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Optimising acoustics in a commercial space: what you need to know

by Madelein
Optimising acoustics in a commercial space: what you need to know

Denver Coleman, Chairman of Polyflor SA gives a few pointers on what to consider when looking to optimise the acoustics of a space and what we should keep in mind when specifying flooring systems.

More than six decades of experience

With more than 60 years of experience in the local and international flooring industry, Denver Coleman shares his knowledge. Acoustics has fast become one of the primary focuses of builders, contractors, and architects, as measures are introduced to improve the overall acoustic performance of new and refurbished spaces.

Noise can have an extremely detrimental effect in the workplace, which can significantly affect an individual’s well-being and hinder work performance. Acoustic vinyl floor coverings have been designed and developed to assist in improving the acoustic properties within spaces, as well as to provide the additional benefits of aesthetics, performance, hygiene, and durability.

Acoustic properties to keep in mind

  • Sound: Usually generated by vibrations of a surface, sound is transmitted through sound waves and may be described in terms of sound pressure, sound energy, or sound power.
  • Impact sound:Noise is created when sound energy is transmitted by impact or air. Impact sound is energy produced by the collision of solid objects transmitted through the structure of a building. Noise levels transmitted through floors by impact sound can be reduced by acoustic planning at the outset of a project and by correctly installing an acoustic floor covering.
  • Walking noise: Unlike impact sound, this is where the sound of a person’s footsteps reverberates back into the room through the air. Smooth acoustic floor coverings are designed to reduce impact sound at the source, not to reduce background or reverberation sound within a room.

Other sources of noise to consider when planning your interior are:

  • Traffic
  • Weather
  • Plumbing
  • Duct-borne noise
  • Noise via open windows

Acoustic ceiling and wall panels, fabrics, textiles, plants, and mindful space planning may also be considered in the design process to assist with reducing noise.

Acoustics testing standards

The Impact Test measures the sound level downstairs when a standard tapping machine is operating upstairs (intended to replicate noise such as footsteps). The result is shown as the weighted standardised Impact Sound Pressure Level, or L’nT,w, and the lower the sound pressure level downstairs, the better the insulation.

Acoustic floor covering

Throughout many countries, legislation has been introduced to address resistance to the passage of sound. More and more commercial buildings are now being identified as benefiting from an acoustic floor covering. There are many common areas where noise is considered a nuisance and with more high traffic areas expected throughout buildings, these areas can benefit greatly from acoustic flooring to aid a peaceful working environment.

For expert advice, contact Polyflor SA:
Tel: +27 (11) 609 3500 (speak to Blythe or Wendy)
Email: marketing@polyflor.co.za
Website: www.polyflor.co.za

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