Good acoustics are essential for effective learning whether at primary, secondary, Further Education or Higher Education stages.
Requirement E4 of Approved Document E of the Building Regulations states that each room or other space in a school building shall be designed and constructed in such a way that it has the acoustic conditions and the insulation against disturbance by noise appropriate to its intended use. It refers to Building Bulletin 93 (BB93) where schools are required to be designed to the standards given in the document. BB93 is a comprehensive document where specialist support is needed to meet requirements.
Environoise Consulting Limited has successfully completed many education acoustics projects as specialist consultants for classroom acoustics and university acoustics alike. Exceptional learning environments have been achieved due to our extensive knowledge and experience of BB93. Environoise Consulting Limited has successfully completed many education acoustics projects as specialist consultants for classroom acoustics and university acoustics alike. Exceptional learning environments have been achieved due to our extensive knowledge and experience of BB93.
The ‘Essex Study’ has shown that the level of reverberation within a teaching space is closely associated with good learning environments and pupil achievement. Conversely poor room acoustics could have a detrimental effect on a child’s learning environment. Therefore, early design input into acoustics of school buildings is critical.
We help architects, designers, and developers deliver classroom acoustics that is conducive to learning from feasibility through to completion. There are many factors that can assist the design of a school such as:
• External noise ingress from road, rail and air traffic and consideration of façade design and means of ventilation.
• Airborne and impact sound insulation performance between teaching spaces and other areas.
• Reverberation within teaching spaces for better speech intelligibility between teacher and student.
• Detailed internal modelling of complex shaped and open-plan spaces.
• Rooms specifically designed for music and performance.
• SEND acoustics for classrooms.
• Noise and vibration from external plant.
• Noise from internal equipment including window actuators.
• Electroacoustic ‘soundfield’ systems for good classroom acoustics.
Through years of experience working on both frameworks for primary, secondary and SEND schools, we can assist. For commissioning, we follow the test method given in the ANC Good Practice Guide. We have the acoustics capability whether a single-story primary school extension or a phased secondary school with temporary buildings.
There is no mandatory requirement in Building Regulations for acoustic testing although this is normally specified for contractual purposes or to obtain BREEAM credits including for further education acoustics.
Building Bulletin 93 (BB93) does apply for further education facilities but only if associated with a school. BB93 states how the acoustic specifications and regulations for schools are desirable for university acoustics but are not compulsory. This means that designers can use those specifications as a guide to optimise university acoustics.
This means that many older Universities may have been constructed with little consideration for any form of education acoustics. And with typically larger volume spaces such as lecture theatres, these can result in higher reverberation times and thus lower speech intelligibility making communication more of a challenge.
A well-designed acoustic space is conducive to learning so should boost exam results and ultimately the credibility of the college. Early design input from Environoise Consulting achieves this within budget constraints.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
BB93 is a set of guidelines in the UK that outlines the requirements for acoustics for school buildings. It emphasises appropriate acoustics conditions in classrooms and other learning spaces. This helps in enhancing learning development without any hindrances.
To demonstrate compliance, the following needs to be submitted:
- a comprehensive set of plans
- construction details
- material specifications and
- calculations to the Building Control Body
The aim of Building Bulletin 93 (BB93) is to provide a comprehensive guide for architects, building control bodies, mechanical and service engineers, and others involved in the design of new school buildings.
No. Acoustic testing is not mandatory for Building Regulations but is often specified in contracts or for obtaining BREEAM credits. We conduct classroom acoustic testing as per the ANC Good Practice Guide. This helps us ensure that designed spaces meet the necessary acoustic requirements.
Environoise can help you with:
- Acoustic design reports
- Modelling of outdoor noise
- Noise impact on outdoor spaces including multi-use games areas (MUGA)
- Internal modelling of reverberation time and speech intelligibility
- Accredited sound insulation testing, measurement of internal noise and reverberation commissioning.
Yes, we understand that SEND spaces demand special attention to create a supportive learning atmosphere. Early-stage consideration of SEND in education acoustics promotes focus, reduces distractions, and enhances overall engagement, fostering an inclusive and conducive learning experience for all students including SEND.