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    • lara241
    • By lara241 15th Sep 19, 7:14 AM
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    lara241
    soundproofing cost and responsibility
    • #1
    • 15th Sep 19, 7:14 AM
    soundproofing cost and responsibility 15th Sep 19 at 7:14 AM
    i recently bought a downstairs flat. i had all of the surveys etc done but they didn't uncover the fact that the person who converted it hadn't put in any of the required soundproofing. We tried to address this with the council ( which had signed off the building works), but they want nothing to do with it. The family upstairs are aware of the issues, but still went ahead and installed wooden floors and bought three dogs which run around on the wooden floors all day. Ive checked the lease and it looks like there is nothing preventing them having wooden floors. I am wondering if anyone can tell me if the upstairs family is now responsible for putting in proper soundproofing? They do have something under the wooden flloors,apparently, but i think it is probably really cheap and obviously insufficient. We dont want any soundproofing work done from downstairs, as we have all of the original Victorian features and these would be lost.
Page 1
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 15th Sep 19, 7:52 AM
    • 29,516 Posts
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    Davesnave
    • #2
    • 15th Sep 19, 7:52 AM
    • #2
    • 15th Sep 19, 7:52 AM
    i recently bought a downstairs flat. i had all of the surveys etc done but they didn't uncover the fact that the person who converted it hadn't put in any of the required soundproofing. We tried to address this with the council ( which had signed off the building works), but they want nothing to do with it.
    Originally posted by lara241
    How would a survey 'uncover the fact that the person who converted it hadn't put in the required soundproofing'? Like you, the person selling the flat wouldn't want any invasive surgery to find out what was or wasn't in the void. Surveys do not involve lifting floorboards, especially someone else's!

    The council signed off the building works as meeting building regs, or it could have been signed-off by a private company able to act in that capacity, but as it wasn't a new build, I'm not aware what standards would have to be met, if any. Perhaps someone with more experience here, like Doozergirl, will advise.

    I do know with older conversions, mitigating sound transfer is much more difficult than simply placing some sort of padding in the void. The building's walls and timbers play a role and may not be altered, especially if there are original features existing which people value, as you do.

    I've lived in Georgian flats, totally unaltered in terms of their structure, with no soundproofing added. I hardly ever heard a neighbour. It does seem to be luck of the draw with sound transfer, but you've been unlucky with the neighbour too and the terms of your leases.
    Opportunities may be missed, especially when they arrive disguised as hard work.

    • Norman Castle
    • By Norman Castle 15th Sep 19, 7:54 AM
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    Norman Castle
    • #3
    • 15th Sep 19, 7:54 AM
    • #3
    • 15th Sep 19, 7:54 AM
    What noise do you hear from the dogs, claws on a hard surface?


    Is it a recent conversion and how do you know the correct soundproofing hasn't been done?
    Last edited by Norman Castle; 15-09-2019 at 7:57 AM.
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    • shortcrust
    • By shortcrust 15th Sep 19, 11:52 AM
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    shortcrust
    • #4
    • 15th Sep 19, 11:52 AM
    • #4
    • 15th Sep 19, 11:52 AM
    There are indeed building regulations about impact noise through floors that would apply to a flat conversion, but my understanding is that a council can't enforce regulations more than 12 months after completion so it's a bit irrelevant now. Even if they could enforce now it would presumably be up to the current owners of the flats to do the required work.

    I really can't see how it's the neighbour's or anyone else's responsibility to 'fix' the soundproofing now. I think all you can do is get the work done yourself. If the ceiling features are really important to you then I suppose you could approach the neighbour and ask if they would be prepared to have the work done from their side. I think most people would require a pretty big incentive to put up with that level of hassle and disruption for something they probably don't see as being their problem.
    • FreeBear
    • By FreeBear 15th Sep 19, 12:34 PM
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    FreeBear
    • #5
    • 15th Sep 19, 12:34 PM
    • #5
    • 15th Sep 19, 12:34 PM
    Even if they could enforce now it would presumably be up to the current owners of the flats to do the required work.
    Originally posted by shortcrust

    Surely, this work affects the fabric of the building, so would be down to the freeholder to fix ?
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    • shortcrust
    • By shortcrust 15th Sep 19, 1:01 PM
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    shortcrust
    • #6
    • 15th Sep 19, 1:01 PM
    • #6
    • 15th Sep 19, 1:01 PM
    Surely, this work affects the fabric of the building, so would be down to the freeholder to fix ?
    Originally posted by FreeBear
    Yes of course. I think I’d assumed that the flat owners have joint ownership of the freehold but I suppose that might not be so, perhaps especially as a lease has been mentioned.
    • cybervic
    • By cybervic 15th Sep 19, 11:03 PM
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    cybervic
    • #7
    • 15th Sep 19, 11:03 PM
    • #7
    • 15th Sep 19, 11:03 PM
    Ive checked the lease and it looks like there is nothing preventing them having wooden floors.
    Originally posted by lara241
    Check your lease if there's any mention of underlay or sound deadening material to be use to avoid any nuisense or excessive noise. There was a court case won by downstairs flat last year as the judge ruled there was a breach of lease by the installation of new floors in the upstair's flat without authorisation of freeholder.

    You can also try to find out if the upstairs has any plan to sell in near future, if so, then mention it to them once you raise the issue formally they will have to declare to the noise complaint/issue to any potential buyers.
    • prosaver
    • By prosaver 15th Sep 19, 11:20 PM
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    prosaver
    • #8
    • 15th Sep 19, 11:20 PM
    • #8
    • 15th Sep 19, 11:20 PM
    I hsd the same problem upstairs they had wooden floors installed and the neighbours upstairs used to have tap dancing parties every Sunday night , went upstairs to complain and it looked like really fun and ending up joining in, so it solved the problem. And lost a bit of weight too.. they all come to my place on Wednesday night, so ive ended up really fit
    #justsaying
    “Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
    ― George Bernard Shaw
    • jamesperrett
    • By jamesperrett 16th Sep 19, 12:05 AM
    • 889 Posts
    • 527 Thanks
    jamesperrett
    • #9
    • 16th Sep 19, 12:05 AM
    • #9
    • 16th Sep 19, 12:05 AM
    Unfortunately effective soundproofing of a floor/ceiling is only going to work if the floor and ceiling are separated. Anything less is going to end up as a disappointment when you realise that you can still hear the noise. So, if you want soundproofing you are going to have to accept that your ceilings will be replaced as I can't see your upstairs neighbours agreeing to their floor being raised.
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