from an early stage precludes surprises (i.e. a required increase) further down the line once rooms have been laid out with a specific floor area in mind.

Start using the calculator now>>