dBx Jargon Buster - BS4142

Welcome to the dBx Acoustics jargon buster! In this section, we list some common acoustic terms as well as standards and guidance you may be asked to comply with. If there’s something you need to know that we haven’t covered here, please let us know.


BS4142 sets out a methodology for assessing the impact of industrial and commercial noise on nearby noise sensitive properties. It is commonly used to assess the potential impact of proposed building services plant as part of a planning condition, but can also be used to investigate complaints, or to look at the potential impact of existing commercial and industrial noise sources on proposed residential development.

BS4142 includes a number of corrections for the character of the sound being assessed, taking into account that sound with distinctive characteristics is subjectively more disturbing. It also includes consideration of the context of the situation; for example, an additional industrial noise source in an area already exposed to industrial noise may be more acceptable than introducing an industrial noise source to an area where previously there was none.

It is typical for a BS4142 assessment to be required to support planning applications where new items of plant are proposed, or where new housing is proposed in an area affected by industrial or commercial noise.