Party walls and floors in new buildings and conversions need to demonstrate their acoustic performance through pre-completion site testing or by licensing Robust Details to satisfy Part E of the Building Regulations.
What are Robust Details?
Robust details is the name given to a high performance separating wall or door construction that is made and approved by Robust Details Ltd. The methods used mean that it is deemed to be of a high enough quality that further testing is unnecessary.
Why do I need to test my buildings acoustics?
Part E of The Building Regulations requires new homes to be designed and constructed using materials that supply ‘reasonable resistance’ to the passage of sound. The Building Regulations state that a sample of buildings on each new development is tested.
The building regulations apply to new buildings only – detached properties are exempt but any attached building requires testing. It is required that pre-completion testing takes place, via an approved assessor.
Are credits available?
The Code for Sustainable Homes has four credits available under Hea2 (Sound Insulation). This aims to “promote the provision of improved sound insulation to reduce the likelihood of noise complaints from neighbours”.
Design Stage Testing
Design stage testing requires identification of specific plots, groups and sub groups that will need testing. The developer should confirm at this time that an approved (accredited by UKAS) test body will carry out the pre-completion testing. They should also state that there is a commitment to carry out any remediation work, in the case of the tests failing.
The design stage is also the time to provide evidence which shows the potential of the build to meet the current performance standards – for example, a design statement from an acoustic consultant. In the case of Robust Details, confirmation is needed that the specific materials chosen can achieve the required sound insulation levels.
Post construction testing
Post construction, those specifications and evidence that were outlined at the design stage should be confirmed as still valid. An assessment should take place of any new specifications.