Author Topic: Noise transmission and compliance with Approved Document E  (Read 1189 times)

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Noise transmission and compliance with Approved Document E
« on: June 06, 2018, 10:21:48 pm »
I purchased a newly-built flat last Autumn and I have been experiencing a lot of noise transmission from adjacent flats. In particular, it seems that there is a lot of transmission of impact noise. I have already gleaned a lot of useful information about sound insulation issues in new-builds from this forum so thank you to the administrator and everyone who has posted their issue here. I do however have some questions that I have not been able to find answers to:

1) I have raised the noise transmission issue with the housebuilder who refused to provide me with the sound testing report for my apartment block. Oddly enough, I know of at least one other resident in the same development who made the same request and who was provided with a sound test report for the apartment block in which he lives (the development is split into multiple apartment blocks).
Does refusing to provide me with a sound test report for my particular apartment block raise any red flags with those more experienced in dealing with home builders? I was under the impression that a sound test report is a fairly innocuous document (i.e. it does not include any sensitive information about the builder and its operations/designs) so I am a little puzzled by this refusal.
I am aware that I can try to make a Subject Access Request but before taking that step I wanted to get a sense for how suspicious this refusal to provide a sound test report is.

2) Irrespective of whether the housebuilder ends up providing me with a sound test report for my apartment block, I would like to commission my own sound test to verify that the separating walls in my flat meet the requirements dictated by Approved Document E. If the tests for my particular flat fail, could the home builder claim that it is still compliant with building regulations since the flats it sampled itself for sound testing all passed?

3) What type of sound transmission can be expected in a newly-built flat that meets the standards laid out by Approved Document E? The apartment block in which my flat is situated is probably a timber frame construction although I am not entirely sure. Also, all of the flats in the apartment block have vinyl wood flooring. When I am inside the flat, it seems like I can hear every single footstep that my neighbors (either adjacent or above) take. When someone moves a chair in the flat above mine it sounds like someone is re-arranging furniture (I checked with the neighbors; they were not re-arranging furniture).  Whenever the neighbors with whom I share a separating wall play music, the entire separating wall vibrates and I can hear the music quite clearly in my flat.

Additional information: the flat was purchased less than two years ago and is covered by a NHBC Buildmark warranty.

Any and all insight on the above questions would be highly appreciated!

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Re: Noise transmission and compliance with Approved Document E
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2018, 09:30:53 am »
Noise transmission in new flats is a particular issue with many buyers especially with timber frame construction.  You should have been given a NHBC card which gives details of the construction of your new home at handover.
Some housebuilders are worst than others for this so you should name the housebuilder here.

1) Refusing to give you the acoustic testing report does raise suspicions that something could be wrong, more especially as it was given to a buyer in another block. I would make a Subject Access Request anyway as it is now free to do so.

2) An independent sound test is a good idea and can confirm or otherwise, any housebuilder sound test assuming that one was ever carried out on your block (reason that they may be reluctant to give it to you if it doesn't exist!) The housebuilder and/or NHBC will either accept it or not, largely depending on whether your building fails to meet part E requirements.

3) You should not be hearing the amount of sound you are, in any new home especially those built this century.

I would advise that you make a claim to the NHBC is the housebuilder continues to stonewall you regarding this.  Write to your MP and demand that he supports the setting up of an independent New Homes Ombudsman.

New Home Blog - New Home Expert is committed to providing help and advice for people having issues with their new homes and difficulties with house builders as well as helping potential buyers reduce the risk of possible problems if they do buy.

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Re: Noise transmission and compliance with Approved Document E
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2018, 02:05:24 am »
Thank you for the reply! It is much appreciated.

The housebuilder is Countryside Properties.

I will have an independent sound test done and I will continue to press the housebuilder for more details on their own sound testing of the block. I will post back here with any updates.