Author Topic: Sound proofing Barratt ground floor flat ceiling/floor not built as certified  (Read 3455 times)

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kateandsteve

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My girlfriend bought a Barratt ground floor massionette from new. She has lived in the property for two and half years. During this time she has experienced transfer of noise from the upstairs massionette such as: footsteps as if stomping, things being dropped on the floor, door hinges creaking, tumble driers/washing machines, electrical sockets being plugged into and switched, water running through pipes, a toddler throughout he day crying and waking/stirring/screaming through the night at random leading her to sleep with earplugs every night.

My girlfriend was under the impression that above the plasterboard ceiling an acoustic layer of insulation was installed on build. So I took out a down-lighter in the living room to check. I found that there was no insulation but a void and then pre-cast slab.

We contacted Barratt after sales to question what they have on record for the property. They quoted a robust detail e-fc-14. We contacted robust details and they also had on file e-fc-14.
We also looked through the paper files handed over when the property was moved in to and found two copies of robust details compliance certificates signed by the project manager and senior site supervisor stating the ceiling/floor void is installed to e-fc-14.

We sent pictures of the ceiling void to Robust details and they said that the ceiling void is missing the acoustic insulation and rubber grommets where the metal framed ceiling is attached to the slab. And strictly speaking a sound test should have been conducted as they have not complied with the robust detail registered.

Barratt just keep replying saying it's built to building regs for passage of sound. But the builder has clearly not fitted the ceiling as per the certificates issued.

Should there be a specification for the build stating the ceiling/floor between the massionette? And do we have a right to request/see this?

Any help on what to do next or where to turn would be hugely appreciated.

Kate and Steve


New Home Expert

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Robust Details are standard details that should meet the required performance standards to meet building regulations. negating the need for performance testing of each home.  In other words they are a housebuilders 'Get out of Jail free' card.

But........ there is no guarantee or independent inspection requirement to ensure the building has been built exactly, with no defects to comply with the specifics of a robust detail. All that is required is the site manager to sign off each home as complying with the particular robust details. It means nothing and he may not even know what to look for.

The Robust Detail you quoted e-fc-14 is shown below.  It is critically important that the surface of the floor above is separated from the underlining building structure ie the PCC floor planks and the block walls. Furthermore, there should be no gaps in the structure that could allow the passage of sound and more importantly, the spread of smoke and fire.

It might be a case that around the down-lighters the insulation is kept away to avoid the lights overheating. But as Robust Details said your pictures show no acoustic insulation and that the ceiling is not isolated from the floor with rubber mountings it is clear the detail has not been followed and Barratt and the NHBC should put this right.

The next phase of your complaint will normally involve attempts at no action being required with sound transmittance testing being used to demonstrate a "pass". If it fails, then Barratt/NHBC will claim that it is impact sound, or flanking sound, possibly then claiming that this not covered by the Building Regulations Part E. In my opinion it is. Sound insulation means all sound.

The worst thing is the property is over 2 years old and is not now covered by the builders part of the NHBC warranty. I very much doubt the NHBC will do anything UNLESS the issue was raised with them and/or Barratt during the first two years.

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kateandsteve

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Thank you for your reply New Home Expert,

I have attached two screen-shots of the video which was sent to Barratt and Robust details. This ceiling void is above the kitchen and living area. I have no means of looking above the bedrooms and hallway but Im pretty sure the insulation is missing throughout the property.

We have very little confidence in the wall insulation detail also as sound seems to travel through the cavity walls.

We have contacted our local authority building control board to see if they signed off the build. But it seems Barratt have used NHBC or a third party.

My partner has played email ping pong with Barratt as they just keep replying saying it is built to building regulations?


kateandsteve

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Update:
It seems that Isosonic cleats with pads HAVE been used. See pic.

WOULD THE CEILING/FLOOR TYPE BE LISTED OR SPECIFIED ON ANY PRE-BUILD/PRE-PURCHASE DOCUMENTATION?

And I guess its very unlikely that Barratt would supply this information.

New Home Expert

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The fact is, the Robust Details have not been complied with and your property has been falsely certified as being constructed to the specific requirements of the detail.

It does not matter if the specification you were shown at reservation for the type was different as whateverit is, it must meet the requirements of the building regulations, by law!

The NHBC are most likely to have been used by Barratt for building control as well and warranty inspections. It is much better if the actual Local Authority undertake building regulation compliance inspections. Note this is NOT the same as LABC warranty building control inspections.
It is clear that the insulation under the floor is missing.  From what you have aid it is also highly likely that the perimeter isolation of the floor above has not been installed or badly executed.

Quiet how this could be judged as meeting and complying with Part E Building Regulations I don't know.
Perhaps you should write top Barratt CEO Dave Thomas Email is david.thomas@barrattplc.co.uk and ask him why his supposed 5 star rated company is fobbing you off?

You can also complain about building control non-compliance with your local authority who have powers to enforce compliance remedial works.  Failing that, you can complain about this to http://cic.org.uk/services/complaints.php


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kateandsteve

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Wow, thank you New Home Expert. Your advice is hugely appreciated. We will contact the links you've supplied.

Thanks again  :)

bruno

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I'm having the same issues in terms of lack of soundproofing.
I can hear the neighbour next door when turns the power socket on. What disturbs me the most is the constant thud of footsteps above me. Took off a down-lights at the kitchen and there is a big gap between the ceiling and the concrete above. I was expecting to see insulation. I can't check on bedroom because the lighting is different there.

I could only check with my phone, which doesn't have in the light hole to see what else is or not there.

I have not yet got in touch with Barratt.
Any advice of what next steps should be? What I should ask Barrat in terms of soundproofing of the building? By the way, it has been around 4 years now from the completion of the flat.

I'm happy to get some professional to check what has been done and it matches what building regulations say. But I'm not really sure who to ask and what to ask.

Kareandsteve, were you able to resolve your issue with Barratt?


New Home Expert

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At 4 years it is too late to complain to Barratt - but I suggest you try and write a letter anyway and publish their response online.

The NHBC won't be interested either as it is not structural.

Insulation in the ceiling void would have helped.

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bruno

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Thanks for the reply New Home Expert.
Do you know if insulation is mandatory soundproofing regulation?
I don't even know what to mention to Barratt. I was hoping some information you mentioned above would also apply to my case, but again not sure what is mandatory or not.

On another note, do you know any company that would be able to do an assessment and or improve soundproofing?
Not sure how much it would cost, but if Barratt doesn't do anything (and I bet that's what it will happen), then I may just look at getting it fixed myself.

New Home Expert

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Try Google!

The requirement is that a certain level of sound insulation transference must be achieved.
How it's done is up to the designer.
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bruno

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Update:
NHBC has said is now more than 2 years, the issue is not covered by the existing warranty.
Barratt replied to email stating that the acoustic layer is between the structural slab and screed and there is none between the ceiling void. I've asked for further details what exactly has been done.

New Home Expert

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This is a great example of why the new home warranty does not give "peace of mind" for those buying new homes and a nudge as to why ALL issues should be reported to the housebuilder before the 2-years are up.

Hopefully, Barratt will step up and help. At least it appears they are being honest.
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bruno

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When Barratt said that there was no insulation in the void, my understanding was that they are basically saying that there was never meant to be any.

Got a reply with more detail of what soundproofing they have done, adding here for reference. Here is what they said:
"There is a 10mm thick foam separation layer between the structural slab and screed.
Screed is separated from that in other flats, at party walls, and at front door thresholds is separated from the screed in the corridor.
The tops of the internal walls and party walls have an acoustic break.
Ceilings are mounted on a grid which is fixed to the walls, but hung from the soffit of the slab. Limiting the connections between slab and ceiling, thereby limiting sound transference points.
Party walls are built as two separated walls. With sound deadening plasterboard and insulation at their core. "

There is no proposal to look come look at anything or mention that something is not correct / missed. I don't think there is a way to now check things were done properly anyways, so I guess I will just have to try find someone that can help with the noise somehow.

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I doubt very much that Barratt would admit to not putting sound insulation in the void between the ceiling and the underside of the concrete floor if insulation was supposed to be there.

I doubt very much that the weight if a 65mm thick cement:sand screed could be supported Ion a 10mm thick foam layer sufficiently to isolate it from the structural floor below. The 100mm foam is used to isolate the floor from the walls but this will only be effective if the skirting is fixed above the screed.

Sound reducing plasterboard should have been used on the ceilings.
The ceiling should have been fixed to battens or a metal grid, suspended from metal hangers off the PPC floor above. I take it "hung" would indicate this.

Even if you took down ceiling to check I don't think Barratt or the NHC would do anything now even if it breached building regulations for sound transference.
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bruno

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I understand NHBC distancing themselves from this. but if it was proven that Barratt breached building regulations, isn't there an enforcement entity that could make them fix it? Or at least fine them?
One thing is for materials used not to be the best and things not last as long as expected etc, but isn't the point of building regulations to ensure they are followed and fine those that don't? After all is the law.
Or am I expecting too much?