The requirements of sound testing Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMO’s) is not clear within the Approved Doc E Standard and much of the decision is based upon the interpretation of the written guidance and the opinion of Building Control Officer. Soundguard Acoustics Ltd can assist within this interpretation and offer third party advice between the BCO and the developer. We consider that HMO’s are ‘rooms for residential purpose’ which is defined in Regulation 2 of the Approved Doc E as ‘a room’, or a ‘suite of rooms’, which is not a dwelling house or a flat and which is used by one or more persons to live and sleep and includes a room in a hostel, a hotel, a boarding house, a hall of residence or a residential home.

Typically, the interpretation of an HMO is a collection of independent bedrooms with shared communal living spaces, shared kitchens and occasionally also common bathrooms. This arrangement may be considered as a ‘suite of rooms’ and the guidance suggests that testing should be performed ‘between rooms’ or ‘between suites of rooms’. This suggests that testing should be performed between adjacent ‘suites of rooms’ and where one HMO is one ‘suite of rooms’ then there may not be an adjacent space to test against and testing may not be required. However, where the HMO may be split between floors, for example groups of bedrooms with more than one kitchen perhaps arranged over each floor then that could arguably be considered as more than one suite of rooms and it may be prudent to test the party floors between the two ‘suites’. Soundguard Acoustics Ltd can assist with these interpretations and work with the developer and the Building Control Officer in establishing a test regime and advising where testing may not be required, often this is accompanied with a supporting letter for the BCO to satisfy that testing is not applicable.

If you need our assistance in the interpretation of  then please contact us on 01237 478142 or email us