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People rarely notice a good acoustic environment, but it’s very evident when the acoustics haven’t been considered. Making living, working and leisure environments quieter and more comfortable is the goal of every acoustician.

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Sector

Service

  • Audiovisual Systems
  • Building Information Modelling BIM
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • ­(View all)

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Our acoustics teams around the world cover every aspect of the discipline, undertaking environmental and building acoustics in any sector and with expertise in all the niche areas. We deliver a very high technical capability to our clients, whatever and wherever the project.

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Engineering Alder Hey

Alder Hey Children’s Hospital

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Expertise for Every Circumstance

WSP has one of the largest dedicated acoustics practices in the industry. We conduct Environmental Noise Impact Assessments during the planning phase for all types of schemes, both buildings and infrastructure. These assessments range from large master plan development schemes to the impact of new roads, railways, airports, renewable and traditional energy schemes, and industrial sites.

We also provide architectural acoustics services, including sound insulation, room acoustics, building vibration and mechanical services noise and vibration control. Our expertise involves the design and delivery of acoustic environments that meet the requirements of the project type, client and end user, at every stage, from concept design through to noise monitoring and mitigation during construction, operation and decommissioning.

Building Acoustics

As the majority of our engineering disciplines, acousticians advocate early-stage involvement in all building projects. We use computer modelling to enable our clients and design teams to hear, or ‘auralize’, the acoustics of a space long before designs are finalized and the building has been constructed.  This enables the fine-tuning of the sound characteristics of a building’s spaces and means we can influence the layout and the materials used from the outset. It saves time and avoids the need for expensive remedial treatments after projects are completed.

Our rich portfolio of projects include cultural buildings such as Dubai Opera and Zayed National Museum in Abu Dhabi, transport terminals like London Bridge Station, high-rise buildings including The Shard in London, hospitals such as Alder Hey Children Health Park in Liverpool and Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg, and hotels like Primus Hotel in Sydney and Park Hyatt in Auckland.

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Engineering design for Abu Dhabi’s Zayed National Museum- exterior view facade

Zayed National Museum

Specialist Fields of Building Acoustics

We are leading experts in the full range of specialist fields of acoustics. These include solving the problems caused to buildings, their occupants and their immediate surroundings as a result of unwanted noise and vibrations from external sources such as construction sites, roads or railways.

We have long experience in building façade acoustics to minimize the break-in of external noise such as traffic. We innovate to enable new construction techniques and the use of different building materials and finishes to achieve required acoustic effects. Our teams work to ensure appropriate sound insulation to prevent the transmission of sound from one space to another.

We are constantly developing new ways of reducing the noise from building services equipment such as chillers, generators and combined heat and power (CHP) plants. Other specialist acoustic services include PAVA (Public Address and Voice Alarm) and the optimization of reverberation to enable high levels of speech intelligibility or audibility.

Vibration Studies

Many buildings are located beside or above sources of potentially significant vibration, such as railways, leading to concerns about the transmission of vibration and structure-borne noise into acoustically sensitive spaces. We conduct specialist studies to assess the impacts of vibrations on a building that include addressing tactile vibration and re-radiated noise.

Vibration from underground railways often manifests itself within buildings not as tactile vibration (vibration you can feel) but as low frequency re-radiated noise, perceived as a low rumble as a train passes along the line.

Our detailed vibration studies address these concerns, while our experience ensures we recommend the right solutions for our clients. Techniques such as using room finishes and treatments to reduce re-radiated noise, allow us to limit the need for whole building insulation to only situations where vibration impacts are high and cannot be mitigated by other means. In these cases, we advise architects and developers when and how to install the complex vibration isolation systems.

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Construction Noise Management

Construction noise management involves not only the outdoor aspects of noise in the area surrounding a construction site, but also its impact on and within local buildings. We develop noise and vibration control plans to enable contractors and project managers to know ahead of time where problems are likely to occur and what kind of mitigation would be appropriate to proactively impose. We also perform noise and vibration monitoring and oversee contractor compliance on larger construction projects.

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Protecting Special Buildings

We provide acoustic services for specialist buildings such as schools, laboratories, theatres or historic structures. Complex hospital buildings require careful, strategic design to address the acoustics in a multitude of different spaces and their uses.

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Acoustics for Tall Buildings

We have provided acoustical design for numerous tall buildings around the world. Because our acousticians work so closely with colleagues in other disciplines, we have developed in-depth understanding of the inherent structure and performance of high-rise buildings.

We are experienced in developing different acoustic solutions for a building when its structure changes from concrete to steel. Or what sound insulation is required between a mixed-use scheme’s different functions, such as retail, leisure, offices and residential apartments, and how to control noise and vibration from entire floors of mechanical and electrical plant to highly noise-sensitive spaces directly adjacent.