With acoustics likely to play a part in many building designs, Nicola Herring and James Garner from Gleeds provide an overview of products and their costs
Building acoustics are an important consideration for projects as they can affect the productivity, wellbeing and communication of its users.
There are many factors which can influence building acoustics, including the shape and volume of a space; the characteristics to throw surfaces onto the line below, enclosing or separating the space in terms of sound absorption, transmission and reflection; generation of sound; airborne sound transmission and impact noise.
The reverberation time of a room or space is defined as the time it takes for sound to decay by 60dB, and it affects how a space sounds. It is linked to the volume of the room and the amount of sound absorption treatments incorporated – rooms designed for speech typically have a lower reverberation time than those designed for music which might have a higher reverberation time to add richness and warmth. Sound absorption refers to the loss of sound energy when sound waves hit ceilings, walls and floors, and they are absorbed.
Sound insulation is a technique that is used to restrict sound from travelling between separate spaces through walls, ceilings and floors.
The passage of sound into one room of a building from a source located in another room or outside the building is termed ‘sound transmission’. Transmission loss or Sound Reduction Index, R dB, is a measure of effectiveness of a barrier (eg wall, floor, door etc) in restricting the passage of sound.
Part E of the Building Regulations sets minimum standards for design and construction in relation to the resistance to the passage of sound.
The following guide reflects the prices a client might expect to pay on a medium-sized project for some products or measures which may be specified in relation to acoustics.
Prices allow for installation but do not include the contractor’s preliminaries, overheads and profit margin