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About Approved Document Part E

What is Part E?

The term “Part E” refers to the new Approved Document E of the Building Regulations.  Part E came into effect on 1 July 2003 and details new acoustic performance requirements in England and Wales for residential dwellings, schools and other construction types. Along with new performance requirements, Part E also establishes a need for Pre-Completion Testing to enforce these standards and suggests a range of constructions for appropriate elements. The key elements for residential dwellings are separating walls and floors between dwellings and internal partitions within dwellings. Both new build dwellings and those new dwellings created by what Part E describes as “Material Change of Use” are covered. Material Change of Use relates to what would be more commonly known as refurbishment and conversion work.

The information provided here applies to dwellings. For advice on other constructions, including schools, please contact the Key to Part E Customer Hotline – 0870 240 6371. Why are these standards in Part E necessary? Significant attention is now being paid to the issue of unwanted noise transmission within buildings and, in particular, to noise transmission within residential dwellings. The current standards in Part E are designed to improve modern living standards. When does Part E come into force? For the Material Change of Use market the Part E regulations apply from 1 July 2003, and for New Build the impact of Part E is also now in force. Tables 0.1 and 0.2 show the new acoustic standards, where they apply and when Pre-Completion Testing will be required from.

Table 0.1

Dwelling Houses & Flats Separating walls, floors and stairs Date Pre-completion testing applies
New Build Airbourne sound insulation DnT,w + Ctr dB (Minimum values) Impact sound insulation L’nT,w dB (Maximum values) 1 July 2004
Walls 45
Floors 45 62
Material Change of Use 1 July 2003
Walls 43
Floors 43 64


Table 0.2

Laboratory values for internal walls and floors
Airbourne sound insulation Rw dB (Minimum values)
New Build
Walls 40
Floors 40
Material change of use
Walls 40
Floors 40
dB (Decibel) indicates the level of sound reduction required.
Rw laboratory measurement of airbourne sound transmission.
DnT,w + Ctr site measurement of airbourne sound with low frequency correction applied. The higher the figure the better the performance.
L’nT,w site measurement of the impact sound level. The lower the figure the better the performance.

 Do I need to  build using the  suggested  construction in  Part E to  comply?

 The constructions suggested in Part E are merely examples and,  as stated, not exhaustive.

Section 0 of the Approved Document, paragraph 0.5 states: “Sections 2,3,4 and 6 of this approved document give examples of  constructions, which, if built correctly, should achieve the sound  insulation values for dwelling-houses and flats set out in Table 1a,  and the values for rooms for residential purposes set out in Table  1b. The guidance in these sections is not exhaustive and other designs, materials or products may be used to achieve the required performance” If you choose to build to these constructions you will still need to Pre-Completion Test.

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