National sound classification schemes for dwellings exist in nine countries in Europe, and proposals are under preparation in more countries. The schemes specify class criteria concerning several acoustic aspects, the main criteria being about airborne and impact sound insulation between dwellings, facade sound insulation and installation noise. The quality classes reflect dierent levels of acoustical comfort. The paper presents and compares the sound classification schemes in Europe. The schemes have been implemented and revised gradually since the 1990es. However, due to lack of coordination, there are significant discrepancies. Descriptors, number of quality classes, class intervals, class levels and status of the classification schemes in relation to legal requirements vary. In some countries the building code and the classification standard are incoherent. In other countries, they are strongly ”integrated”, implying that the building code refers to a specific class in a classification standard rather than describing requirements. Although the schemes prove useful on a national basis, the diversity in Europe is an obstacle for exchange of experience and for further development of design tools. The current variety of descriptors and classes also causes trade barriers. Thus, there is a need to harmonize concepts and other characteristics of the schemes.
Proceedings Nag/daga 2009: International Conference on Acoustics, 2009, p. 900-903