Getting new homes to comply with the Part E acoustic regulations is fairly straightforward. If housebuilders follow a set of prescribed standard construction details the homes are exempt from post-completion testing.
Nice easy details to follow, then no tests. Great.
But pity the poor people turning clapped-out old warehouses, crumbling mansions or any existing building into residential accommodation. Builders have to turn ancient floors, walls and roofs into nice and quiet,
Part E-friendly divisions between apartments. There are no standard details to follow, making compliance something of a lottery – and then apartments are subjected to post-completion testing. If it fails the flat has to be ripped apart to fix underperforming elements.
The ODPM has finally recognised this problem and commissioned Sound Research Laboratories, which is working with consultant Faber Maunsell’s Building Operational Framework Consortium, to find a solution. SRL has followed several different projects and written reports on each that contain construction details for different parts of the building, which could help others doing similar jobs to comply with Part E.
The reports are freely available at www.soundresearch.co.uk and SRL is working on two further case studies that should be available at the end of the year. Here is a snapshot of some of the details of the reports.