If you are a resident of the United Kingdom and want to do a remodelling job or build a house from scratch, you have to follow certain regulatory guidelines, i.e. Part E Building Regulations. This is true pretty much everywhere in the world, but the UK principles are even more complex. Luckily there is an alternative, but more about it alter. Regulations are not necessarily bad, of course.
Even when they require a very high standard, in the end, they are for the citizens, especially when it comes to soundproofing. A soundproofed home usually suggests a home with better insulation and a higher general standard as well.
in this article
Part E – Resistance to the passage of sound
The document was first approved back in 2003, with plus amendments added a year later. They stated that if a UK resident wants to build a new home or soundproof an existing house (or some of its walls), they must meet a minimum insulation performance standard. These standards were carefully calculated and determined.
It is called sound insulation value, and that value is calculated from a dB equation. The equation itself is fairly complicated, but the standard it represents isn’t. It states that a house can only meet the regulation if that value is equal to or higher than 45 dB DnTw+Ctr. On top of that, each result of the test should be equal to or less than 62 dB LnTw. These values apply to new houses under the“purpose-built” designation.
There is another category called “Material Change of Use”, which means converted walls. This can happen during a remodel or when one has to comply with the regulations. The insulation value in these cases has to be equal or higher than 43 dB DnTw+Ctr, while being equal or less than 64 dB LnTw on each and every test.
There is a minimum standard with new internal walls and floors as well, provided that the home was built for residential purposes. In these cases the minimum performance should be at least 40dB (under a laboratory test). The test has to be done by accredited UKAS laboratories that were assigned to do them since the mid 2000’s.
The test is mandatory
Building regs Part E requires that the house passes the building regulations sound test before it is completed. This regulation is in place since the very beginning these guidelines were out, before the amendments has been made in 2004. In order to pass each and every one of these guidelines, the constructors has to assess the walls and floors separately, and test them before completion.
Unless the Robust Details approach was used during the building of the property (more about that below), the UKAS registered tests are necessary and without them, the regulation house status is impossible. Once the tests has been done and the property passed them, the building process can be completed.
When the regulations were implemented back in in 2003, the building industry insisted on the government finding an alternative solution to the pre-completion sound testing in parts of the UK (precisely in Wales and England). They thought they could do it better and they were right. The industry got a year to work on their proposal which would provide and adequate sound insulation in new homes, and they came up with a good one.
The proposal they managed to come up with was called RSDs (Robust Standard Details), supported by the HBF (Home Builders Federation). The method became available in May of 2004, providing a nice alternative for those who wanted to pass building regs Part E without the completion of a UKAS registered test.
Not to mention the building industry itself, which definitely preferred their method for various reasons. The RDL company went under a three-year review later during which it was determined that they met or exceeded every expectations, getting a green light for the foreseeable future.
By March 2012, the RDL received more than half a million registrations under these guidelines, making the process an overwhelming success. The company has carried out more than 10,000 sound tests and inspections since, with a 96% success rate that is well above the industry standards.