Acoustics in schools
It is generally recognised that, for a good teaching and learning environment in schools, good acoustic conditions are necessary.
Too often the visual impact of the school is the dominant concern of the designer and too little attention is paid to the acoustical performance of the rooms. Poor acoustic conditions can affect the young peoples’ cognitive processes and academic performance, and makes the teacher’s role increasingly stressful and demanding.
ISVR Consulting has visited many schools, both refurbished and new, in which the acoustics have been very poor. This is surprising since there is guidance from the former Department of Education and Skills (now the Department for Children, Schools and Families) in Building Bulletin 93. In some areas, speech intelligibility is very poor because of excessive reverberation. Sound transmission between teaching spaces is often too high because of open-plan designs and the use of lightweight materials. These conditions are especially problematic for special needs children who need low ambient noise levels to be able to hear and understand.
Making improvements in existing situations is costly but attention to detail at the design stage can be very beneficial.
As a result of its many years of practical experience ISVR Consulting can assist architects and educational authorities to make cost-effective improvements to schools that will give years of benefit to pupils and teachers. In addition, ISVR Consulting is ANC registered for sound insulation testing and it is able to undertake the necessary tests and assessments to check compliance with the airborne noise requirements of the Building Regulations.