Guidance

Good acoustic design is often paramount for a successful, fit-for-purpose development and often forms either a statutory or contractual requirement which typically entails compliance with the relevant acoustic guidance document.

Acoustic Consultants Limited have experience across all areas of noise and acoustics.

Whilst many schemes may have particular elements which require bespoke performance criteria to be devised by a specialist, the majority of acoustic requirements will tend to fall under one of a number of common guidance documents.

It is a Building Regulations requirement for residential buildings to meet the performance standards set out in Approved Document E: resistance to the passage of sound in England and Wales or Building Standards Technical Handbook 2017: domestic buildings in Scotland. These documents set out minimum performance requirements for airborne (DnT,w + Ctr / DnT,w) and impact sound insulation (L’nT,w) between dwellings as well as laboratory rating (Rw) requirements for internal walls and floors within dwellings.

It is also a Building Regulations requirement under Regulation E4 of Approved Document E for newly built school buildings to have the appropriate acoustic design. The normal way of demonstrating compliance here is by achieving the design criteria set out in Section 1 of the Department for Education and Skills’ current version of Building Bulletin 93: Acoustic Design of Schools: Performance Standards published in February 2015. BB93 provides minimum performance requirements for room acoustics, internal sound insulation, internal ambient noise levels and rain noise within educational buildings.

Guidance on acoustics within healthcare buildings is contained within the NHS publication Health Technical Memorandum 08-01: Acoustics. It is particularly key in the design of healthcare spaces to ensure that there is an appropriate level of sound insulation between all sensitive adjacencies such that each space’s particular confidentiality requirements are met. Control of building services’ noise and reverberation time also requires careful consideration such that a comfortable environment is provided for patients.

Office schemes similarly must consider the confidentiality requirements of sensitive areas such as meeting rooms, executive offices and, increasingly, teleconferencing rooms. British Standard 8233:2014 provides a matrix of sound insulation requirements which vary depending upon the privacy requirement, source noise level and sensitivity of the adjoining room. The British Council for Offices: Guide to Specification also provides guidelines for sound insulation at both the shell and core stage and if fitted to Cat A standards.

There is no statutory requirement for office buildings to achieve the sound insulation criteria set out in BS8233 or BCO. Many office schemes demonstrate good acoustic design through compliance with the acoustic credits available under BREEAM 2018. Three credits are typically available under Hea 05 Acoustic Performance and are awarded for internal sound insulation, indoor ambient noise levels and room acoustics. Further credit is available under Pol 05 Reduction of Noise Pollution for external plant noise.

BREEAM 2018 points towards specific acoustic criteria for different building types. Alternatively, a Suitably Qualified Acoustician (SQA) can be appointed to define bespoke performance criteria where appropriate. For reference, BREEAM for Education points back to BB93, Healthcare to HTM 08-01, Offices to BS 8233:2014, Law Court buildings to Section 28 of Court Service Design Guide (CSDG) (understood to have been superseded by the Court and Tribunal Design Guide) and Industrial, Retail, Prisons and Other buildings to BS 8233:2014.

Early involvement of an acoustic consultant is recommended for all schemes to identify potential risks within the construction type, building fabric and room adjacencies and outline suitable acoustic performance requirements at an early RIBA Stage to set a platform for a focused strategy in order to successfully deliver good acoustic design.

Educational

Educational

Healthcare

Healthcare

Industrial Noise

Industrial

Offices and Commercial

Offices

Residential

Residential

Police and Court Buildings

Police and Court Buildings

Retail and commercial

Retail and commercial

Sporting Use

Sporting & Community Use

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