Category

Acoustics

Improve Sound Insulation

How to Improve Sound Insulation Performance

By | Acoustics | No Comments

Looking for Ways to Improve Sound Insulation Performance?

Climate Acoustics have carried out many noise assessments and reports for developments throughout the UK, by assessing the noise climate. Improving the sound insulation is an integral part of any project and its construction build up. 

Here are the steps you can take to improve sound insulation performance, both internally and externally:

External Sound Insulation:

For a new development to achieve planning consent, it may require a noise impact assessment, which is typically requested by either an environmental health officer or planning officer at a local council.

Climate Acoustics will carry out a noise impact assessment to help a development meet British Standard BS8233 by suggesting appropriate construction materials for all external elements of a building. To improve sound insulation from outside to the inside of a building, we recommend a suitable roof and ceiling, and external wall, glazing and ventilation constructions to meet BS8233 internal noise criteria.

Noise breakout sound insulation from inside to the outside of a building is required as part of  contractual criteria and planning requirements. Entertainment noise examples range from noise resulting from nightclubs, wedding venues and festivals. This, as well as domestic animal noise can affect neighbouring residential properties. However, such noise sources can be controlled through fitting acoustic doors and blocking off windows with external wall construction, and noise limiter devices can be fitted to control noise levels internally. 

Climate Acoustics can recommend the most appropriate method of noise reduction and noise control. Call Climate Acoustics today on 01245 800105 or email; info@climateacoustics.com. We’ll be happy to assist you in solving your noise problem.

Internal Sound insulation:

Over- or under-designing an internal construction is more common than you might expect.
Step 1: ‘What wall or floor construction do I have?’
Step 2: ‘Is the wall, or floor likely to meet Building Regulations Approved Document E for sound insulation? 

Here are the options available for checking a separating wall or floor element, whether it is an existing or new construction:

1) Predicting the performance through acoustic consultant prediction. This can be done by including a margin for flanking and workmanship to make sure the element being installed is likely to meet building regulation requirements. The accuracy of this can be improved through inspection of the separating element.

2) On-site testing of the structure. Testing the structure will give greater clarity to sound insulation results and will include provision flanking elements such as external walls and junction details.

3) Laboratory Test Data. Having laboratory test data available with the existing or proposed element will improve the accuracy of the predicted sound insulation performance.

At completion stage of development, a building control officer will typically request that new or converted buildings are constructed to meet Building Regulations Approved Document E or Robust Details for internal sound insulation.

We can test and suggest appropriate construction materials for internal building elements such as ceilings, walls, floors and element junctions to meet internal noise criteria.

Getting the reverberant field right:

Reverberant is defined as “having a tendency to reverberate or be repeatedly reflected, ”a reverberant room”; ”the reverberant booms of cannon””*. Reverberation time is defined as a “measure of the acoustic properties of a room equal to the time taken for a sound to fall in intensity by 60 decibels. It is usually measured in second.”.**

Reverberation Time can be lowered or increased; a highly reverberant space has an echoey sound and can cause syllables to be prolonged when there is no absorption and there are hard surfaces throughout an area. Typically in schools, due to the function and size of a space in areas such as sports halls, gyms, kitchens and swimming pools, higher reverberation time is expected between 1-2 seconds. In most cases, reverberation time must be controlled especially in areas where speech is critical, such as restaurants and classrooms. Adding absorption in the right areas can work wonders!

A lower reverberation time with the addition of absorptive materials can provide an excellent benefit for offices, school classrooms, recording studios and habitable rooms like living rooms and bedrooms and can make learning and listening a piece of cake!

* Source: https://www.thefreedictionary.com/reverberant
** Source: https://www.dictionary.com/browse/reverberation-time

Brick Barrier

What Types of Noise Barrier?

By | Acoustics | No Comments

A noise barrier, also called a soundwall, noise wall, sound berm, sound barrier, or acoustical barrier, is an exterior structure designed to protect inhabitants of sensitive land use areas from noise pollution. Noise barriers are the most effective method of mitigating roadway, railway, and industrial noise sources – other than cessation of the source activity or use of source controls.

Choosing the right type of noise barrier is tricky and we have reviewed the types of noise barrier available on the market. We show the acoustic quality of the barrier, the manufacturers of the products and the cost of each type of barrier from cheapest (£) to most expensive (£££££).  

Wood Barrier

Cost: ££ (Affordable)

Wood fences are an affordable and attractive option to any garden and are common in most households. However, most wood fences are ineffective as a noise barrier due to their lack of mass, air gaps, damage and height. 

A close-boarded acoustic timber fence with no air gaps or damage (which can reduce acoustic performance) will work well in many cases. Some wood fence options can provide added absorptive and reflective properties too, depending on the noise problem you are trying to solve.

Wood Barrier

Manufacturers of acoustic timber fences:

Metal Barrier

Cost: ££ (Affordable)

Metal barriers are impressive structures due to their modular construction. They are cost -effective (with the right advice) and are quick to install. There are absorptive options to prevent sound reflecting/ bouncing around, whereas a non-absorptive choice can cause the sound to reflect into unexpected areas and in an unpredictable manner.

The cost of metal barriers may surprise you – the benefit of steel is that it can be moulded in various ways to meet specific barrier requirements. Steel can also rust and deteriorate over time.

Metal Fencing

Manufacturers of metal or modular construction barriers:

Brick/Concrete Barrier

Cost: ££££ (Expensive)

This is a solid long-term investment due to the material being long-lasting and extremely durable. This is why this solution exists along the majority of highways throughout the world and many installations are decades old. However, being one of the most expensive options available this may not be an affordable option in most cases and may be an unnecessary expense based on your requirements.

Brick walls can be an attractive addition to your property. While precast concrete can be a less attractive option, they can be a viable option for commercial requirements.

Brick and precast concrete can reduce a significant amount of noise due to their natural high mass/density material and are worth considering in high noise polluted areas. This material is excellent at reflecting and redirecting sound to other areas due to its highly reflective qualities. However, this material will struggle to reduce echoes and reverberating sound and can in some cases increase the noise level.

Manufacturers:

Glass, Polycarbonate or Acrylic Sheet Barrier

Cost: ££ – £££ (Affordable to Mid-Range)

Acrylic and toughened glass fences obstruct the line of sight to road traffic and are mainly used to reflect sound from roads. They are supplied in modular sections by combining absorptive sections (e.g. Quietstone®) and reflective section (e.g. acrylic or glass sections). These options provide a high aesthetic benefit of glass with the long lifespan and sound absorption qualities of Quietstone® at affordable prices.

Glass Barrier

Manufacturers:

Earth Berms/ Bund Barrier (Wall of Earth)

Cost: £££££ (Most Expensive)

Walls of earth, or berms, are an excellent way to reduce the amount of noise that enters your property. They can be built in a variety of ways. 

A well-built berm will be very aesthetically pleasing, however, can look unattractive if poorly constructed. They are also an eco-friendly option but require considerable effort to build and can be very costly.

Wall of Earth

Temporary Noise Barrier

Cost: £££ (Mid-Range)

Temporary noise barriers typically reduce noise from building and construction sites. They are quick to install and generally are attached to Heras fencing ™ (metal fence) which can give a reduction in noise. Other examples of its use are for music festivals and can be a practical solution for a generator or fixed plant installations. 

Although this solution may be quick and ideal for a temporary solution, it does have limitations due to the material and gaps that may allow passage of noise.

Manufacturers:

* Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noise_barrier 

Myths About Noise

Myths About Noise Busted!

By | Acoustics | No Comments

There is often misinformation about noise online, so we have decided to bust some common myths about noise.

#1 Trees and Shrubs Block Noise

Contrary to popular belief, shrubs, trees and foliage don’t block noise, and acoustic experts have proven that a barrier with a low mass and density won’t provide good acoustic performance. An effective noise barrier is typically made of a higher mass/ density material such as wood, masonry, earthwork (such as an earth bank), steel or concrete.

It is an incorrect assumption that trees and shrubs protect from noise, but trees and shrubs do not provide any sound reduction as this is a psychological assumption that a ‘hidden’ or ‘out of sight’ noise source provides an effective barrier. 

Although trees, shrubs and foliage act as an attractive border to any garden, they also attract wildlife and provide both privacy and shade. Although they don’t block noise, they do provide an added benefit to most gardens, particularly when it’s windy and ‘rustling noise’ will provide a mild masking effect.

#2 You Can’t Complain About Noise!

This is a myth, as it is your right to complain directly to your local council about any noise nuisance. You can be reassured that your personal details will be kept in the strictest confidence and your council should not divulge your details to anyone. However, councils do require further information to be able to pursue any complaint and to investigate if the noise is a statutory nuisance or likely to have a detrimental effect on your quality of life. Your council will require you to either:

  1. Complete diary sheets for a period of time to confirm when the noise nuisance occurs.

OR

  1. Document the nature of the noise for a period of time.

Following the above action, your council can later install noise monitoring equipment to obtain sufficient evidence on your behalf. 

To raise a complaint to the council: follow the link below and type in your postcode in. This will lead you to your local council and the relevant actions to pursue your noise complaint; Report a noise nuisance to your council

#3 Noise Barriers Are Expensive

With the right information, protecting property from noise needn’t be expensive.  Various factors that affect noise barrier performance and include; mass/density, location, distance from source/ receiver, orientation and height. Therefore, before you invest in a noise barrier solution, acoustic advice from an acoustic consultant should be sought to guide you to a cost-effective solution to permanently solve your noise problem.

Typically, an acoustic barrier will require a minimum height of 1.5m and the materials used to reduce noise will determine cost.  Material types include wood, masonry, earthwork (such as an earth bank), steel and concrete. It is now also possible to make noise barriers with active materials such as solar photovoltaic panels to generate electricity while also reducing traffic noise. Here is further guidance about what types of noise barrier solutions may work best for you.

#4 Installing Resilient Bars or an Independent Frame to a Timber Floor or Wall will Help Pass a Sound Insulation Test

This is a myth, as lots of timber party walls or floors won’t always pass a sound test by installing resilient bars or an independent frame. There are various methods for checking whether a party wall or floor element will achieve the Building Regulations Approved Document E requirements for sound insulation:

1) Predicting the performance via an acoustic consultant: This can be done by including a margin for flanking and workmanship to make certain the element being installed is likely to meet building regulations. The accuracy of this can be improved through inspection of the separating element.

2) On-site testing of the structure: Testing the structure will give a greater clarity to sound insulation results and will include flanking elements such as external walls and junction details. 

3) Laboratory Test Data: Having laboratory test data available with the existing or proposed element will improve accuracy of the predicted sound insulation performance.

The steps outlined above will help the acoustic consultant determine the exact steps necessary to meet Building Regulations. For further information on steps to improve sound insulation performance.

Why Acoustics Is Important

Here’s Why Acoustics is Important

By | Acoustics | No Comments

When you woke up this morning, you wouldn’t have considered noise an important part of daily life, but the sound that makes up our daily noise climate is tailored by the goings on around each person, busy road traffic noise, trains passing, aircraft overhead and even general chit chat around us. 

Therefore, here are some reasons why acoustics is important to each and every one of us.

#1 IT AFFECTS YOUR HEALTH AND WELLBEING

The distant ‘impact’ noise from external noise sources like the road being repaired outside, car horns ‘honking’ and the people around us can have a real effect on health and wellbeing. A clear strategy can be put in place to tackle these challenges head-on for commercial noise sources such as air handling units or kitchen extract systems for commercial use.

Noise has been proven to have a direct impact on health. There are four effects:

  • Sleep ?
  • Productivity ?
  • Social Behaviour ?
  • Interference with Communication ?

We often don’t consider noise to be an issue until it affects us directly; a common problem is called room acoustics. Consider when you go out for dinner at a restaurant and find the noise from the room is so loud, you need to raise your voice to be heard. 

#2 THE NOISE CLIMATE AFFECTS EVERYONE

Environmental noise is the second most significant environmental risk in Western Europe according to a report published by the World Health Organisation (WHO), 2011. Environmental noise disturbance to residents has various health and hearing effects, including:

  • Hearing loss
  • Tinnitus, also referred to as ringing in the ears
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Pain and fatigue
  • Shoddy work and poor school performance
  • Speech problems
  • Hormonal responses (stress hormones) and their consequences on human metabolism and immune system function.

According to a survey, road traffic was the number one most disturbing noise source and noisy neighbours have been rated the second most disturbing noise source, this is according to a survey of 1.6 million people conducted on residents in Curitiba, Brazil.

#3 IT HAS AN ECONOMIC IMPACT

There is a £10 billion estimated annual social cost of urban road noise in England, which is a far greater cost than the impact of climate change (£4 billion). The Government Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs has classified the economic cost/ impact of noise into four groups:

  1. Productivity – through distraction, fatigue and interrupting communication, noise can have a negative impact on productivity.
  2. Environmental – sound has a notable effect on the natural environment, from altering bird breeding patterns to disturbing wildlife and damaging sensitive ecosystems.
  3. Amenity – at present, two amenity impacts can be quantified, sleep disturbance and annoyance.
  4. Health – noise has a range of effects on health, three of which include heart attacks, strokes and dementia.

To improve acoustic conditions, Climate Acoustics is committed to making noise more tolerable for everyone. Call Climate Acoustics today on 01245 800105 or email; info@climateacoustics.com. We’ll be happy to assist you in solving your noise problem.