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NOVA Acoustics

Acoustics Standards & Guidance

Below you will find a list of British/International Standards and Guidance relevant to the Acoustics field as well as a short description and key links on where to view or purchase the documents.
Doc E

Building Regulations Approved Document E

The Building Regulations are a collection of Approved Documents that provide guidelines, which must be met for every new build and newly converted properties in England and Wales.

Approved Document E (ADE) deals primarily with the sound insulation properties of residential developments. In 2013 the latest version of this document came into force and therefore, residential properties developed after this date must comply with this latest version.

The Approved Document E can be purchased using the link below:


Robust Details (Residential)

Registering with Robust Details Ltd can help achieve compliance with the Approved Document E 2013. Robust Details Ltd provide separating wall and floor constructions.

An alternative to pre-completion testing to prove compliance with ADE 2013 is registration with the scheme and correct use of the Robust Details constructions.

Find out more by clicking the button below:


BS 8233 (Residential, Industrial, Offices)

The British Standard Code of Practice BS8233: 2014 ‘Sound insulation and noise reduction for buildings’ provides advice on the design of internal acoustics buildings. It has to do with control of noise from outside the building, noise from plant and services within it, and room acoustics for non-critical situations.

BS 8233 Standard can be purchased using the button below:


BS 4142 (Industry)

The British Standard 4142: 2014, ‘Method for Rating industrial noise affecting mixed residential and industrial areas’ is a standard used mainly for the assessment of local residents’ likelihood of complaining if a new industrial noise source is introduced to the area. This standard is often used when near residential sites are developing near industry.

BS 4142 Standard can be purchased using the button below:



The Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) demands all industrial operations in specific sectors to conduct noise assessments and try to reduce noise emissions.

IPPC requires measurement of each separate noise source and calculation of the resultant noise level at the receiver location. Ordering noise sources from highest to lowest impact should follow this.

Industrial premises are required to minimise noise emissions by taking sensible steps such as employing Best Available Techniques (BAT). Since the cost of these measures is of relevant consideration, only changes considered reasonable should be implemented. The industry is permitted to work within their available budget, and BAT measure should not place unreasonable restrictions.

The IPPC document can be found using the button below:


Noise at Work

The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 established the regulations relating to occupational noise exposure, which came into force on 6 April 2006. The exposure that each employee experiences should be assessed based on measured LAeq noise levels corrected for an 8-hour working day.

Where possible, the standard requires reduction of employees’ noise exposure; designation of hearing protection areas; provision of hearing protection; and communication of relevant information to employees.


BS 5228 (Environmental)

The British Standard 5228: 2009 is the Code of Practice for Noise and Vibration Control on Construction and Open Sites. The BS5228 is published in two parts:

  • Part 1. Noise
  • Part 2. Vibration

The document provides source data for various types of noise source, calculation methods for noise produced by construction and open sites such as quarries.

It also specifies methods for calculating noise from stationary and mobile plants. Calculations use either sound power levels or LAeq levels as a source, subsequently, they use standard distance attenuation calculations, soft ground attenuations, barrier attenuations, percentage on time corrections, etc. Most of these areas are covered elsewhere in this handbook.

BS5228 provides information and guidance on measures for general noise control. It does not, however, give full guidance on noise limits but it does state that noise control targets for evening periods should be stricter than those for daytime (as much as 10dB(A) below daytime limit).

Purchase both parts using the buttons below:


BB93 (Education)

The BB93 standard provides strict guidelines for all school buildings and modification of school buildings. The standard became mandatory after the introduction of the 2003 version of the Approved Document E of Building Regulations.

The BB93 Guidelines can be found using the link below:


CRTN (Roads)

The Calculation of Noise from Road Traffic (CRTN) is the standard UK procedure, which defines measurement and calculation methods for assessing road traffic noise. This standard uses a method of five stages for calculating traffic noise at a reception point.

Read using the link below:


Noise Insulation Regulations (Roads & Railways)

Government legislation states that dwellings, which are seriously affected by railways or roads, require building insulation.

The Noise Insulation (Railways and Other Guided Transport Systems) Regulations (1998) help determine the properties needing additional sound insulation when a new or significantly altered railway or road could potentially impact on properties.

CRTN must be used to calculate the maximum façade levels expected from traffic flows. The eligibility criteria for living and bedrooms insulation are based on the LA10, (18-hour) (i.e. between 0600 and 0000 hours).

The authority responsible for the road construction has the duty to produce and display a map showing all eligible properties.


Pubs & Clubs

The Code of Practice (Good Practice Guide) on the Control of Noise from Pubs and Clubs has gone through various alterations, however, the September 2002 draft, which was never officially published, is still in use by some Local Authorities.

The requirements imposed by this Code of Practice apply to both internal and external noise sensitive properties and are targeted to venues with entertainment occurring more than once per week. Events taking place less regularly have similar criteria but allow entertainment noise to be 5dB higher for all the parameters.

The code of practice can be purchased using the link below:


Environmental Protection Act 1990

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 grant a Local Authority the power to serve a noise Abatement Notice to demand that an individual or company who is believed to be causing unnecessary and objectionable noise desists from causing future nuisance.

A Local Authority can allege that any noise emitted from premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance is a ‘statutory nuisance’.

The Local Authority has a responsibility to inspect its area from time to time to detect any statutory nuisances that need dealing with. They also have a duty to investigate a complaint of a statutory nuisance made by an individual living in the area and a duty to serve an Abatement Notice where the Local Authority is satisfied that a statutory nuisance exists or is likely or occur or recur within the area of the authority.

The Environmental Protection Act can be found using the button below:


ETSU R97 Wind Farms

This standard is concerned with noise from wind farms. It states the following:

  • Night-time criterion of 43dB LA90 outside a dwelling, which relates to 35dB LAeq inside a dwelling.
  • Daytime criterion is set at 35-40dB L externally and no more than 5dB over background noise levels.

This creates an odd situation where daytime noise limits are higher than at night, which arises from the route of derivation of the numbers.

Commonly wind turbine/wind noise is evaluated using BS4142. Read the document by clicking the button below:


Acoustic Glossary

A-Z list of terminology commonly used within acoustics.

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Acoustic Symbols
A-Z list of symbols commonly used within acoustics.
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Acoustics Education

Learn about the top UK Institutions offering Acoustics Education courses accredited by the IOA.