Research Output
Services noise affecting dwellings.
  The Scottish Building Standards Agency (SBSA) propose to review whether the building regulations should address the issue of noise transmission to dwellings from domestic services installations. RMP Acoustics have been commissioned to provide information to aid SBSA with this deliberation.
The input, transmission and radiation of services noise in a building is complex. Services noise nuisance commonly occurs because the relevant expertise has not been commissioned to predict and mitigate this noise at the design phase. Even if the sound insulation of the separating wall and floor constructions are in line with Section 5 of the Technical Handbooks for the Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004, this is not necessarily sufficient to attenuate services noise to an acceptable level inside neighbouring dwellings. One reason for this is that there is a wide range of services noise emission levels, i.e. quieter services may be attenuated sufficiently by Section 5 constructions but noisier services would not be. Another reason is that services noise is often manifested as a result of vibrational energy input to the building structure which has been transmitted as structure-borne noise. The most effective way to avoid services noise problems starts with judicious location and then by specifying practicable noise and/or vibration limits for each piece of services equipment. Any residual noise can be reduced by enclosing the equipment, specifying an appropriate mounting and/or enhancing the sound insulation of the separating constructions.
The building services installations that have the potential to cause noise nuisance include common plant affecting dwellings (e.g. lifts), private plant affecting attached and detached neighbouring dwellings & private plant affecting rooms in the same dwelling.

  • Type:

    Technical Report

  • Date:

    30 November 2009

  • Publication Status:


  • Publisher

    Scottish Building Standards Agency

  • Library of Congress:

    HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    363.7 Environmental pollution


Hutt, R. & MacKenzie, R. (2009). Services noise affecting dwellings.



Noise transmission; service noise; structure-borne noise; sound insulation;

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