Legal obligtions


Determination of passive acoustic requirements of buildings 

All new buildings must comply on site with the sound insulation limits set by D.P.C.M. 5/12/1997 “Determination of passive acoustic requirements of buildings” (in force since 20.02.1998).
Despite over the years there being several regulation vicissitudes that led to discussions about its applicability, currently the D.P.C.M. 5/12/1997 is in force and must be applied to all newly constructed buildings.
Although the decree does not specify anything in regard, by virtue of various interpretations by authoritative organs of the State, it is recommended to apply the D.P.C.M. 5/12/1997 in the event of renovations and change of use destination.

In particular, the limits imposed by the regulations are:

1. Insulation of walls and fl oors against airborne noise;
2. Impact sound insulation;
3. Insulation of the facade against airborne noise from outside the building;
4. Insulation of discontinuous operating systems (elevators, plumbing drains, bathrooms, services, toilets, taps);
5. Insulation of continuous operating systems (heating, ventilation and conditioning);
6. Limitation of the reverberation time of classrooms and gyms.


TABLE A - Classification of living environments

CATEGORY A Buildings used as residence or similar purposes
CATEGORY B Buildings used as o ffices and similar purposes
CATEGORY C Buildings used as hotels, pensions and similar activities
CATEGORY D Buildings used as hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and similar purposes
CATEGORY E Buildings used for school activities at all levels and similar purposes
CATEGORY F Buildings used for recreational activities or worship or similar purposes
CATEGORY G Buildings used for commercial activities or similar purposes


TABLE B - Passive acoustic requirements



R’w (*)





1. D 55 45 58 35 25  
2. A,C 50 40 63 35 35
3. E 50 48 58 35 25
4. B,F,G 50 42 55 35 35

* R’w values refer to the separation element between two separate housing units. 


As it regards the limitation of the reverberation time within school buildings, the D.P.C.M. 15/12/1997 dictates that “The average reverberation times measured at 250-500-1000-2000 Hz frequencies, shall not exceed 1,2 sec. in a furnished classroom, with the presence of two people at most. In gyms the average of the reverberation times (if not to be used such as an auditorium) must not exceed 2,2 sec “.
In case of failure to comply with the limits set by the D.P.C.M. 15/12/1997, the responsibility will fall on the following subjects:

1. The Designer, the Director of Works and their advisors: for the choice of materials and construction systems and for monitoring their correct installation.
2. The builder: for correct installation of materials and construction systems.
3. The Municipality: for the failure to check the documentation demonstrating compliance in place of passive acoustic requirements.
4. The Client: in case of sale of the property to a third party not regulated.

It is important to stress that the D.P.C.M. 15/12/1997 requires compliance ON SITE of the passive acoustic requirements: the performance of laboratory certificates or reports of calculation is not nearly enough to certify compliance with the regulatory limits.

Therefore for the purpose of verifying whether the building complies or less than what had been expected from D.P.C.M. 15/12/1997, after its completion, you should always conduct sound level tests, which will be edited by acoustic consultants, writing in the applicable provincial or regional list (as provided by Law No. 447/1995). Sometimes, it is preferable to perform sound measurements even during construction, to make any constructional modifications in case you encounter any exceedances of the regulatory limits.

Law 12/28/2015 – N. 221

On February 2, 2016 the Law 12/28/2015 – N. 221 came into force, which introduced some important innovations about the acoustics and construction to the interior acoustics of confined spaces. In particular, Article. 23 reports: “The government [...] foresee, in tenders for the energy efficiency of schools, and in any case for their renovation or construction, use of materials and design solutions appropriate to the achievement of the values specified for noise indicators by UNI 11367: 2010 [acoustic classification of building units] and the UNI 11532: 2014 [interior acoustic characteristics of confined spaces]. In the calls for tenders there will be evaluation criteria for the bids [...] with scores rewarded for products containing post-consumer materials or arising from the recovery of waste and materials resulting from the dismantling of complex products in the percentages established by the decree referred to in paragraph 3 of this Article “.