The Importance of Sound Planning in Design: Why you Need an Acoustic Consultant
Building acoustics are a vital part of building design. The productivity and wellbeing of residents, visitors and workers within a building can be affected by how well thought out the acoustics are. With several factors to consider and an increased importance for buildings such as schools, lecture halls, theatres and offices, you need an acoustic consultant to ensure everything goes smoothly.
What is an Acoustic Consultant?
An acoustic consultant is a specialist who is specially trained in calculating the acoustics for any given space. The consultants can either work independently as solo practitioners or as part of a larger consultancy. They work to find the perfect acoustic balance for a room or building and give the architect and design team important information about how the design will affect acoustics.
They can then work with them to find designs, materials and structural nuances that will help to balance the acoustics so that noise is at the perfect level for the building’s purpose. For concert halls and theatres, they can ensure that the design is perfect for reverberating sound, so that it can be heard evenly throughout the room.
For offices, residences and even libraries, they can ensure that a good sound absorption rate is found and there is sufficient sound insulation so that there isn’t excessive noise.
Considering the Acoustics During Design Planning
Acoustics considerations need to be taken during the design phase. It’s a crucial part of the design planning that an acoustic engineer undertakes. Considering the layout, materials and other factors to measure and determine the best design tweaks to best balance the noise levels and eliminate unwanted or excessive noise, the acoustic engineer has an important role.
Not considering the acoustics during the design phase can prove disastrous. Waiting until after the design and construction to making structural or even cosmetic changes to the building can be a costly and avoidable mistake. Hiring an acoustic consultant during the design planning stages means there won’t be any nasty surprises and costly changes after the fact.
Insulation and Absorption
Two key aspects of sound planning are the insulation and absorption. Insulation refers to using the walls and other physical dividers within the building to block out sound from different areas. One of the biggest considerations is the flanking transmission, which, essentially, refers to the noise coming through from outside. Ensuring that the construction doesn’t leave any gaps in the external structure is key to good insulation.
Absorption is the loss of sound when it comes into contact with a surface. Absorption is a key element of building design and can help to reduce noise levels within structures. An acoustic engineer can find the right materials and specifications to hit the perfect absorption level for each individual project.
Construction Best Practices
There are many things considered to be construction best practices when it comes to sound planning. For instance, using partitions to increase the insulation but then placing doors or windows in them, reducing their efficiency, would not be considered best practice.
Choosing to work with an acoustic consultant to optimise your building and room acoustics can save you money in the long, ensure that the job is done properly and that a high-quality result is achieved the first time.