Residential developments with Building Control registration dates after 1st July 2003 are subject to the July 2003 update to Approved Document E of The Building Regulations 2000. This update replaces the previous "deemed to satisfy" qualification route (i.e. by replicating published separating floor and wall details) with an obligation instead to meet or better newly expressed minimum acoustic performance standards and an obligation to conduct sample (typically one per ten) testing.
If design and construction standards for new build residential units are restricted to Robust Standard Details (RSD) and are registered accordingly, new build developers can apply to Building Control for an exemption from testing. Any separating floor and/or wall details that do not replicate RSDs will still require testing.
Testing is otherwise a mandatory requirement and no RSD exemption is available when residential units are formed by a Material Change of Use (such as conversions) all Hotels, Hostels and Rooms for Residential Purposes. For long-term healthcare accommodation, Health Technical Memorandum 08-01: Acoustics sets out that the same standards should apply.
Building Control is obliged to be satisfied regarding certain elements of acoustic design. These include internal floors, some internal walls and front doors. For hotels, flats/apartments and where front doors arise from a common lobby, there is now a requirement to submit a design assessment to control reverberation.
Eco-Homes and Code for Sustainable Homes
Credits under Eco-Homes and, from 2006, Code for Sustainable Homes can be secured with support from AAD's consultants for design assessments and AAD's surveyors for "pre-completion" site testing. Briefly, the following sound insulation values are required for Code for Sustainable Homes credits:
- 3 dB or more betterment - 1 credit
- 5 dB or more betterment - 3 credits
- 8 dB or more betterment - 4 credits
AAD provides services including the following:
- Assessment of proposed party wall and party floor construction details;
- Assessment of proposed internal floor and internal wall construction details;
- Custom architectural design support;
- Assessment of reverberation in common parts;
- Pre PCT testing with report submission to the developer;
- Pre-Completion Testing with report for submission to Building Control;
- Access to acoustic engineers individually certified to conduct pre-completion testing.