Acoustics in schools – the impact of BB93

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LizMarie on Flickr

LizMarie on Flickr

Building Bulletin 93 is concerned with the acoustic design of schools.

It aims to:
• provide a regulatory framework for the acoustic design of schools in support of the Building Regulations
• give supporting advice and recommendations for planning and design of schools
• provide a comprehensive guide for architects, acousticians, building control officers, building services engineers, clients, and others involved in the design of new school buildings.

It applies to all new school buildings built since 2003 in England and Wales.

You can download it here.

The National Deaf Children’s Society has recently produced a report, based on Freedom of Information requests to 70 local authorities, looking at whether new schools are complying with the regulations.

• Too many local authorities are not bothering to test buildings to ensure compliance.
• Where acoustic testing is carried out, over half of local authorities have schools that failed.
• Overall, only 21% of local authorities could tell us with certainty that new schools in their area met government standards and are fit for their intended use. Only 11% met the standard without resorting to ‘alternative performance standards’.

School Noise Control provides a good introduction to the subject:
1. Why is the acoustical design of a classroom so important?
2. What does research show about noise, listening, and learning?
3. What is background noise?
4. What is reverberation?

Case studies
1. Acoustic ceiling panels as part of a remedial project in St Olave’s concert hall, York.
2. An underscreed isolation system to minimise the transfer of sound between floors at Priory Community School, Western-super-Mare.
3. Multipurpose insulation with sound dampening properties that reduces the penetration of external (road) noise, as well as the transfer of sound generated within classrooms and corridors. Golden Lane Campus, Islington.
4. Acoustic wall panels at the Cork School of Music.

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