Crap soundproofing in new house (recourse to law ?)

We have just moved into a brand new house (Bloor Homes) and I'm shocked at the poor level of soundproofing between our lounge and the neighbours kitchen. I can clearly hear them speaking and if there was no TV on in our lounge I would actually be able to hear what they were saying. I did find a 6inch x 2inch hole in the plasterboard, hiding behind the fake fireplace they put in but I'm not sure how much difference filling that up will make.
Before I phone them up to complain, does anyone here know whether house builders have to ensure at least a reasonable level of soundproofing between houses by law ?? After all, I could easily prove that my wife & I would be unable to have a "private" conversation in that room and surely we can all expect privacy in our own home. Any thoughts ??
P.S It's end-terraced in a row of 3 houses but our house is bigger than the other coming out further at the front & the back .... it's also on Duchy of Cornwall land so has many restrictions on it
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Richard wrote:

The Approved Documents which form the basis for the building regulations are your friend. Sound insulation requirements are covered in Part E of Schedule 1 from: http://www.odpm.gov.uk/stellent/groups/odpm_control/documents/contentservertemplate/odpm_index.hcst?n%9&l=3
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Hello Toby,
Thanks for such a quick response.
Schedule 1 of the link deals with the testing of the property with regard to sound insulation - so I know now what test results to ask for should they say that there's nothing wrong. But really I'm looking for figures or broad definitions as to what a purchaser of a new house can "reasonably" expect from a house builder as so much of "noise" is subjective.
To put it another way, once the builder has completed the tests referred to in this PDF, what does he compare his results to ?? What is the minimum standard required ?? (be it measured in decibels or whatever else).
Thanks, Richard.

emplate/odpm_index.hcst?n%9&l=3
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Oopps - just found Schedule 0 which does give db figures ... any further thoughts are welcome though.
R.

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On Mon, 12 Jan 2004 18:33:02 -0000, a particular chimpanzee named

This is a new version of the Sound Insulation requirements which only came into force in July last year, and it's almost certain (unless the builders worked at breakneck speed) that the old one will apply. The old requirements only gave a number of 'deemed to satisfy' standard details, which if the builder worked to, would comply. The only recourse you have is to show that the construction doesn't meet the details, which would probably involve removing the plasterboard and some blockwork!
Even under the new Part E, the requirement for testing of new build housing hasn't been implimented.
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You might want to cross post your question to uk.legal who may be familiar with this issue as well.
All I know is that I have a brand new (timber framed) house and I can't hear a peep out of next door. Whatever the building regs are you shouldn't be able to hear what would be considered normal every day sounds, so if you can hear talking then there is a problem. My neighbour plays his music much louder than I do (I have been round there and we can't talk over it so he has to turn it down) and I have never heard his stereo, TV or anything. I can however *feel* it if he slams his front door. Oh, and I should say...........I am not deaf!!! :o)
Angela
P.S. contact the council building inspector about it sooner rather than later as they wont touch it after 6 months.
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Yes - a pretty big problem I think. Building Regs are what I need on my side though regardless of whether the average person agrees with you & I as to what is reasonable or not.
From a DIY point of view, the only real solution to this problem is another layer of plasterboard on the terraced side of every adjoining room (and all the upheaval hassle that will cause) ... correct ??
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I seem to remember reading something about soundproofing. I think it was in yesterday's Times. Less than a 1000 for one wall I think it said. It naturally recommended against DIY on the basis that the "professionals" use better materials. Informative article.
john
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Look up how the BBC do it.
Regards, NT
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On 12 Jan 2004 13:58:07 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@meeow.co.uk (N. Thornton) wrote:

In my experience they don't. It's easier and more effective to stop unwanted sound being created in the first place. Hence the proliferation of SILENCE notices and red lights outside studios.
DG
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So you stop the traffic and the planes?
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@argonet.co.uk London SW 12
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On Tue, 13 Jan 2004 00:16:03 +0000 (GMT), Dave Plowman

I can't recall much of a problem with either over a couple of decades of "Last Night of the Proms", or any sound OB's for that matter. But I suppose these factors must influence the choice of places where studios are built. Good micophones in the right place are the essence of good sound.
The point I wanted to make is that "The BBC" doesn't have a solution to extraneous noise nuisance that can be readily cut/pasted into a situation of a noise problem in a flimsy new domestic house.
DG
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Well, those aren't studios, and a concert hall should be built with the purpose of keeping both extraneous noise out and the noise from it in.

They have/had the solution for how to build a 'quiet' studio, although they seem to have forgotten how given the White City news complex.
But the rules of sound proofing don't change, which is what I'd guess what NT meant. There is no magic paint or wallpaper that will help.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@argonet.co.uk London SW 12
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I don't think would be anywhere near sufficient. They have probably just forgot to put in the sound proofing material between the walls, particularly as it is only one room that is a problem. It should be a matter of taking down the plasterboard, putting in what is missing, re-doing the plasterboard and redecorating. It will be a great inconvenience to you though!
Get in touch with the building inspector, in my experience as long as you don't want to complain about him, he will help you.
Angela
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Yes it should be built to the relevant NHBC standard and the relevant approved document (or similar)
However sound proofing is a subjective area.
If a person has sensitive hearing (or just notices sounds more acutely) and lives next to a family who talk loudly or in a certain way, and have rooms with no carpets and lots of bare [sound reflective] surfaces, then that person is more likely to hear sounds from the neighbour. But this will not automatically mean that there is a structural fault.
But there could be design or construct issues that are allowing more sound through than is acceptable.
You first port of call is to get the builder and local building control to confirm that the properties were built to spec.
But you should also speak to the neighbour to see if they have the same complaint. If not, you may be stumped
Have a look at www.inspectorhome.co.uk for advice about new home inspections.
dg

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Sounds (!) like another new homes builder to steer well clear of. On my list currently is Wilson Connolly, Persimmon, and now Bloor Homes. Any more?
MM
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Given the well-reported views on architechture and community of the Royal in question, I'd be tempted to have a last-resort plan to bring the problem to his attention... could be a useful tool with which to threaten those who should sort your problem out :-)
Hwyl!
M.
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