Building Acoustics

Building acoustics is the science and engineering of achieving a good sound environment within a building space. Building acoustics design is achieved by following an “intelligent layout” where noise producing areas are separated from noise sensitive areas. Acoustics design should also ensure sound insulation between rooms and sound absorption of excess sound to improve communication and reduce noise related distraction.

Sound Insulation

Sound Insulation (SI):is the reduction of sound (decibel level) as it passes through a partition. A partition can be a wall, ceiling or floor. The passage of sound into one room of a building from a sound source located in another room or outside the building is termed ''sound transmission".

STC or Sound Transmission Class is a single number rating given to panels which indicate the degree of sound transmission loss offered. A higher STC corresponds to a greater degree of sound insulation.

Sound absorption

When sound meets a surface, a part of it is absorbed. The percentage of sound that is absorbed by a material is defined as the ‘Absorption Coefficient’ which is expressed on a scale 0-1. Sound absorption is important because it reduces sound levels inside a room. For good sound insulation, the partition must be capable of blocking airborne sound and the construction must ensure no gaps and leaks using which sound can travel around the partition.

What is Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC)?

Sound absorption of a material varies with the frequency of sound. NRC is the mathematical average of absorption coefficient of a material at four frequency bands - 250, 500, 1000, 2000 Hz.

Acoustics in open plan offices

Open Plan Office: The benefits and criticisms The open plan office model has been widely adopted by companies in India and across the world. Although this new model creates an open work environment, it continues to face criticism regarding its acoustic qualities.

Advantages Disadvantages
Encourages team work and transparency High levels of distraction due to people speaking, phones ringing, etc.
Encourages a horizontal hierarchy Poor environment for higher cognitive tasks such as problem solving and trouble shooting
Cost effective and easier to refurbish Poor levels of privacy

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