Noise from outside

Recommendation 71
After deciding about the location of the home, take satisfactory measures towards sound isolation around walls, windows and other façade openings

Chapter (theme)
Architectural spaces (sound)

Because of
sensory sensibilities (sound), weak powers of imagination, disturbed perception

In order to
lessen noise an related problems.

Noise from outside usually is traffic noise (airplanes, motor vehicles, trains and trams – in that order), although other noise sources may be relevant too. The burden is not always in the number of decibels which filter into the home but also lies in its interpretation. Coby (28) who lives independently says: “Shouting and yelling youths, scooters and screeching sounds of cars are extremely annoying. This house is in a quiet neighborhood, so that’s alright. The sound of playing children from the nearby school are far enough away and in the background. This sound is pleasant, cozy even.”

The exposure to outside noise and therefore the location of the home is the first consideration. This subject was treated in recommendation 5 where was illustrated how much the nuisance of noise can differ from one person to the next. The above quotation shows, moreover, that ‘a quiet neighborhood’ doesn’t always guarantee low noise levels.

Given the noise levels at a certain location in combination with the individual sensitivities, remains the necessity for adequate sound-insulation. Although structural measures and the materials to be employed are the competence of the architect, from the literature the following suggestions can be drawn:

  • Connection of door and frame, sealing of doors
  • Double glazing / additional window at 4 inches
  • Ventilation grilles with sound attenuation
  • For a detached house a cavity of at least 8 inches
  • The use insulating building blocks such as Insulated concrete forms (ICF’s) for exterior walls.



in that order
See Shield & Dockrell and assuming noise in schools is the same in this respect as at home. PDF