There are two main aspects to Schedule E of the Building regulations;
Dwelling-houses, flats and rooms for residential purposes shall be designed and constructed in such a way that they provide reasonable resistance to sound from other parts of the same building and from adjoining buildings.
The common internal parts of buildings which contain flats or rooms for residential purposes shall be designed and constructed in such a way as to prevent more reverberation around the common parts than is reasonable.
In order to comply with building regulations the constructor is required to either;
Undertake pre-completion testing for sound insulation and reverberation control to prove the building conform to the regulatory requirements.
Construct the building in strict accordance with all the ‘ robust details’ and design recommendations as set out in Schedule E parts 1 – 4. Robust details are high performance separating wall and floor constructions (with associated construction details) that are expected to be sufficiently reliable not to need the check provided by pre-completion testing.
Section 7 covers Reverberation in the common internal parts of buildings containing flats or rooms for residential purposes. This Section describes how to determine the amount of additional absorption to be used in corridors, hallways, stairwells and entrance halls that give access to flats and rooms for residential purposes. Any acoustic absorbent material used to control reverberation must be non flammable and fire rating to either BS476 Part 6 & 7 (class 0) or European Standard EN 13501 and achieve a minimum requirement of B1, S1, D0.
The principal methods for determining the performance and total required surface area of an acoustic material is as follows: Cover a specified area with an absorber of an appropriate class that has been rated according to BS EN ISO 11654:1997 Acoustic Sound absorbers for use in buildings. For entrance halls, corridors or hallways it is necessary to cover an area equal to or greater than the floor area, with a Class C absorber or better. It will normally be most convenient to cover the ceiling area with the additional absorption. For stairwells or a stair enclosure, calculate the combined area of the stair treads, the upper surface of the intermediate landings, the upper surface of the landings (excluding ground floor) and the ceiling area on the top floor. Either cover at least an area equal to this calculated area with a Class D absorber, or cover an area equal to at least 50% of this calculated area with a Class C absorber or better. The absorptive material should be equally distributed between all floor levels. It will normally be convenient to cover the underside of intermediate landings, the underside of the other landings, and the ceiling area on the top floor. This requirement can generally be satisfied by the use of proprietary acoustic ceilings. However, the absorptive material can be applied to any surface that faces into the space.