Building Regs Acoustic compliance help please?

Building Regs Acoustic compliance help please?

10:56 AM, 11th August 2021, About 2 years ago 8

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I own a mixed residential shop with 8 studios above. Old Edwardian high street building Historically the correct building regulations were not in place, and so I have made an application for regularisation to get it up to standard and to comply.

The council came round and have given me a list of 52 items of work – some major e.g. sprinkler systems in each unit, lobbies, fire boarding and some smaller.

I think I can achieve compliance with most things within what I have budgeted for the works, however, one major problem which will financially cripple me is that they will not negotiate or help to find a solution to the acoustics/flooring.

Presently everywhere has original butt edged floorboarding in the whole building, and they are saying everywhere has to be stripped, new flooring put down (which will mean kitchens have to be removed, fittings and fixtures and tenants moved out)

Has anyone any ideas how I can achieve compliance but not have to literally empty flats out of tenants, kitchens, fixtures and then out new flooring down?

Many thanks


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10:36 AM, 12th August 2021, About 2 years ago

Happened to have an acoustics engineer handy and he said this: "It seems to me the point is, was it converted before the sound insulation requirements were put into law? If so, and if there is no change of use, I don't think a landlord can be compelled to comply.  Sound insulation regulations do not apply retrospectively.  If the regs were not in place when previously converted, then the council seem to be asking for more sound insulation as a "nice to have" and she should query that requirement.  

If she needs to comply with the regs, then she needs a consultant.  The works will have to be tested so it is vital that the right work is done, since failure even by one decibel is not an option. It is not just about floors, sound can transmit via common walls.  A consultant would look at the law and consider all possibilities e.g. treating ceilings beneath rather than floors."
Hope this helps.


10:55 AM, 12th August 2021, About 2 years ago

As above, you need top establish when the conversion was originally done as those are the dated regulations and the era you are required to conform to for noise.
Some modern techniques for upgrade are easily done however as when the units become empty or before, Re your kitchen, if you pop the kickboards off the kitchen units and stuff the void with acoustic rockwool this will help no end. While you're there seal any pipe gaps with fire foam and caulk gaps and edges with acoustic mastic-doesn't need to be pretty! But push on the original point of date of compliance as of course BC will ask you to do all the upgrades however you are not compelled to bring t up to current regs for noise separation.


11:32 AM, 12th August 2021, About 2 years ago

Hi Sharron,
I feel your pain and I hope you have the patience and budget to handle this.

I own a mixed building of similar age to yours which had a single flat above. I applied for planning to add an extension to the second floor and create 2 self contained flats. Building Control inspected throughout, but on completion, we had the acoustic tests done and it failed! By Completion, I mean fully decorated, new kitchens, bathrooms, carpeted, blinds etc.

You may get away arguing about dates for when it was converted, but the facts remain. You will not get a certificate of compliance without doing the works. You equally won't be able to sell it without taking a serious financial hit. You've already alerted the council, so I'm afraid you've pretty much had it.

I could write a book on this and believe me, tried everything I could to avoid the inevitable of stripping it, but in the end had to. If you want to PM me, I'm happy to talk and give you some hints and war stories that might help.

Regards Paul.


11:45 AM, 12th August 2021, About 2 years ago

See if you can drop the ceilings 100mm fill with insulation and double board. And hope you dont get flanking on the wall

Reluctant Landlord

11:48 AM, 12th August 2021, About 2 years ago

interesting thread. I'm in the middle of a conversion of a three story 5 bed flat (above a shop) into single flats on each floor. The acoustic test to be done at the end. Is there a min level expected and what other things might help it to pass as now terrified of the consequences of disruption and work involved if it doesn't! Bathrooms and kitchens all fitted and decorating done...


11:50 AM, 12th August 2021, About 2 years ago

Also they shouldn't test kitchen bathrooms as they're not main living spaces. Resilient bars on the dropped ceilings and acoustic boarding/underlay in living /bedrooms


12:05 PM, 12th August 2021, About 2 years ago

They test two habitable rooms per flat but won't tell you which ones they test, so correct about excluding the bathrooms, hallways and kitchens (assuming the kitchen and living room aren't open plan).

Sound transference is your enemy, so the resilient bars is correct as long as there's no physical connection between the existing floors/joists/walls. If so, you will have to "float" them or put sound deadening underneath the walls. We originally thought the sound was travelling through the neighbouring walls and ceilings and back in through the walls upstairs because we already had the resilient bars and acoustic plasterboard installed. However, the builder had used 40mm screws to fix them which had just touched the joists.

You will need some invasive inspection/surveys carried out as your starting point before you do or commit to anything else.


12:07 PM, 12th August 2021, About 2 years ago

If you need it to comply, then even a small failure can lead to trouble. So it is cost effective to employ a qualified and insured consultant (the Institute of Acoustics will recommend) who will consider your property's individual issues and take responsibility for compliance.

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