Re: marketing Aria Cohousing in Denver to families
From: R Philip Dowds (
Date: Sun, 2 Oct 2016 06:21:11 -0700 (PDT)
While best construction practices can do much to mitigate sound transmission 
between units, it’s virtually impossible to fully and completely “soundproof” 
adjoining construction.  If teenagers over your head are having a wild dance 
party featuring 250w subwoofers, you will definitely hear it no matter how your 
ceiling is built.  (Well, you will, unless the apartment above is concrete box 
balanced on springs inside another concrete box, which is not very likely …)

Acoustic conditions you can reasonably expect in well-built multifamily 
construction are …
  •  ordinary speech and walking around will pass unnoticed under most 
  •  stomping and loud speech may be detected, but speech will be 
unintelligible; and
  •  your neighbor’s television, at volumes comfortable for your neighbor, will 
not interfere with your own conversations, enjoyment of television, or sleep.  
(Late at night, it’s reasonable to ask your neighbor to tone it down some; my 
own neighbor has asked this of me a couple of times, and I comply.)

If one’s tolerance for noise is very low, or need for unconstrained loud music 
is very high, multi-family construction may not be a good choice of residence.

Philip Dowds
Cornerstone Village Cohousing
Cambridge, MA

> On Oct 1, 2016, at 11:17 AM, Beverly Jones Redekop <beverly.jones.redekop 
> [at]> wrote:
> Our stacked flats have a concrete skim coat that was supposed to be
> soundproof. I did our marketing tours, giving a convincing spiel about
> soundproofing that I believed to be true. It seems true enough between side
> to side units, but it is not true at all between above and below units (so
> I feel awful about the sound isolating claims I made). You can't expect
> someone to live with disruptive noise (below), but you can't expect people
> to be silent and motionless in their own homes (above) either.  We've had a
> few senior households complain bitterly about awful children above them
> when it would have been more appropriate to complain about the building
> design and to cost-check remediation/renovation solutions. One senior
> household contains such a vocally negative resident that when the unit
> above her came available for rent, a family (with two extraordinarily quiet
> children) needing that size of home declined it because of the hell the
> previous family had gone through.

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