Similar to this, but not a duplicate: How can I determine the STC (Sound Transmission Class) rating for my condo walls and ceiling?

The goal: Verify if I have a claim towards the developer who says it's an unwarrantable issue that I can hear my neighbors cough, talk, use their micro-wave oven or even open close their fridge door. How can I investigate this?


Ask the developer to provide the "sound transmission class" rating that was specified ( and guaranteed if it was ) and how that was implemented. I.E. what products or building techniques were used in the condo to achieve those spec's. Then cut the wall open to see if indeed that is true ???

Was there a guarantee in writing that you would not hear a certain decibel level of sound or the everyday living of the people in the adjoining units?

Attend the association meetings and Talk to other owners to see if they have the same issue.

Consult an attorney

  • +1 for going through the HOA. – Lee Sam May 23 at 20:43

The Code says you are to, “have a STC rating of not less than 50 (45 If field tested) for air borne noise” in walls between dwelling units. (See ICC Section 1207.2)

Also, any “penetrations for piping, cabinets, bathtubs, heating, plumbing, etc. shall be sealed, lined, insulated, or otherwise treated to maintain the required ratings.” (Section 1207.2)

Also, “Floor/ ceiling assemblies between dwelling units or between dwelling units. And service areas shall have an impact insulation class (IIC) rating of not less than 50 (45 If field tested).” (Section 1207.3)

A standard wall (2x4 framing with gypsum board on each side) will not meet this requirement.

I’d start with removing a few electrical cover plates and see if the electrical box is sealed. I suspect this will give you a good indication of the type of construction in the party wall.

  • 1
    Excellent informed answer. But i wonder, does meeting code have anything to do with any written or perceived "warranties" that the developer can be held accountable for. Which is the crux of the question? – Alaska Man May 23 at 20:30
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    @AlaskaMan I’d say an STC of 50 is the minimum required, whether it’s in the HOA warranty or not. I think a good attorney could make a good argument that minimum CODE requirements are implied in the sale of the condos. I’ve testified on behalf of buyers and I can guarantee you that the weak link in the wall is back-to-back electrical outlets. I’ve seen it a dozen times. – Lee Sam May 23 at 20:51

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