HC Deb 10 December 2003 vol 415 cc81-2WS
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Phil Hope)

I have today laid an amendment to the building regulations deferring introduction of pre-completion testing of the sound insulation between new houses and flats to 1 July 2004. This will allow more time for consideration of the results of a consultation into the construction industry's proposals for the robust standard details alternative to testing.

In the interim, consumers will remain protected by new standards introduced in July this year, which will continue to be enforced by building control bodies.

Noise is one of the issues that people really care about. We remain committed to improving quality of life and will continue to work with industry to build better, safer and more environmentally friendly homes.

The revised Part E (resistance to the passage of sound) of the building regulations came into force on 1 July 2003 and introduced requirements for pre-completion testing of sound insulation between dwellings. For dwellings created by conversion work and new or converted accommodation that is not self-contained, the requirements for testing came into force on 1 July 2003. For new houses and flats it was due to come into force on 1 January 2004.

This later date was to give the House Builders Federation (HBF) time to develop robust standard details—constructions that perform consistently well and so do not need regular testing. The HBF have now done this, and their proposals were subjected to a public consultation which ended on 10 November 2003.

I will also be taking advice from the Building Regulations Advisory Committee, and will then decide whether or not to amend the building regulations and approved inspectors regulations to allow robust standard details to be used as an alternative to testing.