BS 8233 – Noise Survey & Assessment: A Practical Guide to BS 8233 Noise Assessments and Planning Permission

What is a British Standard (BS)?

British Standards are codes of practice and specifications that cover management and technical quality requirements. Standards give guidance and recommendations on dealing with managing a process, making a product, delivering a service, or supplying materials. The standards are voluntary, so are not bound by law and do not impose legal responsibilities. The British Standard Institution (BSI) creates the standards and currently has over 30,000 standards under their supervision.

BSI say that:
“Standards are knowledge. They are powerful tools that can help drive innovation and increase productivity. They can make organizations more successful and people’s everyday lives easier, safer and healthier.”

What is BS 8233?

BS8233 is a relevant standard regarding acoustics and noise control. The title of this standard is Noise Survey & Assessment: A Practical Guide to BS8233 Noise Assessment and Planning Permission. In general terms, this standard sets our appropriate guidelines for external and internal noise levels within bedrooms, living rooms, dining rooms and gardens during the daytime (07:00 – 23:00) and the night-time (23:00 – 07:00).
The standard also helps and guides the user by providing guidance on the design of sound insulation and methods of achieving the appropriate noise levels within new builds and refurbishments within the guidelines of BS8233.

A BS_8233 survey is often carried out when developing a residential house/flat, school, healthcare facility or hotel that is located close to a transport noise source. This maybe a road, an airport, or a railway line. The Local Authority will request that a BS8233 noise survey is carried out to ensure that the appropriate internal and external noise levels can be achieved if they deem that the close transport noise will cause significant effect to the future residents of the building.

Possible outcomes and recommendations from the noise report

If the noise survey and report outline that the transport noise will cause significant effect to the future residents, then recommendations will be made to ensure that the noise requirements in BS8233 are met. These may include:

• Increasing the distance between the road and development
• Alternative ventilation measures, such as a sealed façade with mechanical ventilation rather than openable windows with natural ventilation
• The use of screens or acoustic barriers
• Enhanced acoustic glazing/doors
• Building orientation and layout, such as putting rooms with a higher internal noise threshold (like a bathroom) closer to the noise source
• Sound insulation schemes

Who uses this standard?

• Regulatory and planning authorities
• Architects and developers
• Acoustic and environmental consultants
• Relevant governmental and non-governmental agencies
• Manufacturers of related products