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Good Acoustic Design

Architectural Blueprints.

Post Date

May 24, 2024

Local Authorities are starting to refuse planning on “Good Acoustic Design” grounds

More and more we are seeing developers wanting to create new housing on sites which happen to be in noisy locations. This presents some large issues as ultimately, living conditions will suffer from a noise perspective. Not only does this become a noise problem, but as ventilation and glazing are both inextricably linked to internal noise levels, options become limited.

You also now have to consider “overheating”, which is linked to the above: Opening windows to ventilate properties (which should always remain a choice of the occupant) then becomes harder and alternative means might need to be sought. In turn, this pushes up costs to both the developer in terms of the build and the occupier in terms of running the dwelling as designed.

There are ways around this apart from the obvious one of not building in or close to noisy locations (which is getting harder, as preferrable brown-field sites are generally in these locations).

Some Considerations:

  • Creation of Landscaped Bunding as a means to reduce the initial sound levels entering the site – the height and length of bunding matters. This could become a scenic feature of the development if done well.
  • Internal Layouts of dwellings: place non-habitable rooms such as bathrooms, WCs, En-Suites, hallways, landings, kitchens etc against the noisy façade. Even orienting the buildings so that facades with no windows occur on the noisy side.
  • Don’t place balconies on facades affected by noise.
  • Buffer Zones: Consider, if you are building apartments, creating enclosed walk-ways to the properties and use this as a buffer zone to the noise.
  • Garden Locations: Use the building to shield your outdoor amenity area from the noise source(s). Buildings are very useful barriers to sound. Why not enclose all gardens within a courtyard area, surrounded by housing in a horse-shoe shape or fully enclosed space.
  • Glazing and Ventilation arrangements should not be the first port of call, but one of the last, however the use of plenum windows should be a consideration as more and more Local Authorities are wanting windows to be openable in “normal life” circumstances, not just for purge and the concept of upgraded windows and changed ventilation will no longer be acceptable.


Good Acoustic Design is premised by ProPG – Developers should relish the opportunity to get this right at the earliest drawing-board stages. It is also important to state that Local Authorities are starting to refuse planning on “Good Acoustic Design” grounds.

As part of our service to you, we can create computer noise contour models to show how the sound will travel around your site to assist with how noise is mitigated.

Contact us now so we can help you with your next project.

Image by Fanjianhua

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