Expertise for Every Type of Building
Every building is different and we provide the acoustics services for all of them, including very special spaces such as schools, laboratories, theatres or historic structures as well as complex hospital buildings that require careful, strategic design to address the acoustics in a multitude of different spaces and functions.
Trends evolve, such as the increasing use of timber, and we embrace changes and innovate accordingly. For example, the move towards open plan offices and space use flexibility in commercial buildings, have made acoustics more important in employee satisfaction. In healthcare facilities, while the link between sleep quality and recovery is evident, confidentiality in wards and patient rooms also needs to be taken into account. We often use sound masking systems to artificially raise ambient noise level within a space (white noise). It provides the benefit of speech privacy while reducing sleep disturbance.
We have provided acoustical design for numerous tall buildings around the world and are experienced in developing different solutions for a building when its structure changes from concrete to steel. Our specialists advise on 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.
Our rich portfolio includes commercial buildings such as Salesforce Tower in San Francisco, The Shard in London and 720 Bourke Street in Melbourne, cultural buildings like Dubai Opera and Zayed National Museum in Abu Dhabi. For the latter, we carried a complex 3D acoustic modelling to assess transmission of noise between spaces as well as to enhance acoustic for presentation and performance.
We have also worked on transport terminals including London Bridge Station, hospitals such as Alder Hey Children Health Park in Liverpool and Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg. Our work in the hospitality sector includes hotels such us Primus Hotel in Sydney and Park Hyatt in Auckland, where we placed reverberation control treatments to ensure noise from function rooms would not impact guests.
Room acoustic modelling
We use bespoke 3D acoustic 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 fine-tuning 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 prevents expensive remedial treatments after projects are completed. An example is The Place, a commercial building in London, where we used auralization for the foyer to demonstrate sound insulation between meeting rooms.
Our teams advise contractors and architects on building layouts to minimize the need for expensive acoustics countermeasures, or retroactive sound insulation between rooms. We use detailed 3D room acoustics computer modelling to test different options and evaluate which enables speech privacy and intelligibility.
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, including 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, enable 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 on when and how to install the complex vibration isolation systems.
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 implement. We also perform noise and vibration monitoring and oversee contractor compliance on larger construction projects.
Commissioning testing is the analysis of ambient noise levels, reverberation time, airborne and impact sound insulation, speech transmission index and plant noise emissions. Our acoustics testers are registered on the Association of Noise Consultants scheme in accordance with building regulations and BREEAM.
We also evaluate already constructed buildings and provide insights to the owner on how to improve the acoustics.