New research from Geberit addresses the effects of unwelcome noise in the home


New research from Geberit shows that more than half of us are affected by unwanted noise in the home and this is having a direct impact upon our wellbeing. Here Sophie Weston, Channel Marketing Manager for Specification and Developer at Geberit looks at the significance of this noise and why, in a new White Paper, A Sound Solution, the bathroom designer and manufacturer is calling for a radical rethink of UK regulations around acoustics in the home.

Noisier than ever?
We surveyed more than 2,000 adults across the UK to get greater insight on the impact of these ‘everyday’ noises – and the findings told us that the issue is far bigger than many of us might think.

More than a third of respondents (38%) told us that noises inside the home, such as electrical appliances, bathroom noise or central heating systems, currently affect them more than traffic from outside.

What was even more concerning, however, was the impact of this internal noise. More than half of respondents (51%) cited these unwanted noises as having a negative impact upon their wellbeing.

To quote the UK Green Building Council in its 2016 Report ‘Health and Wellbeing in Homes’: “Acoustic design and noise control is a key element for the design of stress-free restorative environments.” However, it would seem that, taking these findings into account, we are letting down homeowners, which is actually no surprise when you consider that existing regulations around the control of noise in buildings are far too vague. In fact, they offer little guidance on the specification of potential sound-optimising products which is why they need a serious rethink.


Regulating the issue
Let’s focus in particular on the issue of bathroom noise, one of the main culprits of unwanted sound in the home. Recent research shows that than one in four of us (28%) are regularly disturbed by bathroom sounds at night or when trying to relax. And yet, despite the fact that installation elements in the bathroom have direct contact with walls and floors, there still remains a lack of stewardship and specific, clear regulations governing the control of waste water noise inside new buildings. And it’s this waste water in particular that is an issue – our research found that one in five (19%) are regularly disturbed by flushing toilets, running taps or pipe and drains.

Of course, Geberit manufactures products that mitigate the impact of such noise. Sound optimised drainage piping such as Geberit’s Silent-db20 can reduce noise transfer from flushing water, washbasins or showers. Likewise, wall-hung toilets with concealed cisterns and pre-wall frames such as Geberit Duofix decouple from the construction, preventing noise from travelling down the wall and through the floor.

However, there is very little clarification within the relevant UK regulations on what products should be used to achieve specific sound pressures, particularly when it comes to water and bathroom noise.

One in four of us are regularly disturbed by bathroom sounds at night or when trying to relax”

Addressing the challenge
We can all – from architects and specifiers to housebuilders and even homeowners – make better-informed decisions to reduce noise and, subsequently, its impact on our wellbeing in the home. But, without specific UK standards on the noise pressure from water systems inside new buildings, there is no requirement for a building to meet a baseline figure.

There is also no defined approach to testing and, therefore, no incentive for different specifiers across a single project to work together and undertake collaborative testing to ensure that they are achieving the best acoustic rating – just as is the case today for heating or energy loss.

In contrast to the UK’s vague regulations, Germany’s DIN 410 acoustic standard sets maximum limits for acoustics inside a building.

Whilst some leading manufacturers here in the UK will ensure all products adhere to these standards, there nevertheless remains no baseline figure for the sound pressure of water and drainage passing through pipe system in UK guidelines – and thus no minimum standard for architects and consultants to meet.


Duofix concealed cistern Sigma21 with iCon WC

Raising standards
So, what is the solution? We are all aware that buildings need to consider acoustics and, of course, many of those in the sector will undoubtedly have an in-depth knowledge of the product solutions needed to overcome the challenge of this unwanted noise in the home.

Yet, without recognised standards to work to, it’s a challenge to specify a well-informed, collaboratively-tested solution across an entire building. And our research speaks for itself. Noise in the home is affecting the majority of us.

It’s time for the UK to revisit standards as well as outline maximum sound pressure figures and fair testing – thus enabling architects and specifiers to work with the construction industry achieve better results for our end-users.

Download our white paper at