What is better to meet the minimum requirements of Part E Resistance to the Passage of Sound through separating walls and floors, Robust Detail solutions or pre-completion testing? The Robust Detail solution in theory is good because all of the systems promoted in the Robust Detail handbook have been rigorously tested to prove the soundproofing results achieved are well in excess of the Part E minimum requirements and no further testing is required to prove compliance. Whereas with Pre-completion testing, every home has to be independently tested to prove compliance or with multiple build projects, a percentage depending on the size of the project. With Pre-completion testing, if the results do not show that the separating walls or floors do not meet compliance, they will have to be upgraded until they do and only then will the project be signed off by the Building Control Dept. So as you can see, whenever a properly tested property is moved into, the soundproofing of the separating floors and walls is going to meet minimum requirements. So if the wrong materials have been used or not installed correctly, it is going to be picked up before the property is lived in which is not so with Robust Detail constructed properties.
Although in theory, the Robust Detail system is good, in reality, it is the same as was in place before the changes to method of Part E compliance came into force in 2003. Until then and from 1987, new build flats and attached houses along with dwellings being formed as a change of use had to comply with the Part E regulations in force at that time. And then, all that had to be done was show that the construction was the same or equivalent to that detailed in the Building Regulation document. No testing of any description was required. As long as a test certificate showing that the construction method adopted had been previously tested and shown to meet the noise insulation requirements, it was accepted by Building Control and signed off. In reality though, what was happening was that either the wrong materials were being used because they were cheaper, or installed incorrectly, or of course, both. So when they introduced the pre-completion concept it was definitely a step in the right direction. Where it has all gone wrong is introducing the Robust Detail system at the same time.
For more information on selecting the right materials to meet Part E for separating floors and walls, go to our web site www.soundservice.co.uk or call our technical department on 01993704981