Enquire Now

Must residents choose a hot or noisy room

Must residents choose between a hot room or a noisy room?

Noise presents the second biggest burden of environmental disease, after air quality due to traffic pollution.[1]

  • "Noise causes or contributes to not only annoyance and sleep disturbance but also heart attacks, learning disabilities and tinnitus."
  • "at least one million healthy life years are lost every year from traffic-related noise in the western part of Europe"

House builders and the associated value chain should understand the implications of the new regulation before building commences.

In 85% of 122 reviewed planning applications for major residential developments it was found that windows were assumed to be closed to achieve the noise criteria but assumed to be open to achieve the overheating criteria.[2] This means that, in an overheating scenario, occupants would have to choose between a room that is too warm, and a room that is too noisy.

Approved Document O (AD-O), which comes into force in June, is the first time that regulation of environmental noise falls under the Building Regulations (i.e., mandatory for all buildings subject to Building Control), rather than Planning legislation (i.e., the local authority can decide which regulations apply to which projects).

Requirement O1(2) says that in meeting the Overheating requirements "account must be taken of the safety of any occupant, and their reasonable enjoyment of the residence"

If the internal temperature exceeds 23°C at 11pm in a bedroom with windows closed the following criteria apply.

  • 40 dB LAeq,T, averaged over 8 hours (between 11pm and 7am).
  • 55 dB LAFmax, more than 10 times a night (between 11pm and 7am).

These are a 10 dB relaxation on the internal noise limits that apply in 'normal' conditions as set out in BS8233:2014 Guidance on sound insulation and noise reduction in buildings (if imposed through planning regulation). If open windows cannot meet these requirements alternative means of cooling will be required.

  • attenuated openings (should be considered early in the design owing to impact on façade)
  • mechanical ventilation (e.g., MVHR, air-conditioning)
  • mechanical cooling (e.g., chilled panels)

Mechanical solutions may also introduce additional noise sources, although no criteria are specifically given in Building Regulations for this.

What this means for planning consultants, architects and housing developers is that a scheme should be designed to meet these levels of heat and noise during to the design process and before building starts to avoid sinking unnecessary building costs on a development to remedy things retrospectively.

Jonathan Riley – Senior Acoustics Consultant, ENSAFE



[1] World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe, Burden of disease from environmental noise, 2011


[2] https://www.apexacoustics.co.uk/noise-constraints-in-approved-doc-o-overheating-part-1/


  • Share

More News...

Enthusiastic. Nurturing. Supportive. Act with Integrity. Flexible. Exceed Expectations.

Ensafe Consultants is a fully independent company, and we pride ourselves on providing end to end solutions that give our clients their ideal solution, from start to finish. Get in touch at [email protected] to discuss your unique requirements. https://t.co/CHW2dDxBJO https://t.co/r7a9IZfBcN