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Part E Building Regulations

Part E Building Regulations

Part E Building Regulations – A Simple Breakdown

Part E of the Building Regulations deals with soundproofing in buildings. It’s titled “Resistance to the Passage of Sound” and sets standards for noise insulation in various structures, including homes and schools.

The focus is on preventing unwanted noise from traveling between different parts of a building. This applies to sound transmission through walls, floors, ceilings, and communal areas.

These regulations, divided into subsections E1 to E4, include stringent testing requirements that builders must comply with.

Introduction to Part E building regulations

The guidelines outlined in Part E apply to both new-build and renovated properties, and cover residential dwellings, schools and other educational establishments.

The Building Regulations Part E are divided into sections E1 to E4, cover essential guidelines on sound insulation, internal and external noise control, and acoustic conditions in schools.

The regulations provide minimum standards of sound insulation must be achieved to provide a suitable degree of privacy between different spaces within a building.

These requirements extend to both airborne and impact noise.

Airborne noise is noise that is transmitted through the air, such as voices or music.

Impact noise is the sound produced by an object striking another object, such as footsteps on a floor.

The regulations further specify that sound insulation testing must be carried out to demonstrate compliance with the stipulated standards.

The results of these tests must be submitted for approval to the relevant local authority. Failure to comply with the regulations can result in enforcement action and potential penalties.

The design team may use Robust details as an alternative way to achieve acoustic compliance. Robust details are pre-approved construction methods that are guaranteed to meet sound insulation standards outlined in Part E of the Building Regulations.

This approach eliminates the need for on-site sound testing, saving time and potential rework costs if a traditional construction fails to meet noise insulation requirements.

However, this method relies heavily on strict guidance being followed by the installer and could also prove more costly in some cases.

Section E1 – Protection against Sound from other parts of the building and adjoining buildings

This section primarily focuses on the insulation of walls and floors or ceilings to Provide reasonable resistance to sound from other parts of the same building or adjoining buildings.

It sets out the minimum performance standards for airborne and impact sound insulation in new and refurbished buildings.

The regulations aim to ensure adequate soundproofing in residential dwellings, schools, and other similar buildings where noise can be a significant issue.

It’s important to note that these standards are not just recommendations, but mandatory requirements that must be met during construction or refurbishment. Non-compliance can result in penalties.

The products supplied by Buildtec which are suitable in the relevant applications would be as follows.

Under screed/ Under Floors :Part E building regulations

Underlay / Under Floor :

Ceilings :

Walls :


Section E2 – Protection against sound within a dwelling/house etc.

This section focuses primarily on the standards for protecting against sound from within the same building structure. It’s about ensuring that internal noise does not negatively impact the occupants’ comfort levels and quality of life.

Here are the key points of Section E2:

  • It applies to both new builds and conversions.
  • It covers domestic and non-domestic buildings.
  • It sets out standards for sound insulation between rooms.
  • It addresses impact sound transmission, like footfall noise.
  • Its enforcement ensures that internal walls and floors are designed to limit the passage of sound.

Understanding and adhering to these regulations promotes healthy and comfortable living and working environments.

All Buildtec products are suited to overcome noise problems within a dwelling/house.

Section E3 – Reverberation in the common internal parts of buildings containing flats or rooms for residential purposes.

Section E3 of the Part E Regulations is often regarded as the cornerstone of sound insulation in residential properties.

It specifically deals with the prevention of reverberation in the common areas of buildings containing flats or rooms for residential purposes. This section is crucial in curbing the build-up of sound energy within these spaces, which can be extremely disruptive, especially in multi-occupancy buildings.

To comply with Section E3, developers must ensure that common areas such as hallways, stairwells, and lobbies are designed and constructed in a way that prevents excessive reverberation.

Therefore, understanding and adhering to Section E3 is integral to creating comfortable and acoustically healthy living environments.

Types of projects where this could apply are Apartments / Flats, Hostels, Hotels, Student Accommodation etc.

Section E4 – Acoustic Conditions in Schools

Part E4 of the Building Regulations (UK) ensures good acoustics in schools. This means creating classrooms and other spaces with minimal noise disruption for effective teaching and learning.

Each room or space in a school building is designed and constructed in such a way that it has the acoustic conditions and the insulation against disturbance by noise appropriate to its intended use.

To comply, architects and builders typically follow the standards set out in Building Bulletin 93. This document details acceptable levels of noise from outside and inside the school, how long sound reverberates in a space, and how well sound is insulated between rooms.

Regulatory Updates and Compliance

In the evolving regulatory and economic landscape, it’s crucial to ensure that the use and installation of soundproofing panels, as well as other soundproofing solutions, comply with the latest building regulations and standards. Buildtec supply a range that fully complies with the regulations and can help ensure the standards are met.

Regulatory updates are consistent to uphold building safety and quality, requiring frequent checking of the latest standards.

Compliance with Part E of the Building Regulations is mandatory for new builds, extensions, and conversions.

Non-compliance can result in legal repercussions, including fines and enforcement notices.

Professionals, such as architects and builders, should be well-versed with these regulations.

Manufacturers & Suppliers like Isolgomma & Buildtec provide products designed to meet or exceed these regulations, ensuring your projects remain compliant.

Economic Impact of Soundproofing Compliance

Compliance with Part E Building Regulations demands a certain level of investment in soundproofing measures. This investment, however, can result in long-term economic benefits, including increased property value and reduced noise-related complaints or disputes.

Direct Costs Indirect Costs Long-term Benefits
Purchasing soundproofing materials Time spent on installation Increased property value
Hiring acoustical consultants Potential project delays Reduced risk of noise complaints
Potential redesign costs Learning curve for new techniques


Enhanced reputation for quality construction


End user Comfort.


Future proof performance

Understanding these economic impacts can help stakeholders make informed decisions about soundproofing compliance, ensuring a balance between regulatory adherence, cost-effectiveness, and quality construction outcomes.

Common Challenges in Meeting Part E Standards

Despite the clear guidelines set by the Building Regulations Part E, professionals in the construction industry often encounter several challenges in achieving the required sound insulation standards. These standards necessitate a significant understanding of acoustic principles, materials, and construction techniques to ensure a building’s compliance.

The common challenges faced include: –

  • Material Selection: Identifying the right acoustically rated materials can be complex due to the multitude of products available in the market. Appointing an acoustic engineer is a good way to ensure they can offer the best options suited for the project.
  • Design Constraints: Balancing the need for sound insulation with other design elements such as aesthetics and space utilization can be a delicate task. An architect can play an important part in ensuring all elements work together in harmony.
  • Cost Implications: High-quality sound insulation materials and specialized labor can increase the project costs. But if planned early can save money long term through the project.
  • Testing and Verification: Achieving the desired sound insulation levels requires accurate pre-completion testing, which can be time-consuming and complex. Also, if design was not sufficiently thought of failing tests could cost far more money in rectification of works.
  • Construction Errors: Mistakes during construction like gaps or incorrect installation of materials can greatly reduce sound insulation performance.

Addressing these challenges requires a comprehensive understanding of Part E standards, meticulous planning, and careful execution. It is crucial to consult with acoustic experts or use reliable soundproofing solutions to ensure compliance with the regulations.

Understanding Sound Insulation Testing for Buildings

For new construction projects or building conversions, it’s essential to conduct sound insulation testing before the project’s completion. This process, known as a Pre-Completion Test (PCT), assesses the soundproofing capabilities of walls and floors to ensure they comply with Part E of the Building Regulations. The test should be performed before adding any soft furnishings, such as carpeting, to the space.

Selecting a Qualified Tester

When choosing a professional to conduct these tests, verify that they are properly qualified and hold third-party accreditation from a recognized body.

Alternatively, for new houses and flats, the Robust-Details scheme offers a recognized compliance method that bypasses the need for a PCT, provided specific construction methods and materials are used.

Buildtec are currently in the process of acquiring Robust details approval, which will allow users to use the products under this guidance.

Types of Sound Insulation Tests

Sound insulation testing includes two main types: airborne and impact testing.

  • Airborne Testing: This test evaluates the sound insulation of separating walls and floors by measuring how sound travels through air from one room to another. During the test, a loudspeaker in one room emits noise, typically around 100 decibels, and the sound level is then measured in an adjacent ‘receiving’ room. For England & Wales currently the requirement to achieve compliance is >45 dB
  • Impact Testing: Conducted on floors, this test involves using a tapping machine on the floor above and measuring the sound level in the room directly beneath. This helps assess the impact sound insulation level of the floor structure. For England & Wales currently the requirement to achieve compliance is set at <62dB

Interpreting the Results

The results from both airborne and impact tests are presented as single-number ratings which compare against performance standards set by Part E of the Building Regulations. The results must meet or exceed these standards to ensure satisfactory sound insulation.


In conclusion, understanding and implementing Part E Building Regulations is crucial to ensure a safe and compliant living or working environment is built.

These regulations ensure a controlled noise environment in various structures, thus enhancing the overall living and working conditions.

Despite the challenges, adherence to these regulations is non-negotiable, promising long-term benefits, higher property value, and a better quality of life.

Therefore, a thorough knowledge of these regulations is essential for every professional involved in building design and construction.

It is important, whilst discussing your requirements with Buildtec, to ensure Architects and Acoustic engineers are involved in the conversation to achieve the best outcome for the building’s Acoustic performance.

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