Noise Nuisance in Flats

Noise nuisance between neighbouring properties is an increasing problem, especially in flats. 

Building regulations place conditions on new buildings but existing, especially period buildings, rarely offer such soundproofing and such buildings are often where noise issues and complaints are experienced. 

There are two types of noise transfer airborne and impact.  Airborne sound transfer is through the air such as music or speech and impact noise is where sound is created when one object impacts on another such as footsteps on a hard floor.

Many older buildings including purpose built flats and buildings converted into flats  include little, if any, noise attenuation.  It is often the case that older houses converted into flats and older purpose built flats have been constructed or converted when the building regulations at the time of construction included no requirements to provide soundproofing between flats.  The construction may not only offer poor sound proofing but in some situations can in fact amplify sound in the floor void or structure increasing noise nuisance problems between neighbours. 

Audio equipment is often the cause of airborne sound nuisance, especially as with large powerful speakers and surround sound installations are common.   Similarly the modern trend for hard floors with wood, stone and tiled finishes increases the risk of impact sound problems.  Traditionally houses and flats were typically fitted with carpets which generally offered good acoustic attenuation, however the fashion for hard floors where there is little soundproofing can create impact, and sometimes airborne, sound problems.  Poor acoustic insulation between flats can create neighbourly disputes.  In some situations the nuisance is relatively minor however for others, being able to hear every footstep or conversation in a neighbouring flat, it can severely effect their enjoyment of their homes.

Tim Greenwood and Associates work with Property Managers, Directors of Residential blocks and individual owners to advise on acoustic issues.  We are able to advise on acoustic noise issues and make recommendations to remedy the noise nuisance.  We look at solutions to resolve noise issues and advocate the inclusion of acoustic insulation and attenuation when flats are refurbished to avoid future disputes arising.