Acoustic standards, building regulations

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has published guidance to help local authorities go above and beyond building regulations, in specifying higher acoustic standards in new build homes

The new guidance is included in an update to UKGBC’s housing standards policy playbook (slides 37 – 48) – a resource which contains policy explainers, guidance and examples for local authorities to draw on when looking to raise the bar above national standards in their areas.

Benefits through new standards

There are significant opportunities for local authorities to unlock health and wellbeing benefits through improved acoustic standards. Currently, Approved Document E of Building Regulations contains specific requirements for sound insulation between dwellings in new buildings, as well as conversions. However, these are designed to achieve a minimum standard for the protection of health and safety.

Adhering to these requirements alone will not design out all unwanted internal noise, especially in settings such as cities, where high-density living often results in higher than average experiences of noise.

There is, therefore, a gap between what dwellings meeting the Building Regulations will achieve in terms of noise management, and the ability of those dwellings to meet the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and the Noise Policy Statement for England (NPSE) to avoid ‘adverse impacts on health and quality of life’.

As such, Local Planning Authorities should consider how to use their local plans to ensure effective noise mitigation is achieved in residential developments.

The chapter has been developed by UKGBC in collaboration with Gold Leaf member Rockwool and other experts.

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