I'm looking to buy a new house in England. It's not likely to be detached. I like a quiet life and would like to choose one where neighbour noise isn't an issue.

I have read that during the 1980s, the building regulations were quite good on this but they deteriorated in the 1990s and may have improved in 2003

Does anyone have definitive information about "good/bad" years for house construction in this regard?

Alternatively, does anyone know ways of measuring/estimating this when viewing a house?



While codes and regulations can be good, there may have been a bad builder or contractor in one particular house. Or an inexperienced homeowner making repairs / upgrades. So, regulations can be a good guideline, but I wouldn't treat them as gospel.

Your best bet is to either try to hear the neighbors as they go about their daily business, or go talk to them and ask how good the sound-proofing is. I'd probably do both if I really liked the house. Both require the neighbors to be home, of course, so you may need a second visit when they're home. Note that if your direct neighbors aren't home on your first visit, other neighbors may be around who could offer opinions on their houses. Not directly comparable (see first paragraph), but it's still informative.

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  • Thanks, some good advice there. Still keen to know regulation dates. – SteveH Feb 13 '19 at 0:29

In America we mostly use the ICC Code (International Code Council) which can give you a good idea of what to expect.

The Code requires a STC rating of at least 50 between apartments, apartments and public spaces, etc. (See ICC 1207.)

Openings are often the weak point in these assemblies. For electrical or plumbing penetrations through the walls, they need to be sealed. For doors, windows, they all have STC ratings.

Be careful of light switches or electrical outlets in these walls, as they can destroy the sound wall rating.

If you have the time, you can calculate the STC rating by merely adding all the components in a common wall. (You can Google most STC ratings.)

There are two types of sound transmission: Air-borne and Structure. Air-borne is like conversation, TV, etc. and can be calculated by STC ratings. Structure borne sound can come from someone walking, doors closing etc. That’s harder to calculate and control. I’d talk to neighbors about structure borne sounds.

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