Improving Sound Insulation in Dwellings

In many cases residents often hear noises such as raised voices, laughter, or loud music. If you have adequate sound insulation you should not normally be able to hear your neighbours ordinary conversation or television – unless they are hard of hearing.  In some cases, you may wish to have the sound insulation tested in your existing building to determine whether the floor or wall partition is performing in compliance with Building Regulations Part E.

Required Sound Insulation Levels for New and Conversion Dwellings

The table below shows the requirements of Approved Document E for both new and conversion dwellings.


Effective acoustic insulation is important in all types of residential buildings, to help create a comfortable and safe environment. Noise pollution can have a significant impact on people’s health. Those living and working in cities are especially vulnerable, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO)

The problems Caused by Noise Flanking

APT Sound Testing provides UKAS accredited sound testing services, and we often work with councils, testing their existing housing stock. If you have sound testing undertaken on your home, it should identify how sound is travelling into your home. It may be coming directly through the separating party wall or floor, or it may be coming along another indirect route, this is called a sound flanking and can be quite difficult to determine the sound flanking path.

One of the most common noise flanking pathways is via the inner leaf of external cavity walls. This is often due to the inclusion of lightweight blockwork within the inner cavity leaf. Due to the lightweight nature of the walls, it allows the sound to pass vertically and/or horizontally past party walls and floors into the adjacent properties – even if the party walls and floor have been built to a high acoustic standard.


Both excess airborne and structure borne sound are often associated both with direct noise transmission through party walls and floors; or flanking transmission via supporting walls and other associated structures. In all cases it is essential to establish if your problem is due to direct noise transmission or flanking transmission, or a combination of both, so that we can undertake the best effective remedial treatment, to be included within our acoustic design review.

When excess noise travels along direct and flanking paths, it makes the building structure vibrate and this causes the sound to radiate into your room on the other side of the party walls and/or floor. One simple solution is to build an independent wall or ceiling beside the existing partition.


The Difference Between Airborne and Impact Noise

There are two distinct types of noise to consider for noise coming through floors, these are Impact noise (footfall noise or children jumping) on the floor above and airborne noise (speech, TV and music). Foe walls you usually need to worry about airborne sound only. Sound Testing for Building Regulations Part E requires you to undertake both Airborne and Impact Sound Testing for Flats, and Airborne Sound Testing for Houses.

Acoustic design party walls and floors to lower noisels

Whenever you are undertaking acoustic upgrades to floors, its best to undertake upgrades to both the floor and ceiling. If it’s only possible to undertake upgrades to one area, e.g., the floor, or ceiling it becomes more difficult to improve the sound insulation performance without resorting to more expensive acoustic materials/solutions.


We Can Help Improve the Acoustic Performance of your Home

For a more in-depth description of wall & floor treatments for your new build or conversion project, we recommended you contact us before starting any building work. APT Sound Testing provides a UKAS accredited sound testing service, as well as an acoustic design service. Please call 01525 303905 to discuss your requirements or e-mail