Office Acoustics Categories
Shell and Core
Shell and Core describes the building envelope or the outer frame of the buildings such as roof, external walls and glazing. Externally, the building appears complete, but internally building services have yet to be installed often no internal walls built leaving a blank canvas for future tenants.
Category A Fit-out
Unlike Shell and Core, Category A fit-out typically includes the installation of mechanical and electrical services, raised access floors, suspended ceilings and internal walls. However, carpeted floors and a lay-in grid ceiling system would not yet be installed.
Category B Fit-out
Category B fit-out describes a finished office building including cellular offices, meeting rooms and surface finishes often tailored to the requirements of the new occupier, for example, company colour-coded carpets and glazing with company logos etc.
Office acoustic solutions are important as the level of fit-out affects the scope of acoustics in offices that are needed.
For example, for Category B fit-out, it is important that walls or floors are not compromised by flanking noise transmission through poor detailing or workmanship.
Acoustic criteria needs to be clearly defined at the start of the project, particularly given the breadth of applicable standards such as BS8233:2014 ‘Guidance on sound insulation and noise reduction for buildings’, Building Council for Offices (BCO) 2019 ‘Guide to Specification’, BCO 2011 ‘Guide to Fit Out’ and the American WELL Building Standard being applied to many UK projects. The WELL document focuses on significantly reducing the most common sources of physiological disruption, distraction and irritation by enhancing acoustic, ergonomic, olfactory and thermal comfort to prevent stress and injury and facilitate comfort, productivity and well-being.
Often specialist acoustic modelling is required to assess suitable finishes and screening of noise propagation.
In summary, for good office acoustics, it is important that you have an experienced and trusted acoustic consultancy from the start.
Environoise has substantial experience in office noise surveys and building acoustic testing with developments from modest to major tower block buildings and masterplans.
Frequently Asked Questions
Acoustics in offices refers to the way sound behaves in a particular environment. In an office setting, poor acoustics can lead to a range of issues, including:
- Noise distractions – Loud conversations, ringing phones, and other sources of noise can be distracting and disruptive affecting staff concentration.
- Speech privacy in offices - it can be challenging to hold private conversations without being overheard by others if Open-plan office acoustics is not considered.
- Reduced productivity – Studies have shown that excessive noise can reduce productivity and increase errors.
- Employee wellbeing – Unwanted noise can also lead to stress, fatigue, and other negative health outcomes.
Open-plan office acoustics pose unique challenges, like managing reverberant noise levels and increasing Speech privacy in offices whilst maintaining speech intelligibility within work groups or ‘zones’. We design office acoustic solutions that address these challenges through:
- office noise surveys;
- sound absorptive treatment;
- control of noise from building services
- partition layout, and;
- assessment of work zone or working clusters.
We specialize in tailoring office acoustic solutions to understand the unique requirements of occupiers, including incorporating elements like company-coloured carpets and glazing with logos. We essentially balance the aesthetic preferences of the occupiers with effective acoustic treatments. This helps us create a customized and comfortable workspace.
Environoise has substantial experience in the acoustic industry. We address the diverse needs of office developments. Whether it's a modest office space or a major tower block building, our expert acoustic specialists ensure a tailored approach, emphasizing comfort, productivity, and well-being, regardless of project scale.
There is no one standard for office acoustic solutions but there may be an overriding criterion dictated by employers requirements (ERs) and even then often other criteria is considered so acoustics in offices is fully considered.
In Category A fit-out offices, raised access floors and suspended ceilings play a significant role in managing the level of reverberation so open-plan office acoustics are addressed. In addition. It can mean building services are and power ppoints are hidden but flexible to the needs of the environment. Proper integration of these elements is crucial for effective office acoustic solutions.