Housebuilders may not have to test the acoustic insulation of homes to prove they comply with Part E of the Building Regulations, provided they use approved construction methods.
After lobbying by the House Builders Federation, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister last week accepted that homes could be built to excellent acoustic standards without subjecting housebuilders to expensive testing.

The government is now consulting the industry before incorporating robust standard details into the regulations.

The details are government-approved ways of building walls and floors, in this case so that they are adequately sound-proofed.

The minister responsible for Building Regulations, Phil Hope, said: "The government is satisfied that robust standard details can provide an effective alternative to pre-completion testing, but is now consulting on the issue in order to gain a wider spectrum of opinion."

Robust standard details can provide an effective alternative to testing

Phil Hope, minister for Building Regulations

A year ago, the government proposed that housebuilders test a proportion of new dwellings to prove that they complied with the upgraded acoustic regulations.

It backed down when the HBF said testing would delay the completion of homes.

Housebuilders were particularly worried about the financial consequences of their homes failing the tests. If one home fell short of the requirement, then all similar housetypes in the development would have been tested, with the developer bearing the cost of remedial work and any delay in a sale.