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Dwellings Created by a Material Change of Use

The definition within Part E states that there is a Material Change of Use where there is a change in the purpose for which, or the circumstances in which, a building is used.

This includes a building that is now used as a dwelling, a building that now contains a flat, a building which contains more or less dwellings than it did previously and buildings now containing rooms for residential purposes.

For Material Change of Use (Conversions and Refurbishment) will I really need to Pre-Completion Test?

Material Change of Use must comply with Part E acoustic requirements as of 1 July 2003. Technically this means that Pre-Completion Testing will be required for separating elements. However, for smaller projects it is probable that Local Authority Building Control will take a practical approach and guidance should be sought from them.

What about Material Change of Use where dwellings are sold before they are fitted out?

Part E specifies that measurement of sound insulation should be made between the available spaces and that steps should be taken to ensure that fitting out will not adversely affect the sound insulation. Appropriate steps are not specified in Part E.

What about historic buildings undergoing Material Change of Use?

It is recognised that it may not be practical to achieve modern standards here in every case. Part E leaves it to Building Control Officers to ensure that “everything reasonable has been done”. What is considered reasonable is not defined in Part E. A notice will need to be displayed within the building to show the sound insulation levels achieved by testing.

Will laboratory certified Proprietary Systems be suitable for the Material Change of Use sector?

It is indeed possible that Local Authority Building Control will take the view in respect of Material Change of Use that Proprietary Systems will, where it is practical to use them, satisfy the core aims of Part E by delivering the specified acoustic requirements.

What if I am doing a loft conversion?

There is no specific guidance within Part E.

What if I am converting say a warehouse or other pre-existing building?

That will be classified as Material Change of Use - the structure exists already.

Recommended System Solutions

Given the huge range of construction types used we have suggested compliant solutions for the most commonly used building techniques. Obviously, particularly within the conversion sector, some of these solutions may not be immediately applicable and our Key to Part E Customer Hotline is available to offer advice and assist with the design of bespoke solutions.


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