Thu, 20th August, 2009 - Posted by
If you happen to be a pensioner, parents of young children or someone who enjoys a little peace and quiet, chances are you will find yourself living next door to a noisy neighbour.
Especially troublesome for those people who live in terraced or semi-detached housing, the noisy neighbour can cause a considerable amount of emotional, physical and psychological distress.
Often heard playing loud music in the early hours of a Monday morning or, even worse, subjecting the entire neighbourhood to a live karaoke performance, noise polluters seem to be incapable of understanding the boundaries that exist between their right to enjoy themselves and their obligation not to disturb others. Furthermore, UK environmental laws are notoriously ineffective at resolving the problem.
Therefore, many homeowners have taken the initiative by soundproofing their properties. Sound reverberates off certain materials, which has the unfortunate consequence of making sound waves seem louder. Affixing layers of lead, foam or acoustic plaster boards to walls can disrupt the signature of sound waves whilst both reducing and absorbing them, which has the effect of muzzling the noisy neighbour’s activities.
Although soundproofing can be effective, the homeowner ought not to expect total silence – a 16db reduction would be a good start – and a professional builder should be consulted as soundproofing is not an easy job to do correctly and safely. Furthermore, any building work carried out on a party wall is subject to the Party Wall Act 1966, which requires that the neighbour be consulted about any changes. Indeed, this brings the whole job of soundproofing back into perspective as it requires something that can potentially solve the problem at no expense – communicating with the neighbour.