Staff and students in the focus groups identified some negative influences on their feelings and behaviour associated with cosmetic and environmental factors. These included problems with…acoustics and noise.
Design with distinction (2005)
The management of sound levels within a building can be a real balancing act. Acoustics need to be of an appropriate quality for learning and teaching activity. It is also important to encourage social interaction throughout the building whilst at the same time controlling the potential impact of excessive noise.
Sound factors can be managed in a number of ways; Glasgow Caledonian University used foam ceiling baffles in the Saltire Centre and others in the sector are using a variety of baffles and soundproofing throughout their spaces. The scraping of chairs across floors has been identified as a major source of noise in a number of buildings and the most straightforward way of dealing with this is to fix rubber stoppers to the bottom of chair legs.
Further information can be found in Building Bulletin 93 produced by the University of Exeter’s Centre for Energy and the Environment. This sets out information on Acoustic Design of Schools which can be applied to other educational buildings.
When budgets tighten and savings need to be made in areas it can be tempting to remove sound insulation from the shopping list – our advice is to think carefully before you do this. You may save money in the short term but this can result in long-term headaches (literally!) for users of the space.