Acoustic impact and noise disturbance: how to prevent?

Acoustic impact and noise disturbance: how to prevent?

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When of acoustic impactor you get to speak in court it means that something has gone wrong in the design-construction of the building, or that something has changed for the worse in the acoustic quality of the surroundings (or perhaps nothing has changed and certain things we should have noticed before).

But can you avoid being in court for noise pollution issues after buying a house? Definitely yes, paying attention to everything and paying due attention to some 'sentinel factors'.

Before giving any advice, it must be said that the problem is serious because, whatever the cause, the proximity of buildings to sources of noise from the fort acoustic impact, or the excessive internal noise of the building, have negative effects on people's health. The consequences are: insomnia, reduced concentration, communication difficulties and even cardiovascular problems.

Enough to go to court, and indeed legal disputes relating to noise disturbance in homes they are numerous in Italy. Whoever is disturbed by the noise sues the 'disturbance' or counts the builder of the building in order to stop the noise and to have compensation for the damage suffered: biological, moral, existential, from stress etc.

In court cases on releases from noise, the matter of the dispute normally concerns three points:

  • determine if there really is noise input (Article 844 of the Civil Code) exceeding the jurisprudential limit of 'normal tolerability' of no more than 3 dB above the background noise;
  • establish if thesoundproofing of the structural elements of the building and the noise produced by the condominium systems are really insufficient according to the criteria of 'good technique';
  • establish, if there is really noise exceeding the tolerable or scarce level acoustic quality of the building, what is the devaluation suffered by the property (when it comes to houses: more noise = less money).

The civil judge determines who is right and who is wrong, based on the arguments of the parties and normally an expert opinion performed by an appointed technician. The times are long, the stress is a lot, there are costs to be incurred. How to avoid all this?

There is a slogan coined by Cavalier Giovanni Gabetti, founder of the homonymous real estate, which seems perfect: before buying a house, listen to it. When they buy a house, not everyone fully assesses that the apartment above a bar or a nightclub can be depreciated by noise provoked by the patrons. They worry even less if there are noisy neighbors, if the plumbing systems are noisy or simply out of the way or if the apartment above has a floor without foot traffic insulation (Dpcm 5.12.1997).

THE acoustic factors There are two to be taken into consideration for a correct real estate valuation.

  • Acoustic characteristics of the area: take a good look out of the window. However, the assessment should not be made only on the basis of municipal acoustic zoning, it must be done in the field. In the city, exposure on the street rather than on the courtyard counts (the difference can be up to 20 dB). The upper floors are more sheltered from noise. The top floor apartments have the advantage of not having the problem of trampling from the upper floor, but they are the most exposed to the noises of the extraction towers of the blind bathrooms and of the air conditioning systems. At night, the acoustic impact is that of public places in the area. So: take a good look out of the window and don't do the inspection on weekends (many activities are stopped and usually there is a acoustic impact is lower).
  • Acoustic characteristics of the building: sound insulation and noise of the systems. Just as double glazing is required to reduce the acoustic impact of traffic, even between two apartments the separation wall must be double and (especially if it is bedrooms) and provide for a soundproofing barrier. All apartments are equally exposed to the risk of rudeness from the neighbor, adjacent or downstairs or upstairs: shouting, screaming, quarrels, TV, music, animals, trampling, etc. To avoid the footsteps from the apartment above, a 'floating floor' must be provided at the time of construction or renovation consisting of a screed resting on a resilient material, for example cork. All the condominium technological systems (thermal power plants, autoclaves, roof towers, hydraulic gates ...) must be suitably soundproofed. When buying a house, it is right to ask for the documentation relating to the property that certifies compliance with the passive acoustic requirements (Dpcm 5.12.1997), but above all you have to check for yourself. If the property is new and the seller is a niche, it is better to leave the purchase alone. The higher construction cost necessary for a good acoustic quality of the building - both forsoundproofing of the wall structures and for the noise of the condominium systems - it is small when compared to the total cost, and even smaller compared to the possible 'damage from noise'. In the case of dated properties without sound insulation, you can ask for or provide for interventions on your own which will only be palliative.

Video: How to soundproof a ceiling - Oscar Iso-Mount Type2 installation video (June 2022).


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