Building acoustics is something that plays a very important role in everyone’s lives. Whether you’re at home or the office, acoustics can impact virtually everything. Acoustics can determine how sound is both transmitted and received. It can even impact what sound makes its way to be audible outside.
For instance, a school building’s acoustics will play a big role in determining how easy it is for a teacher to give an audible lecture to students. This can impact how well students can hear instructions and learn. Acoustics refers to how sound reverberates and how it’s transmitted. Noise can be measured with a noise level meter. This can be very important even in your home because it can determine whether or not you get quality sleep and more. Noise pollution in a home is a real thing and if you have people living on different schedules, it can prove to make sleeping very difficult.
What Are Building Acoustics?
As mentioned, building acoustics refers to the method by which the noise is controlled through the building itself. This includes both how the sound is transmitted throughout the space and how noise pollution is reduced or eliminated.
The construction of a building is one of the most important elements that can impact its acoustics. Nowadays, building designs have become more and more advanced. A lot of developers now look at how the design will impact both the acoustics of the building and its energy efficiency. After all, noise is one of the biggest factors that can impact someone’s quality of life in their home or office building. Thus, it’s something that is considered during the early design stages.
In the United Kingdom, it’s become a legal requirement for various qualifying buildings to go through and pass a sound insulation exam. This has been the case since the Building Regulations Approved Document E passed. The buildings that have to go through these tests and pass include brand new blocks of flats, semi-detached houses, hostels, and hotels. Also, HMOs need to go through these tests. Other situations require it, but these are the main ones.
Because of all of this, acoustics has become a very important part of the planning stages for designing and developing a building. There are different strategies that designers use to try to control how the sound reverberates throughout a building.
How Is Sound Controlled?
The overall acoustics of a building are controlled by various strategies and factors. Some things can be done to both amplify the sound and reduce it. Some things can enhance the projection of sound and eliminate sound when they don’t want it to spread. One of the biggest ways sound gets controlled in a building through design is the reduction of sound. This is to eliminate or at least minimise noise pollution.
Sound is the result of vibrations being generated from various objects. When sound travels, it travels in waves. It does so directly from the source. It can then penetrate objects and bounce off them. However, when the vibrations go through objects, it lessens in severity. This is generally why you will not hear someone screaming as loud if you stand outside of a window. However, you will still hear it. The transmission of the noise is caused by the vibrations of the molecules that form the object in question.
When it comes to solid objects, the molecules are very close together. Whereas, a liquid object has them much more separated. Because of this, a designer can use different things to reduce noise pollution in a building. Some of the best ways they do this are by adding more solid objects including:
- Wall insulation
- Soundproof curtains
- Thicker double-glazed windows
As you can see, all of these things add more objects that the sound has to travel through. These different design decisions can help to protect the space from unwanted sound penetrating. It’s also a good way to keep the unwanted sound from outside to penetrate the walls inside. For instance, if you are looking to soundproof a meeting room where confidential things are to be discussed, you would use soundproofing materials as described above.