Noise reduction and access control for supermarket environments
The term time-poor has never been more relevant in our society, with people today leading increasingly hectic lives. According to a report titled’ What’s Next’ back in 1900 people slept for 9.0 hours every night. Now it’s just 6.9 hours. This is driving trends like the 24-hour supermarket culture. No surprise then that while 50 years ago most people bought their food from markets or specialist food shops, today 80% of the estimated £76b spent on groceries goes to supermarkets. And with supermarkets now muscling in on other non food markets to offer an even greater choice of products (ranging from clothing and garden / outdoor equipment to electrical items and pharmacies), there is a clear need for an increased amount of space required to house such a wide variety of goods.
Although grocers are actually cutting back on the development of new megastores the massive interest in internet based sales has seen a new phenomenon, the advent of the ‘dark store’ which is a distribution centre that caters exclusively for the online shopping market. In January of this year it was claimed that supermarket chains Tesco, Asda and Waitrose had signed up for twice as much warehouse space to accommodate the growth of internet sales.
Whether it is a regular supermarket or a dark store, the reality is that these large-scale developments represent a clear impact on the local neighbourhood and any supermarket needs to be seen to be embracing clear strategies that underpin their commitment to maintaining good community relations.
Solution to noise pollution
Supermarkets by their nature are relatively noisy installations. The most obvious source of additional noise stems from the high volume of traffic entering the site, both in terms of customers accessing the supermarket’s services and staff parking their cars, but also more markedly as a result of the round the clock deliveries from commercial HGVs. In addition to the problems associated with traffic congestion, other possible sources of noise pollution can be attributed to refrigeration equipment, vehicle maneuvering on the site, the loading and unloading of goods and air conditioning systems.
The installation of acoustic fencing and gates can help to reduce the negative impact of noise pollution by either reflecting or absorbing the excessive sound. Installing acoustic fencing will not only limit the level of noise experienced by neighbours, it can also enhance overall security by delivering a robust line of physical defence and encouraging improved site privacy.
Jacksons Fencing’s Jakcoustic timber acoustic barriers have been proven to reduce noise by up to 32DB with the additional benefit of representing an attractive fencing legacy that will blend into the local landscape courtesy of the attractive timber facade. In addition to the clear noise reduction benefits associated with Jakoustic, the long life expectancy of Jacksons products represents a responsible buying decision by the supermarket, since the extended service life will actively reduce the company’s carbon footprint while the timber used by Jacksons (which is accredited by environmental chain-of-custody schemes such as the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) further underpins a commitment to key environmental issues.
A key requirement for any supermarket will be to effectively control access to the site and restrict entry within certain areas, only making them available to authorized personnel. Automated gates are a natural response to this problem and these gates can be engineered to include noise absorption / reflection qualities.
Regardless of whether the automated gate is in a swing, sliding or bi-folding format it must comply with the current accepted protocol to deliver a safe and compliant installation. In brief this means that the gate must be CE marked and be accompanied by a Declaration of Conformity, should be supported by a minimum of two types of safety feature from a choice of safety edges / photo cells and force limitation.
Gate Safe - the charity that campaigns for improved standards in automated gate safety - always recommends the inclusion of photo cells and safety edges on all automated gates regardless of whether a force limitation device has been installed to ensure the highest level of safety. In addition to addressing the specific safety requirements for automated gates, there is an inherent need to consider the basic mechanical functionality of the gate that is being installed. Last year saw two deaths as a result of heavy gates falling on top of a victim, due to a failing in the integrity of the gate itself. Priority should be given to identifying a quality, fit for purpose construction crafted from superior, long lasting materials capable of delivering a long service life.
All automated gates should undergo regular maintenance inspections, every six months as a minimum to assess the correct functioning of the gate and also to look for any changes on site, which might impact on the efficient operation / safety of the installation. Finally it is always recommended that vehicular access is clearly segregated from pedestrian access by using a separate entry point for visitors entering the site on foot.
How acoustic fencing helped shield local residents from noise created from a nearby supermarket