FLOORS & FLOOR COVERINGS
Structure-borne noise is a growing problem for multi-occupancy buildings – but
According to the World Health
there are ways to reduce it, says Lee Nichols, product development & business manager at
Monarfl oor Acoustics, part of the BMI Group.
Organisation, noise is an
‘underestimated threat’. It can lead to
multiple health problems from sleep
deprivation to stress, poor mental performance
and even heart problems. In the UK, the number
of complaints due to noise nuisance in domestic
buildings is constantly growing.
As the number of multiple-occupancy dwellings,
such as purpose-built apartments or converted
buildings increases, so too do the risks of unwanted
noise. One of the biggest problem areas – and one
of the least well-understood – is fl anking sound.
Flanking sound doesn’t travel directly from one
space to another. It’s noise that takes an indirect
path, perhaps through the structural frame of
a building, or through voids beneath fl oors or
within walls. It could be the sound of a barking
dog, dancing feet or a humming Hoover that travel
from one part of a building to another and cause
Unfortunately, the section of our Building
BUILDING PRODUCTS | JULY 8
Regulations that deals with noise, Part E, has
not been updated for residential buildings since
2004. Meanwhile, music and home entertainment
systems have changed beyond all recognition.
For those who do want to improve the sound
insulation performance of their buildings, one
of the best ways to do that is through addressing
fl anking transmission. Below are some of the
things to think about:
1. More mass
Generally, more mass reduces fl anking
transmission problems. A traditional concrete
fl oor with masonry walls would be the ideal
choice from a noise transmission perspective.
Adding mass in other ways, such as using denser
blockwork or thicker fl oor slabs, always helps.
However, this can be diffi cult in lighter
forms of construction and ‘off-site’ such as steelframed
or timber-framed buildings. Designers
need to take extra care when using modern
methods of construction.