The role of a noise consultant in the built environment

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In this vlog, our Teli Chinelis discusses the role of a noise consultant in the built environment.

Unwanted noise is a nuisance, especially when people have to experience it inside their own home. In fact, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), exposure to noise presents the second-largest health risk to the population of Western Europe, second only to poor air quality. Serious words indeed, yet housebuilders and developers can play a key role in the management of noise, especially if they consider acoustic ventilation.

Impacts on health and wellbeing include cardiovascular disease, annoyance and distractions in activities such as reading and conversation.

In the UK, the main environmental noise sources of concern are road/rail transport, and aircraft, along with industrial and commercial sources such as from sport and entertainment activities.

For housebuilders and developers, there are a number of typical acoustic requirements which need to be met, which fall into four categories:

  • Planning requirements.
  • Building Regulations Approved Document E.
  • BREEAM/Home quality mark Credits.
  • Contractual requirements for the end client.

Environmental noise is a material consideration in the planning process and is often required to be assessed at the planning stage of developments.

An experienced acoustics consultant is indispensable to a housebuilder and developer in addressing the issue of noise by encouraging better acoustic design for new residential development and aims to protect people from the harmful effects of noise.

A good acoustic design considers issues such as careful site layouts, better orientation of rooms within dwellings and the use of acoustic mitigation measures.

An experienced acoustic consultant in your project will:

  • Identify sites that are very unlikely to be suitable for new residential developments due to noise, saving developers time and money.
  •  Provide quantitative guidance for proposed new residential developments affected by existing sources.
  • Speed up the planning decision process by ensuring noise issues are addressed early in the process, and
  • Help to reduce the harmful impact of noise for users of developments.

The acoustic consultant can review various mitigation options which can be utilised to achieve both internal and external noise limits. Measures that are regularly incorporated into new-build designs include:

  • Orientation of buildings such that noise-sensitive areas are protected from noise.
  • Use of noise barriers/bunds and barriers to reduce the impact of noise.
  • Use of suitable acoustic glazing and ventilation to reduce the noise ingress into sensitive spaces.

Good acoustics is a great value to property developers, ensuring that people feel satisfied with their homes, making the property desirable, and subsequently more valuable.

For any more information on the role of a noise consultant in the built environment, or any other acoustic topics please contact [email protected].

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