Acoustic control within buildings can be a complex area traditionally involving either specialist consultants or a purely subjective approach. However, higher density living and the growth in noise sources today have increased awareness and driven measures to reduce problems resulting from noise pollution. In particular, Part E of the Building Regulations 2010 includes quantifiable acoustic performance levels to ensure reasonable conditions in a wider range of residential buildings. Although not regulated, the best approach to non-residential building types should also be considered along similar lines. The effects of acoustic privacy and nuisance noise are subjective and influenced by background noise within the room, distance from sound source and general context, amongst others. When considering walls containing doors, the combined performance of both elements may be relevant: with the proportion of door to wall being particularly important.
Acoustics in schools
Acoustic conditions in schools are now covered by the 2003 edition of Building Regulations Part E. Approved Document Part E simply states that: the normal way of satisfying Requirement E4 will be to meet the values given in Building Bulletin 93. This requirement now applies to independent as well as LEA maintained schools. BB 93: 2003 'Acoustic Design of Schools' recommends a structured approach to acoustic design at each stage, including specification of the acoustic performance of doors at the detailed design stage and submission of this information for Building Control approval. It applies to teaching and learning spaces but consideration needs to be given to adjoining areas such as corridors with doors or glazing separating them from neighbouring learning spaces. Levels of airborne sound insulation for any doorset in a wall between circulation spaces and other spaces used by students are specified as follows:
Type of teaching pace used by students
All other spaces
GE Door Manufacturing can offer acoustic rated doorsets up to 45 RwdB, and all appropriate seals are pre fitted. The configuration (single doors, double doors and over panels) will all have an impact on the maximum sound attenuation possible. Doorsets above 35 RwdB become increasingly specialised with more design restraints. With careful design we can balance the usability of the doorset with a suitable acoustic rating for the likely environmental noise level.