Fire Protection / Sound Proofing in Multi-Family Buildings

If you live in an apartment building or attached townhouse – maintaining your privacy from a noise prospective is a big deal.  Even bigger is maintaining a feeling of security that your own unit is protected from fire spreading from another unit in the same building.

The National Building Code requires that multi-family buildings contain a special kind of wall assembly or Fire Protection/Sound Reduction wall where any two units have a common wall or common floor/ceiling. 

In all our new buildings and multi-family renovations we apply a high technical standard to this requirement so that noise does not cross “common walls” and fire does not spread thru a “common wall” for a minimum period of time.   

Please see the chart below that describes the assembly, from Pac International, that we use.  This wall  has a “Sound Transmission Class” or STC rating of 60.   A rating of 60 is quoted as “Superior Soundproofing, most sounds inaudible”.

We also take additional design steps to make these “common walls” even more effective by avoiding ducting, wiring and plumbing in these walls (whenever possible) and designing in “buffer space” on either side of the wall.   An example of these design principles in play at 41 Plymouth is on the 2nd floor where Unit B has a set of closets and the back stairwell as a continuous “buffer” on the Unit B side of the sound/fire wall.  Even very loud noises will not penetrate this setup/design. 

stc 60 .jpg