Noise complaints are still on the rise in the UK, but it’s not only our neighbours who are to blame.

A decline in the standards of acoustic products and inadequate Part E sound testing procedures are also a major factor. Also, with sound regulations not being reviewed until 2016 – it can only get worse.

Part E sets out to protect residents from the transmission of sound from “normal domestic activities”. So why are products and sites tested in unloaded conditions, which is equivalent to an unfurnished and unoccupied space? But it’s not only testing that is failing. With the prevalence of cheap products, sites are meeting Part E initially, yet failing within a short space of time. Part E should be tightened with regards to the lifespan of acoustic products, but more importantly for the performance levels too.

However, preliminary plans indicate that Scotland is almost certain to have more robust building regulations than England and Wales with the revision of their Technical Handbook, Section five. So for England and Wales, now is the time to make the adjustment. Not 2016, when we’ll be looking at a radical overhaul rather than a natural progression.

Paul Absolon, director, CMS Acoustics