Preserving Your Sanity


All you need to do is spend just one (1) night trying to sleep in your new home and – “Oh my”!

Then being new to Condo living, we’ve had not just one (1), but two (2) miserable Condo owners call us, expressing extreme Buyers’ remorse, recently.

What’s causing the problem? For starters, it doesn’t help that the neighboring Units around them seem so bad because it sounds so loud at night – due to ongoing activities in those other Units and they hadn’t had a decent night’s sleep all week – Sound familiar?

It has made me (almost) wish my own hearing was going and I was destined for hearing aids, like my 92 year-old Mother-in-law.

First, they described their misery in great detail; they really needed to “unload”. They couldn’t know that Condo living brings all kinds of people and their pets, bad habits, children so close together, that all kinds of daily activities would be audible at all times of the day AND the night…

They both spoke at length of the Building Code and how could they be experiencing such noise if the buildings (one a concrete high rise and the other a wood-framed, older building) were actually “built to Code”. I listened patiently and I then advised how “Code” was the minimum structure they were obligated and unless the Developers went well-beyond (unlikely), that minimum was all that could be expected.

Each had the idea of adding “sound-proofing” from inside and even shrinking their interior area to achieve this & wondered if that might help. We had to advise “maybe” and explained in detail how sound actually travels not just by way of impact (i.e. tapping your fingers and /or stomping a foot /hammering), but also by way of airborne movement (i.e. a voice /siren being heard). This would require not only a sizeable investment but also Strata approval, which may or may not be so easy and should not be taken for granted…

Chances are good hearing is actually a liability in Condo living, given the likelihood of hearing more than wanted – even unintended noises, such as foot-tapping /pets upstairs and loud voices around you.

Each of these ladies was at their wits end… Feeling stuck and helpless, until we shared some of this important guidance and critical information with them to give them at least some hope. Also referred them to a good General Contractor for “more” on this, for which they were so grateful to have someone to turn to…

Sound travels easily through the air and until stopped from traveling – physically. The sound waves must be interrupted. Also, impact noise can travel a great distance through the framing, unless intentionally disconnected between connected portions, to even reduce the sound.

Now that you have the “heads-up” on potential noise issues in Condos – even concrete buildings – you never thought about, you can understand this better & be more informed. Perhaps the top-floor is the ONLY place for you?

Glenn Duxbury

About Glenn Duxbury

Duxbury & Associates Building Inspection and Consulting Ltd. has received the 2004 Douglas College Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the ‘Consulting’ category for persistence and pursuit of excellent service delivery to clients by providing very thorough and professional Inspection Reports and dedication to those involved in buying / selling / building / renovating and maintaining uncompromised customer focus.