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What is BS 8233:2014?

When it comes to constructing a new building, or upgrading an existing one, there's a lot to think about. From choosing the right building products, to ensuring they're installed correctly, there are a lot of standards, regulations and recommendations to sift through.

BS 8233:2014 is one example. This British Standard provides guidance on sound insulation and noise reduction for buildings. It applies to both the design of new buildings, as well as refurbished buildings undergoing a change of use. However, it doesn't deal with assessing the effects of changes in external noise levels to occupants of an existing building.

The standard was informed through a combination of research and experience and aims to provide information on creating an acoustic environment that's appropriate to its function. Topics covered include controlling:

  • noise from outside the building.
  • noise from machinery and services inside the building.
  • room acoustics for non-critical situations.

It is primarily intended for use by non-specialist designers and construction teams, as well as those concerned with building control, planning and environmental health.

The standard suggests criteria for a number of common situations, such as suitable sleeping and resting conditions, and notes noise levels that normally satisfy necessary requirements for most people. However, it also explains that people have varying sensitivities to noise and the levels suggested may need to be adjusted to suit specific circumstances.

The standard was last updated in 2014 and replaces the version that was published in 1999. Changes to the previous version include:

  • Revisions to Building Regulations Approved Document E.
  • Specialist documents for specific sectors like healthcare and education.
  • The publication (in England) of the National Planning Policy Framework, along with the withdrawal of various individual planning guidance and policy statements.
  • A reappraisal of the tabular content, in a bid to set targets that better agree with the latest research.
  • Content added to annexes.

While BS 8233 may be relevant to a wide range of specifiers, it is likely to be of most use to:

  • Regulatory and planning authorities.
  • Architects and developers.
  • Acoustic and environmental consultants.
  • Relevant governmental and non-governmental agencies.
  • Manufacturers of related products.