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An increasing demand for housing is leading to the continuous development of urban areas and infill of brownfield sites. As a result, the impact of environmental noise is becoming an increasingly important consideration for developers when designing high quality new buildings. External noise affects health and quality of life, as well as impacting on the availability of natural ventilation through window openings.

Recent studies indicate that the adverse effects from environmental noise (such as traffic noise) can include sleep disturbance, cognitive cardiovascular conditions and mental health issues. These concerns are recognised in the National Noise Policy Statement for England, which sets out a long term vision of Government noise policy, which aims to promote good health and quality of life through the effective management of noise.

Excessive exposure to high levels of traffic noise can be mitigated through specification of appropriate sound insulation and careful consideration of site planning.

When planning a new development near to existing transport infrastructure, a Noise Impact Assessment should be undertaken to establish the existing ambient noise levels. Internal noise levels within the proposed dwellings can then be calculated, to inform the façade design and ensure that desirable internal noise conditions can be achieved.

Our Acoustic Consultants provide advice to ensure developments are designed for appropriate noise levels in accordance with the principles of BS 8233:2014. This British Standard sets out desirable criteria for internal noise levels within habitable rooms, which are presented in the Table below.

The results of the Noise Impact Assessment can aid appropriate façade design and ventilation strategies to ensure desirable internal noise conditions can be achieved, without compromising other requirements such as overheating and energy efficiency.