Crap soundproofing in new house (recourse to law ?)

Discussion in 'Misc DIY' started by Richard, Jan 12, 2004.

  1. Richard

    Richard Guest

    We have just moved into a brand new house (Bloor Homes) and I'm shocked at
    the poor level of soundproofing between our lounge and the neighbours
    kitchen. I can clearly hear them speaking and if there was no TV on in our
    lounge I would actually be able to hear what they were saying. I did find a
    6inch x 2inch hole in the plasterboard, hiding behind the fake fireplace
    they put in but I'm not sure how much difference filling that up will make.

    Before I phone them up to complain, does anyone here know whether house
    builders have to ensure at least a reasonable level of soundproofing between
    houses by law ?? After all, I could easily prove that my wife & I would be
    unable to have a "private" conversation in that room and surely we can all
    expect privacy in our own home. Any thoughts ??

    P.S It's end-terraced in a row of 3 houses but our house is bigger than the
    other coming out further at the front & the back .... it's also on Duchy of
    Cornwall land so has many restrictions on it
    Richard, Jan 12, 2004
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  2. Richard

    Toby Guest

    The Approved Documents which form the basis for the building regulations are
    your friend. Sound insulation requirements are covered in Part E of Schedule
    1 from:
    Toby, Jan 12, 2004
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  3. Richard

    Richard Guest

    Hello Toby,

    Thanks for such a quick response.

    Schedule 1 of the link deals with the testing of the property with regard to
    sound insulation - so I know now what test results to ask for should they
    say that there's nothing wrong. But really I'm looking for figures or broad
    definitions as to what a purchaser of a new house can "reasonably" expect
    from a house builder as so much of "noise" is subjective.

    To put it another way, once the builder has completed the tests referred to
    in this PDF, what does he compare his results to ?? What is the minimum
    standard required ?? (be it measured in decibels or whatever else).

    Richard, Jan 12, 2004
  4. Richard

    Richard Guest

    Oopps - just found Schedule 0 which does give db figures ... any further
    thoughts are welcome though.

    Richard, Jan 12, 2004
  5. Richard

    Angela Guest

    You might want to cross post your question to who may be
    familiar with this issue as well.

    All I know is that I have a brand new (timber framed) house and I
    can't hear a peep out of next door. Whatever the building regs are
    you shouldn't be able to hear what would be considered normal every
    day sounds, so if you can hear talking then there is a problem. My
    neighbour plays his music much louder than I do (I have been round
    there and we can't talk over it so he has to turn it down) and I have
    never heard his stereo, TV or anything. I can however *feel* it if
    he slams his front door. Oh, and I should say...........I am not
    deaf!!! :eek:)


    P.S. contact the council building inspector about it sooner rather
    than later as they wont touch it after 6 months.
    Angela, Jan 12, 2004
  6. Richard

    Richard Guest

    All I know is that I have a brand new (timber framed) house and I
    Yes - a pretty big problem I think. Building Regs are what I need on my
    side though regardless of whether the average person agrees with you & I as
    to what is reasonable or not.

    From a DIY point of view, the only real solution to this problem is another
    layer of plasterboard on the terraced side of every adjoining room (and all
    the upheaval hassle that will cause) ... correct ??
    Richard, Jan 12, 2004
  7. Richard

    Sneezy Guest

    I seem to remember reading something about soundproofing. I think it was in
    yesterday's Times. Less than a £1000 for one wall I think it said. It
    naturally recommended against DIY on the basis that the "professionals" use
    better materials. Informative article.

    Sneezy, Jan 12, 2004
  8. Richard

    Angela Guest

    I don't think would be anywhere near sufficient. They have probably
    just forgot to put in the sound proofing material between the walls,
    particularly as it is only one room that is a problem. It should be
    a matter of taking down the plasterboard, putting in what is missing,
    re-doing the plasterboard and redecorating. It will be a great
    inconvenience to you though!

    Get in touch with the building inspector, in my experience as long as
    you don't want to complain about him, he will help you.

    Angela, Jan 12, 2004
  9. Richard

    N. Thornton Guest

    Look up how the BBC do it.

    Regards, NT
    N. Thornton, Jan 12, 2004
  10. Richard

    derek Guest

    In my experience they don't. It's easier and more effective to stop
    unwanted sound being created in the first place. Hence the
    proliferation of SILENCE notices and red lights outside studios.

    derek, Jan 12, 2004
  11. Richard

    dg Guest

    Yes it should be built to the relevant NHBC standard and the relevant
    approved document (or similar)

    However sound proofing is a subjective area.

    If a person has sensitive hearing (or just notices sounds more acutely) and
    lives next to a family who talk loudly or in a certain way, and have rooms
    with no carpets and lots of bare [sound reflective] surfaces, then that
    person is more likely to hear sounds from the neighbour. But this will not
    automatically mean that there is a structural fault.

    But there could be design or construct issues that are allowing more sound
    through than is acceptable.

    You first port of call is to get the builder and local building control to
    confirm that the properties were built to spec.

    But you should also speak to the neighbour to see if they have the same
    complaint. If not, you may be stumped

    Have a look at for advice about new home

    dg, Jan 12, 2004
  12. Richard

    Dave Plowman Guest

    So you stop the traffic and the planes?
    Dave Plowman, Jan 13, 2004
  13. Richard

    Hugo Nebula Guest

    This is a new version of the Sound Insulation requirements which only
    came into force in July last year, and it's almost certain (unless the
    builders worked at breakneck speed) that the old one will apply. The
    old requirements only gave a number of 'deemed to satisfy' standard
    details, which if the builder worked to, would comply. The only
    recourse you have is to show that the construction doesn't meet the
    details, which would probably involve removing the plasterboard and
    some blockwork!

    Even under the new Part E, the requirement for testing of new build
    housing hasn't been implimented.
    Hugo Nebula, Jan 13, 2004
  14. Richard

    derek Guest

    I can't recall much of a problem with either over a couple of decades
    of "Last Night of the Proms", or any sound OB's for that matter. But I
    suppose these factors must influence the choice of places where
    studios are built. Good micophones in the right place are the essence
    of good sound.

    The point I wanted to make is that "The BBC" doesn't have a solution
    to extraneous noise nuisance that can be readily cut/pasted into a
    situation of a noise problem in a flimsy new domestic house.

    derek, Jan 14, 2004
  15. Richard

    Dave Plowman Guest

    Well, those aren't studios, and a concert hall should be built with the
    purpose of keeping both extraneous noise out and the noise from it in.
    They have/had the solution for how to build a 'quiet' studio, although
    they seem to have forgotten how given the White City news complex.

    But the rules of sound proofing don't change, which is what I'd guess
    what NT meant. There is no magic paint or wallpaper that will help.
    Dave Plowman, Jan 14, 2004
  16. Sounds (!) like another new homes builder to steer well clear of. On
    my list currently is Wilson Connolly, Persimmon, and now Bloor Homes.
    Any more?

    Mike Mitchell, Jan 14, 2004
  17. In message <4002ddd6$0$9387$>,
    Given the well-reported views on architechture and community of the
    Royal in question, I'd be tempted to have a last-resort plan to bring
    the problem to his attention... could be a useful tool with which to
    threaten those who should sort your problem out :)


    Martin Angove, Jan 17, 2004
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