Tamar Bridge Crossing

dBx Acoustics worked with architects Poynton Bradbury Wynter Cole Architects on this project which was funded by the Heritage Lottery and was completed in 2018.

The work consisted of replacement offices and public interface facilities as well as a new control room, replacing the original 1961 office building on the site. We commenced with a noise survey to establish the existing conditions on site which enabled us to specify both facade sound insulation to control noise intrusion to the building, and noise emission limits for new items of building services plant.

Our work on the building wasn’t just focused on the envelope, although controlling noise intrusion to the main traffic control room was considered a key aim of the scheme. We also worked with the design team to control privacy between adjacent spaces, and to control room acoustic conditions for good communication and concentration.

This project was particularly special to our Director, Susan, who grew up in Cornwall and considers herself to be ‘home’ as soon as she crosses the bridge. It adds to our portfolio of projects in the South West which includes a number of residential developments for Acorn Blue, and a number of PSBP school refurbishment projects with Interserve – including Susan’s own primary school!

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\/"}; /* ]]> */