Codes & Testing :: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Code: The HUD noise standard is a method for predicting and assessing traffic noise impact (roadway, aircraft and railroad). (Click here for more information on this standard.)

Enforcement: Federal and by local HUD office

General Information: One of the goals of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is to provide “a decent home and suitable living environment for every American family.” Don’t ALL homeowners and renters deserve such conditions? This goal should be at the forefront of a design professional’s mind while working on any residential project. Whether it be a single-family home, a condo or an apartment building, it’s essential to account for the existing or potential noise impact on the dwelling. After all, we are bombarded with loud noises in most aspects of our lives. The HUD standard is a good criterion to follow. Although many projects are not required to comply with the HUD standard, a responsible design professional will ensure their projects are within its relatively lenient limit of 65 Ldn* or less.

According to the Noise Assessment Guidelines, you must consider the HUD standard if you’re working on a government subsidized project within 15 miles of a military or civilian airport, 1,000 feet from a road or 3,000 feet from a railroad.

HUD regulations set forth the following exterior noise standards for new housing construction assisted or supported by the department:

Acceptable - 65 Ldn or less

Normally Unacceptable - Exceeding 65 Ldn but not exceeding 75 Ldn (To achieve an acceptable status, appropriate sound attenuation measures must be provided.)

Unacceptable - Exceeding 75 Ldn

*Ldn - a 24-hour average sound level (also known as Day Night average sound level or DNL), in decibels, obtained after the addition of 10 decibels to the sound levels occurring between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.

HUD's regulations do not contain standards for interior noise levels. Rather, a goal of 45 decibels is set forth and the attenuation requirements are geared towards achieving that goal. It is assumed that with standard construction, any building will provide sufficient attenuation so that if the exterior level is 65 Ldn or less, the interior level will be 45 Ldn or less.

HUD offers three suggestions for mitigating high noise levels on residential projects:

  • Relocate the project to an area where the potential noise levels are significantly less.
  • Erect barriers to control vehicular or railway noise.
  • Use noise control designs on the building’s exterior. This includes sealing doors, windows and vents and installing doors and windows that provide more than 25 dBA of attenuation.

The extensive network of experts includes specialists in HUD studies. If you have questions, concerns or are looking to conduct a HUD study, contact us and we’ll connect you with one of our experts, ensuring your project is completed successfully, accurately and responsibly.

Strength: The intent of the HUD study is to be a noise impact prediction model. It is an accurate, proven standard and comparatively inexpensive to conduct. HUD studies take all transportation noise into account: air traffic, road traffic, railroad traffic.

Weakness: HUD studies only account for traffic noise and do not consider other sources of environmental noise (such as nearby businesses, equipment, honking horns, etc…).

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