2015 marks Metropolitan Acoustics’ 25th year. What better way to kick off our first newsletter in this momentous year than by sharing some of our New Year’s resolutions.
1. Adjacency No-Nos
When it comes to achieving the desired level of sound control, it is common to engage an acoustical consultant, typically when general design concept and floor plans are approved. An acoustical review may reveal that locating noise-sensitive spaces near loud adjacencies or equipment near property lines will require expensive sound isolation treatments; however, at this point in the project, making major design changes may not be desirable or feasible. Bowling alleys above restaurants, movie theaters under bedrooms, and Zumba classrooms next to boardrooms are just a few of the adjacencies we saw in 2014. In 2015, we want to convince more of our clients to invite us to the design charrette before the plans have been carved in stone.
2. Generators: A Noisy Devil
It seems as though more and more projects are incorporating emergency power generators. It used to be that generators were reserved for data centers, hospitals, and government work, but now everyone from schools to office and apartment buildings are incorporating backup power generators. What building owners, designers, and engineers must realize is that, regardless of their size, generators are easily the loudest pieces of equipment on the property. A generator combined with a light-weight structure or a stringent noise ordinance can wreak havoc on a project’s budget and schedule. Our resolution: Find out about generators as early as possible so that appropriate provisions can be made.
3. Speech Privacy for Success
One of the biggest challenges facing office building designers is the ability to achieve speech privacy while maintaining a sense of openness and community. In the good ol’ days, the majority of office occupants enjoyed private offices consisting of four full-height, thick walls. Those that did not have private offices were located in the cubicle farm with towering cubicle walls, providing ample privacy. As modern design has shifted to open-plan layouts with amazing views and greater sense of community, the issue of privacy has grown. Achieving speech privacy in these modern environments is possible but only through careful design of the interior finishes, furniture, sound masking, and HVAC systems. We resolve to lead the way in designing open-plan spaces with privacy in mind.
4. Vibration Isolation: A True Necessity
As the saying goes, if we had a nickel for every time we went onto a site with noise problems only to discover improper vibration isolation of mechanical and electrical equipment, we would be rich. In 2014, we encountered many instances where generators, chillers, cooling towers, pumps, compressors, air-handling units, and transformers were installed incorrectly, causing structure-borne noise to transmit efficiently through the building. It’s not easy or cheap to correct this issue after the fact. We resolve to review vibration isolation plans before equipment gets installed.
So whether your New Year’s Resolution is to drop a few pounds, work a little less, or contribute to an award winning design, rest assured that we have your sound and vibration concerns covered. Happy New Year.