Managing noise pollution

In an increasingly busy and populated world, we have to deal with many different sources of noise - some of which can be damaging in a variety of ways. Whether your project is commercial or residential, it is important to deal with noise before it distracts and disrupts occupants and workers.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends guideline levels for noise, which are measured in dBA to ‘mimic’ the sensitivity of the human ear to different frequencies.

The general guide is that daytime outdoor sound levels should be lower than 50dBA to prevent people from becoming ‘moderately annoyed’, while a noise level of under 30dBA is recommended for undisturbed sleep.

However, in practice the human threshold of hearing is 15dBA and most everyday noises to which we are exposed are louder than the WHO’s suggestions. A vacuum cleaner, for instance, is 70dBA, while a pneumatic drill is 80dBA – and a heavy truck or motorcycle is 90dBA, demonstrating the importance of effective sound barriers.

Managing acoustics in and around your project can be made simpler and easier with acoustic barriers, such as fencing, which are specially designed to absorb or reflect sound as it travels between a noise source and its receiver.

But if you’re choosing an acoustic barrier, what should you consider? The barrier’s height is key – it needs to break the direct line of sight between the noise source, such as construction works, and the receiver, such as the housing estate nearby. The barrier should also be sealed to the ground to prevent noise creeping underneath and be put together in a way to ensure there’s no air gaps that would let noise through.

When considering the acoustic requirements of your site, we recommend discussing your needs with an independent sound engineer, who can help you choose the most appropriate product.

Our in-house design team can help you to make the best choice from your acoustics options and we partner with sound engineers across the country who can advise upon the level of acoustic barrier required.

Want to know more about acoustics? Visit our dedicated page here.

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