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Overheating, Noise and the Law

overheating noise and the law


In this video, Teli Chinelis discusses Approved Document O, which is a new building regulation setting standards for overheating in new residential buildings. This approved document took effect on 15 June 2022 for use in England.

The independent Committee for Climate Change reported that the government’s failure to address the challenge of adapting the built environment to climate change will condemn thousands of people to death in overheated buildings. It urged the government to revise the Building Regulations to tackle overheating.

The Government has listened and went on to publish a new Approved Document, Approved Document O, which is a new building regulation setting standards for overheating in new residential buildings. This approved document took effect on 15 June 2022 for use in England.

When rooms overheat, and these rooms are subject to incident environmental noise levels, many occupants choose not to open their windows for comfort cooling, thus exacerbating the negative health effects which in many cases every year, can tragically be fatal.

In order to address this issue, the update on the Building Regulations includes objective night-time internal noise limits in bedrooms that should not be exceeded with an open window. This is the first time that regulation of environmental noise falls under the Building Regulations, rather than Planning legislation.

Based on the noise limits prescribed in Approved Document O and the likely areas for facade openings for comfort cooling, it would be difficult to rule out the need for an environmental noise survey during the early design stages in order to assess which bedrooms may be allowed to combat overheating via opening windows.

Approved Document O refers to in situ noise measurements to demonstrate compliance, but most developers would rather know at the design stage whether the development complies with the Building Regulations so that an appropriate design response, either using alternative passive or active means, can be embedded in the plans.

If you are a developer and wish to appoint an acoustics specialist to assist in complying with these new Building Regulations, then please contact Finch Consulting and we‘ll get back to you as soon as possible.

01530 412777 or [email protected].

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