A BS8233 noise assessment is required to demonstrate that new residential developments will achieve acceptable noise limits and noise levels will not be disturbing to future occupants
Most Local Authorities request an environmental noise impact assessment report to support planning applications for new residential developments. This type of report is often referred to as a BS8233 noise assessment.
A BS8233 noise assessment report considers noise limits from BS8233:2014, along with other relevant British Standards, guidance documents, and local and national planning policies. The assessment will determine if the site is suitable for residential development. If required, recommendations for a noise mitigation scheme will be provided.
The assessment can also be referred to as a ProPG noise report. In the past the assessment was usually called a PPG24 noise report, however PPG24 has long since been withdrawn.
Once planning consent is granted for a new development specialist acoustic design will be required. The development must comply with the requirements of The Building Regulations Approved Document E and Approved Document O. It is even more important to consider the acoustic design at an early stage if the development incorporates non-residential elements such as retail units or a fitness gym. Similarly, compliance with BREEAM or specific planning conditions can increase the complexity of the acoustic design.
ACA Acoustics will carry out sound insulation tests on the completed houses and flats to demonstrate compliance with Approved Document E.
Noise assessments for residential planning applications
Why is a BS8233 noise assessment required?
Noise intrusion can be disturbing to people relaxing or sleeping in their homes. Most people accept noise from cars on nearby roads as being a part of modern life. But for properties near major road networks the extent of this noise and volume of traffic overnight can cause sleep disturbance or other adverse impacts. Similarly, noise from trains or aeroplanes can cause a nuisance, especially at night. Residents are even more likely to be disturbed by identifiable sources such as bars/clubs or other licensed premises, and factories or industrial noise sources.
Prior to granting planning consent for new residential developments, Local Authorities often wish to ensure that future occupants will not be unduly disturbed by noise.
The primary aim is to ensure that noise intrusion to a new residential dwelling will achieve the guideline noise limits in BS8233:2014. Achieving these guideline limits means that external noise is not disturbing to future occupants; and contributes to achieving sustainable developments that are fit for purpose.
What other Standards and guidance documents are used in the assessment?
Although it is often called a BS8233 noise report, a robust and detailed assessment will actually consider a range of different Standards and guidance documents.
A suitable assessment may consider:
- BS 8233:2014 Guidance of sound insulation and noise reduction for buildings
- The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)
- Noise Policy Statement for England (NPSE)
- Planning Practice Guidance – Noise (PPG-N)
- BS 4142:2014+A1:2019 Methods for rating and assessing industrial and commercial sound
- BS 6472-1:2008 Guide to evaluation of human exposure to vibration in buildings – Vibration sources other than blasting
- ProPG: Planning & Noise
- The Building Regulations Approved Document E
- The Building Regulations Approved Document O
- Relevant local policies or supplementary guidance documents, as appropriate for the individual development.
What is the process for a BS8233 noise impact assessment?
The first stage of a BS8233 noise assessment is to carry out a background noise survey at the development site. The results are used to quantify the daytime and night-time noise levels. These allow the site to be classified as a ‘negligible’, ‘low’, ‘medium’ or ‘high risk’ using the ProPG Stage 1 assessment.
Any other relevant assessments are then carried out, for example if the site is close to a railway line then groundborne vibration will be assessed using BS6472-1. For large developments 3D noise modelling may be necessary to understand how the development itself might affect the existing noise climate.
Once the computer calculations are completed a noise and vibration mitigation strategy will be developed following a good acoustic design process. Typically this includes acoustic specification for glazing, façade elements, and ventilation schemes. Mitigation schemes could also include changing the orientation of buildings or rooms within the building or external features such as acoustic barriers. Often this is developed as part of the design team with input from architects, developers, and planning consultants.
What is included in a BS8233 noise assessment report?
The final BS8233 noise report should incorporate all the relevant information that has been considered as part of the assessment. This will allow the Local Authority Environmental Health Officer (EHO) to fully evaluate the acoustic design.
As a minimum, the BS8233 report should include:
- Site address, description of dominant noise sources and development proposals.
- British Standards, guidance documents, and planning policy used to inform the acoustic assessment.
- Results of the sound level survey.
- Analysis of the noise survey results.
- A noise mitigation scheme to comply with the noise limits in BS8233.
- A recommendation to the Local Authority EHO whether the site is suitable for the proposed development.
Other elements will be included as required, for example if a vibration assessment has been carried out.
Acoustic design for residential developments
It is important to consider the acoustic design at an early stage of a residential development. What is the proposed ventilation strategy and will that meet the noise limits of Approved Document O? Are your proposed separating wall and floor constructions compatible with the flanking façade walls to pass Part E sound tests? Do you need planning permission for air conditioning condensers? Bringing an acoustic consultant onboard your design team early saves potential delays and extra costs by ensuring these are considered at the appropriate stage.
As the design progresses we review the sound insulation performance of separating walls and floors between dwellings. Careful design is required to ensure compliance with The Building Regulations Approved Document E. During the construction phase we can also undertake site inspections and provide ongoing advice to the contractor and design team.
Building Regulations Approved Document O presents a new challenge for developers to control overheating in dwellings. Noise limits set in ADO mean you may have to assume bedroom windows will be closed overnight. ACA can work with your energy consultant, mechanical engineer and architect to develop the most appropriate scheme to comply with ADO.
Acoustic design of mechanical ventilation and cooling for residential developments
If a development incorporates mechanical ventilation such as MVHR there is potential that noise and vibration could disturb future occupants. Similarly, new external mechanical plant such as air conditioning could disturb occupants of existing properties nearby. ACA Acoustics will assess the impact of the new plant and provide cost-effective and practical solutions to control noise and vibration to acceptable levels. Noise impact assessments can be provided to support planning applications for new air conditioning condensers.
We are also able to assess noise to ensure compliance with Passivhaus Standards, including from MVHR and air source heat pumps.
We have provided the acoustic design for all manor of projects. Ranging from large-scale residential developments, high-rise apartment blocks, through to single infill houses. Please get in touch to discuss how we can help with your next development.
Sound insulation tests and commissioning surveys
Once construction works are complete your Building Control Officer will require a pass certificate for sound tests on separating walls and floors.
Why choose ACA Acoustics to carry out a noise assessment on your next residential development?
Our highly experienced acoustic consultants provide noise assessments and acoustic designs for all types of residential developments. Our expert knowledge means we know how the BS8233 noise assessment should be conducted. If required, we can use that experience to design the most appropriate noise and vibration control strategy.
Please get in touch with us using the contact form and one of our experienced consultants will contact you shortly. Alternatively, please feel free to call us on your local office telephone number or email our head office at firstname.lastname@example.org.