The Robust Details scheme is held up by many as a sure-fire, hassle-free way to comply to Part E.

Few realise that 2.5% of the 4,000 sites randomly tested in 2006 failed – because nobody wants to talk about it.

These statistics suggest that over the full 109,000 sites registered last year, the equivalent of 2,725 would fail if the total number of Robust Details plots were tested. This should be of particular concern to developers occupying properties completed under the scheme because, in the absence of sound test results, they have no way of knowing whether their site has problems – until occupants lodge noise complaints and they incur expensive remedial works, that is.

Sites are failing for a reason, but until the industry acknowledges that there is a problem, it can’t be properly investigated or resolved.

So for now, before choosing between pre-completion testing and Robust Details, we suggest developers take a step back and ask: can they afford to trust the robustness of the detail?

David Holder, director, CMS Acoustic Solutions