How Renovation Agreement Reviews Can Help Reduce Noise Issues for Your Condo Board

reduce noise in condos

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Having noise issues in your condo? Suspended ceilings in residential buildings help absorb sounds and reduce vibrations. Unfortunately, Toronto condos usually have an eight-inch concrete slab instead. This creates a noise nightmare in many buildings. With the days of wall to wall broadloom long behind us, every little sound can travel further, and become louder, without a barrier to reduce impact. Here we explain how a review of your renovation agreement documents can help reduce noise issues in your condo.

Renovation Agreements

Before unit owners renovate their units, they must sign a Section 98 Agreement in accordance with the Condominium Act. The agreements apply to any alterations, improvements or additions proposed by the owner. They outline unit owner obligations when undergoing improvements. Your board must ensure proposed changes don’t negatively affect the unit under renovation, or other units in the building. This includes increased noise. Flooring upgrades are prime examples of alterations that can increase noise.

Renovation Agreement Reviews

Renovation agreement reviews allow for inclusion of requirements ensuring unit owners take proper steps to reduce noise impact. By adding specifics related to vibration and noise between units, such as requiring an acoustic membrane, you can reduce risk for increased noise issues.

What is an Acoustic Membrane?

A resilient acoustic membrane can help reduce impact from hard floors. Sound travels in high rise buildings due to vibrations. When floors are in direct contact with flooring substrates such as concrete it increases sound travel and vibrations. An acoustic membrane won’t completely stop noise, but it will certainly help dampen it.

Aim to Exceed Current Requirements

Ontario Building Code is pretty lax when it comes to noise. Right now they recommend IIC (Impact Insulation Class) 55 for noise impact. However, ICC is based on lab tests that measure soundproofing abilities between the floor and ceiling of a building. Because tests are run in a controlled environment it is not as dependable as what is known as FIIC (Field Impact Insulation Class). In the case of FIIC, tests are done in the actual setting, so it is more accurate. By requiring a higher IIC or FIIC rating, you can ensure owners improve acoustics.

What to Include in Your Renovation Agreement

To include soundproofing in your renovation agreements, consider adding the following points:

  • All floor replacement projects must include an approved attenuation barrier installation with a Field Impact Isolation Class rating of at least FIIC 70.
  • Unit owners must provide samples of the proposed underlay along with specs prior to renovation approvals.
  • Specs must indicate tests were in a similar environment as your building structure.
  • If you have a drop ceiling, you can adjust specifications to suit the added sound insulation — but the higher the rating required the less likely sound issues will result.
  • Unit owners must provide proof of purchase of the exact underlay proposed prior to installation.

You can also take things one step further and have all contractors sign in with property management to ensure all materials meet your standards in the agreement.

Your condo corporation can add whatever provisions necessary that ensure unit value is maintained and that other residents continue quiet enjoyment of their units. Although you can refuse a proposed alteration, you have an obligation to accept reasonable proposals. As well, keep in mind anything you refuse and/or accept sets a precedence. As a result that precedence will apply to future proposals to ensure fair treatment for all owners.

The condo experts at CPO Management Inc, a property management company in Toronto and the GTA, have had tremendous success helping condo corporations identify ways to improve condo values and maintain building integrity. Reach out to us today to learn more about our condo services.



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