modern residential apartment building

Acoustics for flats, houses and rooms for residential purposes

If you’re building any sort of residential project which has party walls and/or party floors, unless you’re using Robust Details, you will need to have them acoustically tested to demonstrate compliance with Approved Document E of the Building Regulations, Resistance to the Passage of Sound.

The requirement for testing applies to houses and flats, as well as “rooms for residential purposes” which includes hostels, hotels, and student halls of residence, and applies to everyone from large housebuilders to individuals converting a house to flats.

It’s also applicable where there is a change of use to residential, for historic properties, or where a new party wall/floor construction is installed.

You must use a tester who is accredited either by the Association of Noise Consultants or by UKAS. Although acoustic testing isn’t especially expensive, beware of those rock-bottom quotes – check whether your tester is approved, or you could be throwing your money away! dBx Acoustics is UKAS accredited.

You might also wish to consider getting specialist acoustic advice during the design stage, as failures in impact and sound insulation testing can be time-consuming and costly to rectify when a project is completed. A small amount spent on a review of your proposals could save thousands in remedial works.

dBx Acoustics is currently going through the Association of Noise Consultants’ application and approval process. In the meantime, we have partnered with accredited testers to provide testing and registration for compliance with Part E and so can help you with all your acoustic design and testing needs. We are currently working on a range of residential schemes, from small residential conversions through to large new build and mixed-use schemes with Mulbury City and Manchester Life, and Clergy Court in Blackburn with Purcell.

Contact us for a no-obligation chat about your project!

dBx Acoustics

Noise, Fatigue and Acoustic Design In Call Centres

We are all familiar with call centres – and most of the time when we talk about them it’s from the caller’s point of view. Are you frustrated when you are put through to someone in another country? Does the fake friendliness of the scripted interaction annoy you? But step back for a moment and remember some of those calls – was there something else that bothered you?

I know from my own experience that many a time I have been able to hear the operator on the next phone, and sometimes the whole hubbub of the call centre, which both makes it difficult to focus on your own conversation, and may give you some concerns about the privacy of your own conversation.

Noise transfer between call stations, and the build up of noise in general, is even more of a problem for call handlers, who need to maintain their focus over many hours. High background noise levels lead to physical and mental fatigue and therefore reduced efficiency, as well as the potential for operators to suffer from vocal fatigue which may lead to higher than normal absence rates through sickness. A 2008 study found that 28.7% of workers suffered permanent auditory fatigue, and that by the end of the working day this number had risen to 71.3%. The same study showed 48% of workers reporting vocal problems over the previous 12 month period.

This issue isn’t about to go away, either – the world’s largest call centre, with 20,000 seats, is about to open in China.

In the UK, over a million people work in the industry and there are over 5,000 call centres. Clearly both from the point of view of employer’s extracting the best and most efficient work from their employees, and for the health and welfare of the employees themselves, acoustic conditions in call centres need to be carefully considered, whatever their size.

Whether you’re planning a new contact centre, or having issues in an existing facility, it’s worth talking to a qualified acoustic consultant before you embark on the installation of acoustic treatments. A careful balance of both screening and acoustically absorptive finishes is required, and even the noise produced by the ventilation system can be used to help provide some sound masking. A consultant such as dBx Acoustics can model the space and demonstrate the auditory effect of different treatment options, allowing the client to assess the relative benefits and costs of various treatment schemes. Being able to optimize the placement and quantity of acoustic treatments allows a more effective and cost-conscious approach to acoustics, rather than just installing some absorptive treatments and hoping for the best.

Happier, healthier call centre workers? More calls, dealt with better, with lower staff absence rates? It sounds good to us. If you would like to talk to dBx Acoustics about how we can help you with call centre acoustics, please contact us!

","versionString":"wp\/v2\/"}; /* ]]> */