A crowd at a music festival

Festival Season 2024!

Festival Season 2024 is well and truly upon the dBx Acoustics team, and as ever we are loving being out in the fresh air and hearing some great music.

Highlights so far include;

Cheltenham Jazz Festival

A banner saying Cheltenham Jazz Festival, a crowd of people and a bar in the background

Our first festival of the year, and always a very civilised way to start. The weather wasn’t too kind this year but seeing Dionne Warwick and Robert Plant definitely made up for that. This was Simon’s first festival, which may have lulled him into a false sense of security before we headed to…

Bearded Theory

Boy, did it rain. By the time the festival opened this year, we were very glad we had brought our wellies! Despite the weather, which in the past has never been anything other than glorious, the wonderful Bearded Theory crowd are always a pleasure to be a part of, dealing with the mud with a smile and enjoying the party.

Cheltenham Pride

A sign saying 'pride' standing on some grass with a stage behind, the sign is painted as a rainbow

It was our first year at Cheltenham Pride, and what a great day it was. Susan got her nose pierced in a moment of madness (is that another part of the mid-life crisis?), Scooby entered the dog show, and we had some lovely feedback from residents about how well the noise levels were controlled. Hoping this will become a regular fixture in our calendar.

Still to come this year, we’ll be revisiting our friends at WOMAD, Beautiful Days and End of the Road, and perhaps a few more…if you have an event that needs noise monitoring by our expert team, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

dBx Case Studies - Education

There is a proven link between acoustic conditions in schools and educational outcomes. Building Bulletin 93 (BB93) mandates minimum standards in primary and secondary schools for noise levels and room acoustics, as well as acoustic separation between teaching spaces.

The dBx Acoustics team can help you comply with BB93, but our expertise goes even further. We have extensive experience designing environments for pupils with additional needs, including autism and hearing loss, as well as higher education and noisier, practical workshop spaces.

New and refurbished school buildings must comply with Building Regulation E4 and the acoustic performance standards of Building Bulletin 93 (BB93) ‘Acoustic Design of Schools’. Whilst BB93 is not mandatory for higher education establishments, it typically forms the basis of the initial design for such establishments, with modifications as appropriate to allow for specific HE uses. Where projects are being designed with BREEAM in mind, credits HEA05 and POL05 are also relevant.

There are a number of different acoustic aspects which come together to ensure that acoustic conditions in schools are appropriate to support learning, and it’s so important to get it right – studies have shown that educational attainment can be directly correlated to acoustic conditions.

Our involvement often begins at the planning stage with an environmental noise survey, which allows us to advise on ventilation and glazing requirements to control noise ingress to the building. If mechanical ventilation is proposed, if there is an external MUGA, or if community use is proposed, the noise survey also allows noise emission limits to be set to ensure that existing neighbours are not adversely affected by noise.

Internal ambient noise levels in teaching spaces are also affected by mechanical ventilation, and we work with the M&E consultant to specify appropriate noise control measures, such as silencers.
When it comes to the design of the building itself, BB93 requires us to specify partitions and floors to control airborne and impact sound transmission between teaching spaces, based on their relative sensitivity and noise generation characteristics. The detailing of junctions and sealing of any services penetrations is critical in maintaining acoustic separation between adjacent rooms.

Having provided a suitably quiet teaching environment which won’t be adversely affected by activity in other classrooms, our focus moves to room acoustics and control of reverberation. Often this is as simple as specifying the acoustic performance of a suspended ceiling, but for large spaces such as Assembly Halls and Sports Halls, we undertake acoustic modelling to optimise the specification and placement of acoustic finishes. Where an exposed soffit is preferred, we calculate the specification and quantity of finishes, such as acoustic rafts and wall panels to control room acoustic conditions.

Finally, we carry out pre-completion acoustic testing on-site to ensure that all of the acoustic criteria for the project have been complied with on-site.

The dBx Acoustics team also have a particular interest in acoustic design for SEN schools, particularly schools catering to neurodiverse pupils. BB93 specifies design criteria for “children with special hearing and communication needs”, which is intended to include autism, ADHD and auditory processing difficulties, and assists in providing an environment in which speech transmission is clear and effective. The standard does not, however, consider the other acoustic aspects of school life which affect such pupils, including auditory sensitivities and the need to provide spaces to allow a retreat from the noise and bustle of daily school life. Our team’s direct and personal experiences of neurodiversity, both as parents and as individuals, helps us to understand the requirements of individual educational clients, and help guide the design of educational buildings to provide an acoustically diverse and appropriate environment.

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