Building Bulletin 93 (BB93)
Acoustic Design of Schools: Performance Standards

Building Bulletin 93 (BB93) was published by the Department for Education in 2014, and updated through 2015.

The document provides acoustic criteria for educational spaces for the following acoustic aspects:

  • Indoor ambient noise levels
  • Sound insulation between spaces
  • Reverberation time in teaching and study areas
  • Sound absorption in corridors, entrance halls and stairwells

Compliance with the standards in the document will in turn mean compliance with Requirement E4 of Approved Document Part E (in support of the Building Regulations).

Requirement E4 of Part E states that:

(1) Each room or other space in a school building shall be designed and constructed in such a way that it has the acoustic conditions and the insulation against disturbance by noise appropriate to its intended use.

(2) For the purposes of this Part - 'school' has the same meaning as in Section 4 of the Education Act 1996; and 'school building' means any building forming a school or part of a school.

Approved Document Part E

BB93 provides a useful table demonstrating when the regulations apply, and this is reproduced below.


Type of spaceNew build including extensions, pre-fab, buildingsMaterial change of use (from non-school building)Refurbishment of existing school buildings
Material Alterations4
Temporary buildings in place for up to 28 days3
Schools1, 2Building Regulation E4: applicable
School Premises Regulations/Independent Schools Standards: applicable
Building Regulation E4: exempt
School Premises Regulations/Independent Schools Standards: applicable
Admin and ancillary areasBuilding Regulation E4: exempt
School Premises Regulations/Independent Schools Standards: applicable
Nursery schools2
(not within school complexes)
Colleges/sixth-form collegesBuilding Regulation E4: exempt
School Premises Regulations/Independent Schools Standards: not applicable
Higher education
Further education
Community and adult education
(not within school complexes)


Notes to table:

1 ‘Schools’ includes independent schools, academies, free schools, university technical colleges, sixth-form colleges attached to schools, and nursery/community and adult education spaces within school complexes.

2 School Premises Regulations apply to all schools, including community special schools and pupil referral units, which are treated as ‘schools’ in the table above.

3 Temporary buildings are those not intended to remain in place for longer than 28 days. All buildings that remain in place longer than 28 days must comply with the Building Regulations.

Bloc Consulting has provided complete acoustic assessment and testing services relating to Education and Higher Education developments to many satisfied Clients. Contact our specialists today to see how we can add value to your project.

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