Standards & Legislation: Buildings

There are many documents giving both guideance and statutary acoustic performance standards. The most prevelant of those used in the United Kingdom are detailed below.


Approved Document E


The latest version of Approved Document E (ADE) was published in 2003 with amendments added in 2004, 2010, 2013 and 2015. The document specifies the acoustic requirements for residential properties and schools.

Detailed acoustic performance requirements are provided for residential properties.

British Council for Offices

The British Council for Offices is an organisation for all those involved in creating, acquiring or occupying office space. It has published a number of design guides in relation to office space, and the 2014 version of the BCO Guide to Specification includes noise criteria for office spaces.

BS 8233

British Standard 8233 (BS 8233) is a baseline document that discusses noise in and around buildings and provides definitions of many acoustic terms. Basic information is provided within the standard for non-specialists who have dealings with acoustics, together with more detailed information for acoustic specialists.

Control of Noise at Work Regulations

The 2005 version of the Regulations came in to force on 6th April 2006, with the exception of the music and entertainment sectors, where the introduction was delayed for 2 years.  The Regulations were an update of the 1990 Regulations, and introduced new noise limits for protecting employees hearing.

The Regulations contain lower exposure action values, upper exposure action values and exposure limit values. 

National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) superceeds PPG 24 which gave guidance on noise issues related to planning policy. The NPPF was published in March 2012 and sets out the Government's planning policies for England and how they are to be applied.  The NPPF lists 44 documents that are replaced by the framework.  As the guidance within the NPPF is contained within 49 pages, the document does not go in to the detail of the previous government guidance.

TAN 11

TAN 11 is the current Welsh government guidance on general noise and planning policy. It was produced by the then Department of the Environment (Now DEFRA) in October 1997 and replaced Welsh Office circular 16/73. The document talks about general principles in relation to noise and planning, and provides general guidance on both noise sensitive and noise generative developments, including draft planning conditions dealing with noise. The main detailed guidance provided in TAN 11 is the Noise Exposure Categories for new residential developments.


BREEAM is an environmental assessment method for rating and certifying the performance of a wide range of building types, that was first launched in 1990. The New Construction technical guide for non-domestic buildings was published in 2011.

Credits are achieved for meeting acoustic requirements.

BS 6472

British Standard 6472 is a document providing an assessment methodology for assessing the impact of vibration on people in buildings.  The standard is split in to two parts;

Part 1 deals with vibration from sources other than blasting and provides a methodology for predicting human response to vibration in buildings over the frequency range 0.5 to 80 Hz. The standard provides guidance on measuring vibration, and assessing the vibration dose value from the measured results.

Building Bulletin 93 (BB93)

Building Bulletin 93 (BB93) was originally published in 2004 to provide a design guide for dealing with acoustics in new school buildings. The revised document was published in 2014 and provides performance standards, acoustic principles, good design practice and  calculation procedures.

Health Technical Memorandum 08-01: Acoustics (HTM-08-01 2013)

Health Technical Memorandum 08-01: Acoustics (2013) outlines minimum recommended criteria for acoustics in the design and management of new healthcare developments, and addresses issues on the provision of temporary healthcare facilities, refurbishments and the control of noise and vibration during construction.

Robust Details

The Robust Details Certification Scheme is a compliance scheme for sound insulation performance of walls and floors in new-build houses and apartments. The scheme certifies that certain constructions are capable of being used as an alternative to sound insulation testing, to demonstrate compliance with the requirements of Approved Document E.

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Hepworth Acoustics Ltd (Head Office)
21 Little Peter Street
M15 4PS


Tel: 0161 242 7900
Fax: 0161 235 8407

Contact Manchester


Hepworth Acoustics Ltd
1310 Solihull Parkway
Birmingham Business Park
B37 7YB

Tel: 0121 635 5565
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Hepworth Acoustics Ltd
Hamilton House
Mabledon Place

Tel: 0207 554 8712
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Hepworth Acoustics Ltd
Bulloch House
10, Rumford Place
L3 9DG

Tel: 0151 515 0741
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Contact Liverpool


Hepworth Acoustics Ltd
The Innovation Centre
217 Portobello
S1 4DP

Tel: 0114 224 2428
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Hepworth Acoustics Ltd
1st Floor, Aztec Centre
Aztec West
BS32 4TD

Tel: 01454 203533
Fax: 0161 235 8407