What makes an acoustic fence different from a standard fence?

Acoustic fencing is designed to reduce the impact of environmental noise pollution, which has been shown to cause chronic stress, hearing damage, hypertension, diabetes and even heart problems.

According to the Chief Medical Officer, the level at which detrimental health effects become evident is 55 decibels, while WHO guidelines for night-time noise recommend less than 40 decibels to prevent adverse health effects. Quality acoustic fencing can reduce noise pollution by up to 32 decibels, but what makes an acoustic fence different from a standard timber fence?

Acoustic fencing requirements

To be classified as an acoustic barrier, a surface mass density of at least 10kg/m2 is required, as this is the mass where noise will start to reflect back rather than be able to travel straight through. A typical timber fence has a mass of around 4kg/m2 and does not provide an effective barrier to reduce environmental noise.

At Jacksons, we have two types of timber acoustic barriers: reflective, which has a surface mass density of 25kg/m2, and absorptive which has a surface mass density of 28kg/m2. By default, a noise barrier without an additional absorptive layer is reflective.

The effectiveness of any noise barrier is dependent on five main factors:

  • Material density
  • Barrier construction
  • Barrier height
  • Distance between noise source and receiver
  • Relative height of source and receiver with respect to barrier

There is a range of factors that differentiates a certified acoustic fence from a regular domestic fence; some key differences are explored below.

The imperviousness of acoustic barriers

Our acoustic fencing uses 34mm thick tongue-and-groove style ‘V’ boards constructed in such as way that eliminates gaps that sound can travel through. By comparison, a Tongue and Groove board from Jacksons (our closest matching non-acoustic fence) is 17mm thick and has been designed for screening only, rather than noise reduction.

Regulations around acoustic fencing

At present, we are the only manufacturer in the UK able to CE mark a complete timber acoustic barrier system, ‘Jakoustic® Commercial and Highway’. This system includes the posts, cladding, fixings and installation, approved via an Initial Type Test Report carried out by BSI. In contrast, there are far fewer regulations around the installation of timber garden fencing, which is usually installed using slotted timber fence posts seen in gardens across the UK.

The lifespan of acoustic fencing

Finally, an acoustic barrier should have a lifespan of at least 20 years. All products manufactured by Jacksons Fencing, including timber barriers that are not acoustic fences, are covered by our 25 year Jakcure® guarantee.

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From design and manufacturing to supply and installation, we can help you with your project. If you'd like to discuss anything in this article or need information or guidance, please feel free to contact us at any stage to discuss your requirements.