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Old 08-25-2009, 12:32 PM   #1
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Need help from someone familiar with sound transmission building codes PLEASE

I recently moved into a brand new construction apartment building. My bedroom wall is a shared wall and when the neighbors moved in we discovered we could hear everything! I can actually hear them cough and fully hear every word of a phone conversation.

I have done some research online to see the ohio's building codes require a sound transmission rating of 50 or better for a shared wall in a dwelling. They also say that a normal stud frame with drywall on each side only has a STC of 34 (which is what I believe is going on).

Now, what can I do about this? If they tell me there is nothing wrong with the wall, how do I get proof of this code violation?
Any help would be greatly appreciated!


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Old 08-25-2009, 02:28 PM   #2
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Is this a rental unit, or a Condo unit that you purchased? If its a new condo, you may be protected if your state has some sort of warranty program for new buildings. I know that in NJ, the state has laws to protect the homeowner for new construction. If its a rental, you will need to talk with the super. If its your own condo unit and has no warranty protection, will need to remove some sheet rock and install insulation in the wall for added soundproofing.


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Old 08-25-2009, 04:03 PM   #3
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The fact that there's a non-life-safety code violation isn't going to be grounds for them to tear the wall down I imagine, provided the city has signed the building off. Even with proof of the code violation, what do you intend to do? You're a tenant, right? Not the property owner. Although you can complain, as a tenant you can't mandate design changes or alterations to the structure. Even the complaints will likely fall on unsympathetic ears since the issue isn't a safety issue. Most people that have lived in apartments have experienced this to some degree.

What may have happened is that the firewall requirements may have somehow trumped the sound transmission requirements in the eyes of the building official or plans examiner. Not an excuse, but it could be a possibility.

Normally apartment walls designed for sound have studs that are offset on two planes so the same stud only supports rock for one side of the wall. Kind of like this...


Or there are two totally separate stud walls, sometimes with rock on the exposed faces (1hr) or rock on both faces of each of the two stud walls adjacent to each other (2-1hr walls).
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Old 08-25-2009, 04:10 PM   #4
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Removing the rock yourself shouldn't be considered an option. The commonwall between the units is almost always a firewall, and the details involved in meeting the UL or GA firewall design (especially with repairs and penetrations) are way above the expertise of nearly all DIYers.
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Old 08-25-2009, 05:56 PM   #5
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Here are the walls Termite is talking about. The two separate walls do not necessarily have to have offset studs.
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Last edited by Willie T; 08-25-2009 at 06:00 PM.
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