Property Clinic

A return to soundproofing, understanding PSR ID and legal services

 

QI refer to the article in Property Clinic on July 11th, about soundproofing. I kept a copy of an earlier article on the same topic and it said the problem can be addressed by a secondary “isolating” wall, absorbent insulation board such as Rockwool or a heavy plaster coating.

I live in a one-bedroom apartment and the insulation is not great. But the size of the living room (4.1m x 3.4m), which is next to the neighbouring apartment, means I can’t really afford to lose much space.

Is there any material which would help with soundproofing, while minimising the loss of space?

A Thank you for your follow up query to my answer on July 11th which concerned noise transfer issues between two older houses beside each other. As mentioned in the article, there are clearly defined standards of sound insulation that need to be achieved in party-wall construction to meet the 1992 building regulations.

But it is not uncommon to find problems in the standards of sound insulation in older properties.

In that situation, the recommended steps include infilling holes or gaps in the party walls with a dense mortar mix or upgrading the sound insulation with a noise-insulating material.

Your situation is slightly different and your options are more limited.

For instance, you won’t be able to use external soundproofing materials . It is also unlikely there are gaps between your apartment and adjacent ones that you could check for and infill to reduce noise transfer from airborne sources. These sources include voices, television and so on, or from any impact, such as people banging on walls or floors.

Also, if your apartment was built after 1992, it is likely that it already meets the required sound insulation standards.

So, yes, you are going to have to make a trade-off between sound insulation and internal space.

Realistically, any improvement is going to involve taking up some space but you might be able to find an acceptable compromise.

Whereas an ideal solution from a sound-insulation point of view might involve taking up considerable space using the methods outlined in my previous answer, a compromised solution would involve constructing a relatively thin layer of, say, a cement and sand rendering which would be no more than 20mm thick, so allowing an improved sound insulation standard with a minimal overall impact to the size of the room.

If you decide to go down this route you should use a registered builder.

Val O’Brien is a chartered surveyor and member of the Building Surveying Professional Group of the SCSI, scsi.ie


Q I have noticed a ‘PSR ID’ on a property listing on one of the property portals. What does this stand for and what does it mean?

A The Property Services Regulatory Authority (PSRA) is the statutory regulator which licenses and regulates property services providers (that is, auctioneers, estate agents, letting agents and management agents).

The PSRA came into being last year on a statutory basis in response to calls for higher standards of statutory regulation of property professionals by the industry and other stakeholders.

Each licensed property service provider has a licence number and photographic ID card. The PSR number, ie the Property Services Regulation number, which you saw on the online advertisement is the licence number of the company.

The PSRA requires all Property Services Providers to have the appropriate qualifications, experience, professional indemnity insurance and tax clearance in order to secure a licence. The PSRA also operates a complaints investigation and redress system to provide a statutory recourse mechanism for consumers.

It enforces standards in the provision of property services, the administration of client accounts and other relevant issues such as the operation of a compensation fund to compensate parties who lose money as a consequence of the dishonesty of a licensee. A full list of licensed property service providers can be found at the PSRA website: npsra.ie

You should not engage the services of an unlicensed operator nor should you pay a booking deposit without checking that the agent is licensed.

Simon Stokes is a chartered surveyor and chairman of the Residential Property Professional Group of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland.


In the financial statements presented to the owners, before our AGM, by the owners’ management company (OMC) there is no figure for legal services. Is this normal?

Our OMC is supposed to be implementing the MUD Act, and so on, on our behalf, which presumably requires legal advice.

A The Multi Unit Developments Act 2011 can be divided into three main sections: 1). To ensure the transfer of the reversionary interest or ownership of the common areas of a multi-unit development to the owners’ management company.

2). Regulation for the operation of owners’ management companies to include service charge budget approval, sinking funds, house rules, voting rights at general meetings and other items.

3). Dispute resolution processes between owners’ management companies and their members.

For many owners’ management companies the implementation of the Multi Unit Developments Act 2011 will mean that they will have to present service charge budgets to apartment owners before charging them out, agree a sinking fund scheme, approve house rules and other operational matters which may not require legal advice once the directors understand the requirements of the act.

Many property service providers with the relevant license should be able to advise in relation to such compliance issues and the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland has produced a simple guide for apartment owners, about the Multi Unit Development act, which is available on scsi.ie/mudguide1.

In relation to the conveyance of the freehold of the common areas and dispute resolution, legal advice would be required and would attract the relevant cost and, if anticipated, should be budgeted for in the service charge budget.

Many owners’ management companies can operate normally without the need for legal advice and fees, however, as a legal entity, limited company and property owner with responsibilities to its members and lessees, it should retain a solicitor for matters arising in order to minimise risk to the owners’ management company and its officers.

Paul Mooney is a chartered surveyor and member of the Property & Facilities Management Professional Group of the SCSI, scsi.ie


Send your queries to propertyquestions@irishtimes.com or to Property Clinic, The Irish Times, 24-28 Tara Street, Dublin 2.

This column is a readers’ service. Advice given is general and individual advice should always be sought.