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HMO's and Sound Testing for Part E of the Building Regulations

Posted in Soundproofing & Sound Testing on Apr 01, 2019

What is a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)?

Houses in multiple occupation. Your home is a house in multiple occupation ( HMO ) if both of the following apply: at least 3 tenants live there, forming more than 1 household. you share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities with other tenants.

Does Part E of the building regs apply? 

Whether Part E of the Building Regulations applies depends on whether the HMO is defined as rooms for residential purposes. The building regulations Part E states;

Interpretation (Regulation 2) ‘room for residential purposes’ means a room, or suite of rooms, which is not a dwelling house or a flat and which is used by one or more persons to live and sleep and includes a room in a hostel, an hotel, a boarding house, a hall of residence or a residential home, but does no include a room in a hospital or other similar establishment, used for patient accommodation.  

When rooms are defined as rooms for residential purposes the requirement E2 of Part E of the building regulations applies.

E2. Dwelling houses, flats and rooms for residential purposes shall be designed and constructed in such a way that: 

  • Internal wall between a bedroom or a room containing a water closet, and other rooms; and
  • Internal floors; provide reasonable resistance to sound

What do the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) say? 

The following extract is taken from the DCLG frequently asked questions

Should rooms in Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) be treated as Rooms for Residential Purposes? 

There is no single answer to this question. The term “House in Multiple Occupation” (HMO) is defined in the Housing Act 2004, and a wide range of premises will fall within the definition. Many of these premises will contain rooms that would also meet the definition of a room for residential purposes given in regulation 2(1) of the Building Regulations; however there are others that will not. Each case should therefore be considered on its own merits. 

When deciding whether a room or a suite or rooms is a room for residential purposes, the list of establishments in which rooms for residential purposes may be found, which is given in the definition in regulation 2(1), provides useful guidance. It states that a room or suite of rooms, used by one or more persons to live and sleep, in a hostel, hotel, boarding house, hall of residence or residential home is included in the definition of room for residential purposes. Consequently rooms or suites of rooms used by one or more persons to live and sleep in HMOs used for those purposes, or in HMOs which have a substantially similar use, are likely to be rooms for residential purposes, although it is necessary to carefully consider each case individually. 

Rooms or suites of rooms in HMOs which are not hotels, hostels, boarding houses, halls of residence, residential homes or similar are therefore unlikely to be rooms for residential purposes as defined in the Building Regulations. It is not possible to give definitive guidance, but it is unlikely for example that bedrooms in a HMO which consists of a single family dwelling-house which is shared by a small group of students could be regarded as rooms for residential purposes.

Reference: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/509347/160321_Part_E_FAQ.pdf

So as you can see there is a degree of ambiguity in how HMO’s and Sound Testing should be approached!

What we have experienced? 

We have worked on numerous projects with HMO’s and the level of service dictated by the Building Control Officer requested has varied quite dramatically. We have been requested to provide the following level of services in order to sign the development off:

  • Sound Insulation Design Advice only; We have bee instructed to simply provide sound insulation design advice by the Building Inspector in order to ensure the developer is undertaking best practical means to achieve the minimum requirements of Part E of the building regulations. But no sound testing was requested on completion.
  • Limited Scope of Testing; In some instance the Building Inspector has defined ‘High Risk’ areas that require acoustically design and testing to achieve Part of the building regulations. These are typically separating walls and floors between communal areas such as Living Rooms/Kitchens to Bedrooms.
  • Full Sound Testing: In most instances we are asked to design and sound test all separating walls and floors in accordance with Part E of the building regulations. l
  • No Testing; On some occasions Part E of the building regulations has been disregarded entirely.

What we would advise?

In all instances the correct approach is to ensure all party walls and floors are designed and tested to achieve the requirements of Part E of the building regulations. Whilst the cost of the development will increase, the benefit of improved sound insulation in HMO’s will pay dividends in the long term through tenants having a more amenable environment to live in and thus they will be more likely to stay in the HMO longer.

As we have found multiple different approaches to HMO’s and Sound Testing it is imperative to consult your Building Inspector early to ensure you are achieving the standards that they require and don’t have a sound test requested at the end of a project when the acoustic measured have not been included in the design.

How can we help?

We listen to our clients’ needs and present them with practical, cost-effective solutions. This means that we offer a truly bespoke acoustic consultancy service for prices that are considered among the most competitive in the industry. NOVA Acoustics Ltd places a team of highly skilled, qualified and experienced acoustic consultants at our client’s full disposable; this is combined with the latest equipment, technological insights and expert guidance and recommendation, to ensure that clients are getting a guaranteed quality service every time they decide to get in touch.

We would love to hear from you so get in touch now!

 

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- Paul Hastings

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

30th May, 2017

I engaged Nova at the outset of my project (which I recommend you do) to assist with providing a detailed material specification and installation guidance. There was always someone available to help with practical enquiries and advice...

- C.G. Henry

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

29th Nov, 2017

I had Adam come round to a property which i thought was beyond repair. He gave sound advice with exact details of what needed to be carried out in the most cost effective manner. Once the works were carried out he returned, tested it...

- Andrew Youngson

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

6th Dec, 2017

I have worked with the team at nova on a number of projects and have always been very helpful and competitively priced. Highly recommend this company for any sound test and report.

- Carol Chaplin

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

14th Jun, 2017

Excellent service, engineer was very informative and helpful.  Good customer service being able to speak to knowledgeable people on the telephone when making inquires about the procedure involved for the sound testing of our property...

- Bun Bar

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

2nd Dec, 2015

Good efficient service. Recommend it to all.

Bright Construction UK Ltd

- Gavin Boby

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

9th Nov, 2015

Very attentive and friendly service, keen to serve the client, and absolutely not about dragging the case out for fees - will work to save the client fees, and understand the practicalities of the case and the opposition that applications...

- Ejaz Shah

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

9th Nov, 2016

Adam was very attentive and very professional answered all my questions and returned all calls the engineer arrived at the time agreed and again explained everything before carrying out the test , and we received our report within couple...

- Charles OKell

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

23rd Feb, 2017

Its a tricky area and you need the right support, Paul Robinson  brought Adam's team to the table and we'll be working together again in future for sure.

- Ainsley Black

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

14th Dec, 2016

Although we had followed the building reg, in terms of sound insulation the property conversion still failed the sound Test. Adam was very helpful and professional and guided us to the point that when it was retested again we passed. Would...

- Robert Buchanan

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

19th Jun, 2017

Friendly efficient and cost effective service, without complication

- Hepple Property Care Ltd

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

26th Oct, 2017

Very quick service, would recommend to others

- Ian Fairbairn

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

20th Dec, 2016

Excellent service and communication with all the members of staff we had dealings with.  A very professional approach and attitude by all.  An experience that is refreshing within the building sector and a company I could recommend...

- Daniel Cogdon

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

2nd Oct, 2017

Fast turn around and great service, recommended

- Allan Proctor

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

21st Sep, 2016

Excellent service by Adam and the team at Nova. The service they delivered was efficient, competitive and I would highly recommend them!

- Carol Richards

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

20th Jul, 2016

Having selected Nova Accoustics to perform a sound test on my latest project, I found the whole process completely professional, prompt & efficient .

The phone contact to set up the appointment was extremely  helpful...

- Michael Dickinson

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

1st Mar, 2017

Having used Nova Acoustics on several projects, I would not hesitate in recommending this company.

- Steph Openshaw

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

7th Sep, 2017

Fantastic service very quick and punctual highly recommended.

- Chris Bullerwell

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

22nd Nov, 2016

Used Nova Acoustics to sound test a property we'd converted in the Newcastle area.

Excellent service from start to finish. Professional, helpful & reliable throughout...highly recommended.

- Andrew Holmes

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

23rd Mar, 2017

Really helpful team of people and very quick service, which was greatly appreciated.

- Siying Lid

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

17th Aug, 2016

We are a small design firm and NOVA Acoustics provided very sufficient services to our clients with reasonable price. And they are quick to respond too.  Highly recommended.

- Floors By Design Leicester

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

24th Apr, 2017

Very good company, communicated all the way through.  Competitive pricing, I will be using them again in the near future.

- Stewart Greenhalgh

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

6th Jul, 2017

First Class, prompt professional service. I will recommend to other clients.

- Frank Kenny

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

5th Oct, 2017

Excellent  service so far and will be contacting them again for their services.

- Kelly Freakley

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

26th Jul, 2017

Fantastic service from this company at a very reasonable price, would definitely recomend....

- Robert Myers

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

27th Apr, 2017

I used Nova acoustics to sound test my basement flat conversion for the building control certificate

And found them to be professional and friendly. The test was done mid afternoon and I had received by six o'clock the same...

- Stephen Shaw

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

13th Jul, 2017

Excellent service. Would recommend to anyone needing assistance with matters arising from acoustics and noise.

- Rick Parsons

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

29th Jun, 2017

iKoustic have worked with Nova Acoustics for some time now and they are constantly thorough, professional and super helpful in everything they do ... They are certainly our partner of choice ... Rick

- Carl Smoult

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

10th Aug, 2017

Prompt, friendly, efficient, professional... would recommend and use again.

- Gary Oliver

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

20th Mar, 2017

As most of you reading this message are now probably aware  the difficulty of finding guidance and compliance of the part E building regulations is an arduous task. Well search no more! Adam at Nova Acoustics not only talked me through...

- Kate Whitehead

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

27th Jul, 2017

Speedy quote, arranging the testing & report! Seb was really friendly & efficient onsite. Highly recommend!

- David Hope

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

26th Sep, 2017

Came promptly at the requested time. Did the work professionally and in good time and provided the required reports so no issues or problems to report.

- Mark Girdham

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

27th Jul, 2017

NOVA provided a fast and efficient service. They came to carry out the sound tests on my 8 Bed HMO, which was a change of use from 4 flats. Very friendly and professional service. Mark (Hull)

- Simon Phillips

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4th Oct, 2017

Excellent company, providing a professional service at a competitive price and a quick, hassle free  experience. I would recommend them to anyone.

Simon Phillips  Salisbury Poultry Ltd

- Peter Phillips

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

31st Aug, 2017

Excellent service from start to finish.

Highly professional team who where very accommodating to the team on site and worked exceptional well with everyone.

Having worked with other companies within the same...

- Claire Gannon

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

31st Oct, 2017

Excellent speedy service, Luigi was very proficient and professional at carrying out his job, a real asset to the company. Thank you Luigi. Kind Regards, Ant Mason

Clients we’ve worked with

  • ITV
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