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Sound insulation standards for new-build French properties

Posted by FindHomeAbroad on June 23, 2019

With thermal insulation, sound insulation is a key point to have a pleasant living environment in your new French property. The lack of sound insulation can cause inconvenience to the occupants and cause stress. What is sound insulation? What are the acoustic standards in force for new housing?

Phonic standards in the construction of new-build property in France.

What is sound insulation?

In new construction, sound or acoustic insulation is the fact that the materials used to muffle the sounds to preserve the tranquillity of the occupants. Within a dwelling, there are several sources of noise pollution: The noise of the equipment (ventilation, heating, exhaust duct, elevator …)
Noise from occupants and neighbours (through the floor or walls)
External noises (infrastructure including roads)
Several regulations complement each other to control these three sources of inconvenience.

Consideration of sound insulation should be considered from the design stage of a new-build project. Indeed, the choice of materials used will be decisive on the performance of the acoustic insulation of your property. Each actor involved in the construction of a new home is also concerned and responsible for the quality of the acoustic insulation of the building: the client, the developer, the contractors, the technical controller on-site…

Good sound insulation requires the use of suitable materials:

Walls and floors: cinder block, hollow block, brick, concrete …
Passage: glazing, door …
Flooring, walls, facade …
Materials ceilings, floors, partitions

Good to know
Combining sound and heat insulation
There are insulation materials that allow simultaneous acoustic insulation and thermal insulation

What sound insulation standards in the construction of a new home in France?
The first acoustic regulation for new residential buildings dates from 1969. It was revised and strengthened in 1994 and a second time in 1999. Since then, it is the regulations in force.

The new acoustic regulation (NRA in French) applies to all the new housing construction whose building permit was filed after 1 January 1996. It is adapted to European standards. It defines a threshold of decibel not to exceed according to the source of the noise and the room in the property. It varies between 30 dB and 58 dB.

Good to know
Insulation within the same property
The Acoustic Regulation does not contain any sound insulation requirements between rooms in the same dwelling (walls, partition walls, floor to floors).

The geographical location of a home greatly influences the need for sound insulation. Thus, the “BR” zones, approved by the regional prefects, provide information on the level of noise caused by neighbouring infrastructures (roads, streets, rails, airports, etc.). The builder or developer must inquire about the area before starting the construction project.

Finally, the regulations are not the same depending on the type of housing. Standards for multi-family housing are stricter than those for detached single-family homes.

Sound insulation of interior noise

Noise Types taken into account:
Common areas: Source of noise Corridors, entrance, passage, stairwell
Shocks: Footsteps, falling object: Regulation for walls (floor and wall) for sounds coming from outside premises.
Interior Equipment (Boilers, ventilation, air conditioning): Noise measured in normal operating condition and minimum operation.

Sound insulation of external noise
Noise Types taken into account:
Neighbour Equipment: Faucets, flushing toilets, lifts…
Outdoor and Air: Road, rail, air transport (main rooms and kitchen)
Neighbourhood: Noise emanating from professional, cultural or recreational premises close to your property (noise level measured in the main rooms of the property with windows closed or open during the day and during the night)

Good to know
Standards for a minimum sound level
Construction rules and standards guarantee a minimum level of quality of construction for the well-being of the inhabitants. Some builders and developers go beyond that.

Control of the application of soundproofing standards
To check that soundproofing is respected, it is imperative to make acoustic measurements inside the finished property with certified measuring instruments “NF”. Several sources of noise are verified: airborne noise, impact noise, noise from building equipment and acoustic absorption of common circulations.

Since July 12, 2010, and for residential properties whose building permit has been filed after January 1, 2013, the contracting authority has the obligation to provide a certificate of taking into account the acoustic regulations. It is produced at the completion of the works and handed over to the authority that issued the building permit.

The certificate is based on findings during the study phase and self-checks in progress and at the end of the project. For buildings with 10 or more apartments, acoustic measurements at the completion of the work are mandatory.

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