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Neighbours Attic conversion

  • 11-04-2022 2:33pm
    Registered Users Posts: 192 ✭✭ Stillnotworking

    Hi there,

    Neighbours got their attic converted in November, since then I can hear every time they close any door in their house, anywhere in my house. I can differentiate the Front and back doors when they are closed. I am also convinced that they are not slamming the doors, but just closing them normally. I can also hear their electric shower and if the lads bounce a ball.

    To be fair, there is no TV / music noises or voices heard, so it is only impact noise thats coming through. Any thoughts on what can be causing this or more importantly, suggestions on what can be done to reduce it. Alternatively any recommendations on specialists that I can go to.

    It's a 1950s Semi D and other houses on the street aren't having the same issue. I have tried to discuss it with the owners and just get told its a busy house and theyre not closing doors loudly but I've had to resort to sleeping with earplugs if I want to get to sleep before them. I've invited them in, they heard muffled closing but obviously had warned the children to be quiet.

    Any help, advice or suggestions would be appreciated.

    (Contemplated selling, but would be a bit unethical passing on the problem to a new person.)



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,907 ✭✭✭ kravmaga

    Can you insulate your attic and maybe put up some sort of noise reduction insulation between the attic party wall?

  • Registered Users Posts: 192 ✭✭ Stillnotworking

    Thanks Kravmaga, I was speaking to an acoustic insulation guy and he was saying as it was impact noise it would be of little benefit. Almost tempted to try it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,907 ✭✭✭ kravmaga

    Or maybe try Rockwool for the attic and place boards over the joists. It may dampen down the noise.

  • Registered Users Posts: 192 ✭✭ Stillnotworking

    I hadn’t thought of the boards on the joists. If any other thoughts let me know. Thanks.

  • Registered Users Posts: 37,826 ✭✭✭✭ Mellor

    Insulation Boards are for thermal insulation not acoustic.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 751 ✭✭✭ C. Eastwood


    over the years I came across older semidetached houses where there was no party wall separating the two Attics.

    was there a party wall in your attic.

    if yes it it concrete blockwork

  • Registered Users Posts: 192 ✭✭ Stillnotworking

    Hi C Eastwood,

    There is a full concrete block party wall between the 2 houses in the attic.


  • Registered Users Posts: 751 ✭✭✭ C. Eastwood


    I assume because your house is 1950’s that most of the internal walls are 100 mm concrete block partitions.

    Impact noise such as closing doors would also cause structure borne noise. This noise would have been occurring before the attic development.

    Did you have these noises before the Attic Development?

    Attic development is generally done with timber and plasterboard slabs and plaster skim and insulation. New floor joists would have to be installed as the original ceiling joists would not be capable of carrying the load of the Attic rooms. In most attic developments, all of these floor joists are bearing on the 2 External walls and the middle wall of the house.

    However, before the attic development, there would have been a double purlin constructed roof in place, and to develop the attic space the original Struts, Collars would have to be removed, and usually the purlins are moved or relocated. Because these timbers support the mid point of the rafters, it is necessary to provide alternative supports to the mid point of the rafters. There are various ways of doing this. One method is to install a Steel Beam support to support the mid point of the rafters. Usually this steel beam is supported by the Party Wall. The end of the 2 steel beams are either built in to the Party Wall or supported on a steel bracket which is bolted on to the party wall.

    I have completed a number of attic developments with this type of construction, and never knew of noise problems with the neighbours.

    Noise problems are a very specialist area, and I recommend that you should consult an qualified Acoustic Consultation.

  • Registered Users Posts: 192 ✭✭ Stillnotworking

    Wow C. Eastwood, thanks for such a detailed reply. Really appreciate it. Great to get a bit of knowledge on the process.

    There may have been an occasional bang or shout prior to the conversion. But 1 or 2 a week, not every time a door is closed! It sound dramatic, but I can tell when they close the front door, get up and go to bed by the noise.

    Someone has recommended Enfonic, so I am going to have a talk to them to see what services they may be able to offer.

    Hopefully, they can do something, cos its breaking me.

    Thanks again for the information and suggestions, if any more thoughts come into your mind, please let me know.


  • Registered Users Posts: 351 ✭✭ Doolittle51

    I wonder if they had to install fire doors in all first floor rooms in order to meet fire regulations?

    These doors are much heavier than a standard internal door and would have automatic door closures fitted. So maybe the family are just letting them slam closed? They create a lot of impact noise.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 751 ✭✭✭ C. Eastwood


    Good point. Hydraulic door closers are adjustable to stop the door from banging.

    cheap door closers may not work this way.

  • Registered Users Posts: 751 ✭✭✭ C. Eastwood


    If I retain Consultants I am obliged to retain Consultants who are qualified and hold Professional Membership of professional bodies in their profession.

    They will be obliged to comply with the Institutions Code of Conduct.

    I recommend that you should retain a consultant who is a Member of the Institute of Acoustics, who have the post nominal letters after their name - MIOA.

    I do not know anything about this firm of acoustics consultants:-

    As I said previously - this is a very complexed and complicated problem and you need a experienced / qualified person to give you expert advice.

  • Registered Users Posts: 192 ✭✭ Stillnotworking

    All, really appreciate the suggestions and advice. Will be talking to 1 or 2 consultants tomorrow to get a feel from them.

    Again, thanks.

  • Registered Users Posts: 62 ✭✭ Def_IRL

    It's likely that the builder when cutting the (100mm minimum depth) pockets into the shared wall (to seat and support the RSJs) he may have broken through into your side and noise is being carried across the RSJ and into your house. Perhaps closely check the entire roof space wall between yourself and the neighbours house with a flash lamp to see if you can see any breach. You may be able to see the back end of one of the RSJs etc and you'd have to seal that up again from your side with sand and cement

  • Registered Users Posts: 751 ✭✭✭ C. Eastwood


    That’s a very good point.

    when cutting in to a 225 mm concrete block Party wall to allow the RSJ to bear 100 mm in the wall - they knock a hole in the wall in to the neighbours attic

    It is best to support the RSJ on a purpose made metal bracket bolted to the wall.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,582 ✭✭✭ chooseusername

    Or, RSJ cut in half, then bolted back together when in place.

    no need to knock a hole through into the neighbours attic, just enough to get the proper bearing.

    RSJ then re-joined with plates bolted top, bottom and one each side in the mesh to engineer's spec.

  • Registered Users Posts: 192 ✭✭ Stillnotworking

    Wow excellent, I’ll go up and have another look after work.


  • Registered Users Posts: 192 ✭✭ Stillnotworking

    Morning, Well I had a good look in the attic. Turns out there are 2 holes in either side of the chimney breasts in the party wall. The actual hole is about 5cm, but there are chunks of the blocks out on my side. I can see through but there is no sign of an RSJ or bracket in either one. (Never thought I'd be looking through the wall!). Can these just be filled up with sand and cement? But no sign of any further disturbances, there is a lot of chimney breast there.

    Another conversation with the neighbours beckons!

    Any more feedback or recommendations.

    Thanks again.


  • Registered Users Posts: 751 ✭✭✭ C. Eastwood


    Most party walls in houses constructed before the Building Regulations in June 1992, were constructed with gaps like your house.

    The Building Regulations requires that the party wall must prevent Fire in a building from getting in to the adjoining house for at least 1 hour.

    I would like to see photos of the party wall

    Generally I would not use concrete blocks and mortar to fill these holes from one side. This would depend on the size of the holes, and if large sections of concrete blocks are being used - then there should be a mason in both attics when each block is being fixed in place - to prevent blocks falling down through the ceiling.

    If the gaps in the party wall are small, I would recommend packing in dense acoustic Rockwool in to all the gaps and up tight to the roof coverings

    Rockwool PROROX SL930 Acoustic Mineral Wool (RW3) (60kg per m3) is high-density acoustic mineral wool that is used to treat the 'open spaces', or cavities, between flooring joists, stud-frame walls and ceilings.

  • Registered Users Posts: 192 ✭✭ Stillnotworking

    Hi C Eastwood, thanks for that. There are no gaps in the party wall. Well excl. what was drilled through. I can take photos of the whole wall if needed. Thanks.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 751 ✭✭✭ C. Eastwood


    It is difficult to figure out what I’m looking at in the 2 photos

    It appears from the first photo that it is sideways and when I rotate it 90 degrees, it appears that the timber is a ceiling joist.

    It appears that the hole in the wall was made from the opposite side ( from the neighbours Attic).

    It appears that the debris from the hole and other debris is bearing on the Plasterboard slab ceiling. A slab cannot carry that weight and the debris should be removed immediately.

    I cannot figure out what the second photo is showing, except it appears to be a second hole in the Party wall.

    This is a serious fire hazard, and the holes should be packed with dense fibreglass wool.

    A Party Wall must prevent a fire in one house from entering the adjoining house for at least 1hour.

  • Registered Users Posts: 192 ✭✭ Stillnotworking

    I’ll reply properly in the morning, but you are correct, they are 2 holes drilled from the neighbors side. I have made them aware of them and requested that they are filled. Will do it from my side, but wanted to give them to opportunity to remediate.

    The second photo is the 2nd hole. On the other side of the chimney breasts.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9 JustAsking2022

    OP - I hope you get your issues sorted it is a nightmare to endure. Will be checking my own attic later - timberframe home.

    DooLittle51 - I think you may have solved my dreadful noise issues since my neighbours recent attic conversion ! Makes sense as I have had zero noise issues in my home ( 20 years ) until their work and now I hear and feel massive thumps through the walls from above on the regular.

    I Assume these doors can be adjusted to close softer?

  • Registered Users Posts: 192 ✭✭ Stillnotworking

    @JustAsking2022 its a relief that someone has a similar experience, I thought I was just being moany. But trying to meet them again to see if they will / can readjust the door also.


  • Registered Users Posts: 751 ✭✭✭ C. Eastwood

    When there is an attic development carried out in an existing 2 storey house, 1/2 hour Fire Doors must be fitted to form an Escape passage from the Attic habitable rooms.

    All Fire Doors must be self-closing.

    Unfortunately, either the Builder or home owners usually pick the cheapest crap door closer which is a simple spring closer. These cause the doors to bank closed.

    The long shaft of the closer is fitted in the hinged side of the door and the other end is fitted in the doorframe rebate.

    This cannot be adjusted and will cause noise which will travel from the door banging on to the frame and in to the structure of the partition. (Structure borne noise)

    The other type of door closer is expensive and is a hydraulic door closer and is fully adjustable to swing the door closed to within a few millimetres from the frame, the dood stops and the closer closes the door on to the frame slowly and there is no noise whatsoever

    Unfortunately human being’s usually make all their brilliant decisions based on €€€€€€.

    Wonder which one your neighbours bought. ☹️☹️☹️☹️☹️☹️

    I would guess they have the crap spring closers.