Author Topic: Engineer to measure noise from upstairs?  (Read 3852 times)

Rebecca A. Kruse

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Engineer to measure noise from upstairs?
« on: April 13, 2004, 07:38:17 AM »
I seem to have the same problem with my upstairs neighbors as many on this board.  I am in a first floor one-bedroom condo and the guy upstairs had his girlfriend and kid move in with him.  Needless to say, we had no problem when he lived alone but now.......  We have complained to the condo board, have kept a 2-year diary of the problems, have had an attorney send neighbor a letter and even called the police to no avail.  We have since seen several attorneys who either want upwards of $5,000 just to read over the condo bylaws (we maintain that this guy and his "guests" are a nuisance and being a nuisance to neighbors is against the bylaws) and/or they don't want to bother pursuing this case.  Two of the attorneys suggested we find a "sound engineer" - someone who measures the sound level.  Both attorneys suggested that there may be some sort of standard or building code that must be followed regarding impact sound levels between condos.  So for this posting, my question is.... has anyone ever heard of any such impact noise codes in any state?   Are builders of condo's required to adhere to any standard of sound proofing?  And/or does anyone know who or how I could find such a building sound engineer to measure this impact noise if this profession even exists?  Or are there normal standards of impact noise that perhaps if we show proof (by using a "sound engineer" and his measuring tools) that our impact noises are above the standard, perhaps we can take this to court.  Thanks for any help you can provide.  We are at our wits end... this is literally destroying our lives.

Mark Sherwin

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Re: Engineer to measure noise from upstairs?
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2004, 04:17:12 AM »
Rebecca, I know of what you speak.  Our life has been severely affected by unbelievable noise.  

Depending on where you live and when your condo was built, there may be sound standards.  In California, changes in the Uniform Building Code (UBC) updated building standards (pretty sure its Title 23 ) for noise about 1975.  I believe the standard requires noise transmission less than 59 dB (A-weighting) for some standardized impact noise.  My building was approved in 1974 and does not meet the new standards.  If yours fall under such building codes you may have recourse with the builder, providing your building isn't too old.  Outside of that you're left with local noise ordinances and that's where the engineer may come in.  If you document exceedance of a local standard (usually 50 dB A-weighting) you can use it in court or with your HOA to demonstrate a reasonable and objective basis for "nuisance to neighbors" argument.  Keep in mind that most of the noise that drives you crazy is low frequency (bass; the booming thuds).  Most of the standards are based on A-weighted measurements which focus heavily on higher frequencies and your noise  - despite its severity - may not measure >50 dB.  Call your city to get local noise ordinances.  To look for an accoustical consultant, try http://www.ncac.com/  .    They are not cheap, just like lawyers.  Any allies in the HOA?  One of my next steps is to contact neighbors on lower floors and try to enlist support.  My personal opinion is that without a HOA Board that enforces CCRs, its a tough and expensive road of litigation.  Best of luck.