Schools came under Building Regulations for Acoustics, with the introduction of the revision to Approved Document E and the new Regulation, E4, which deals solely with the acoustics of school premises.
This regulation further qualifies the The Education (Schools Premises) Regulations 1996, which states that: “Each room or other space in a school shall have the acoustic conditions and the insulation against disturbance by noise appropriate to its normal use”.
The main concerns are speech intelligibility for good communication, and the important design parameters are Background Noise, Reverberation Time and Sound Insulation between adjacent spaces which are defined in Building Bulletin 93. Special cases are schools for hearing impaired children and where rooms are used for music and drama.
Peninsular Acoustics has designed the acoustics for several schools and we have special expertise in rooms used for drama and music where the acoustic requirements are more critical e.g. in recording studios and performance spaces.
Acoustics in hospitals and medical services buildings do not fall under Building Regulations but are described in Health Technical Memorandum HTM 2045, the main concern being privacy between adjacent rooms.
General commercial buildings can be particularly challenging, including the recently completed and award-winning Venue Hall of the University of Central Lancashire (photo) which houses live music events and is situated close to residential property. Other recent design projects include The Grange School, Northwich; The Tulip Hotel, Stoke on Trent; The Manchester Treatment Centre and the Maryport Heritage Centre.