Standards Library

BS 8233: 2014 Sound Insulation and Noise Reduction

BS 8233 is one of the central standards to acoustic engineering. This standard provides guidance and recommendations that can be widely used. It deals with the acoustic environments in and outside of buildings, reverberation time, internal sound insulation and noise from building services.

Which development types does this standard apply to?

  •  Hositals and Healthcare
  •  Hotels and Resorts
  •  Leisure
  •  Manufacturing and Process
  •  Offices
  •  Residential
  •  Retail

What does this standard provide?

External noise from existing sources will affect a building when it is complete. Excessive noise can create health issues in people, with potential effects on mental health and on cardiovascular health, for example. It is therefore important to control noise as best as possible, to prevent harm to occupants.

For instance, if a building is proposed to be built next to a motorway, the effect of noise on the occupants must be considered. When the future internal noise levels are understood, ways to control that noise can be designed. BS 8233 provides criteria for the assessment of new residential developments.

Conversely, too little noise can also be a problem in some cases. In offices, too little noise can mean that conversations can be understood between rooms. This then affects acoustic privacy, which the standard also addresses.
It is important to note that the criteria in BS 8233 are presented as recommendations only. They are not intended as specifications. However, the standard also offers a wealth of guidance on different topics, which relates to:

  • Assessment and mitigation methods for noise on development sites, from road, rail, aircraft and industrial and construction sources
  • Internal sound insulation and flanking sound transmission
  • Acoustic privacy
  • Reverberation time
  • References to other standards that provide more information or that focus exclusively on certain topics
The internal and external ambient noise level criteria are based on the findings of the World Health Organisation.

What are the obligations under this standard?

There are no obligations to meet the criteria in this standard; they are only recommendations. However, the criteria for internal ambient noise levels in residential dwellings are often used as the basis of planning conditions. They therefore are widely recognised as ‘standard criteria’, particularly for Local Authorities and Acoustic Engineers.

Who wrote and published this standard?

The full title of this standard is ‘BS 8233: 2014 Guidance on sound insulation and noise reduction for buildings‘. This standard was authored by Technical Committees and published in 2014 by the British Standards Institution (BSI).

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© 2022 Bloc Consulting, a division of All Bloc Limited
Company number 11008703

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