023 BP 1016

BP 10 October 2016

DOORS & WINDOWS WAR ON NOISE Unwanted and intrusive noise is impacting on more and more lives; especially as pressure to build homes on brownfield sites is remorseless. Chris Coxon considers the issue in the context of doors and windows. It seems that the issue of noise, and how to OCTOBER 2016 | BUILDING PRODUCTS 23 deal with it in new housing developments, is becoming a more complex one. Planning policy and the demand for city centre locations means that brownfield sites which were once considered unattractive are now under development. Apartment blocks may be surrounded by a number of different noise sources – roads, railway lines, flight paths – which means that the requirements for noise attenuation becoming more challenging. Furthermore, they may vary from one elevation to another or from one level of the building to another. Acoustic engineers must also take into account the life patterns of those who will inhabit the building. Whereas traditionally, noise attenuation measures might have been applied to living areas but not bedrooms – as traffic noise tends to be far less at night – those who work shifts such as key workers will need quieter bedrooms too. Noise has emerged as a leading environmental nuisance in the WHO European Region, and the public complains about excessive noise more and more often. It is an underestimated threat that can cause a number of physical and mental health problems; and affect the amenity enjoyment of home, the community and our open spaces. In January 2015, the Government published the findings of the National Noise Attitude Survey 2012. The most significant sources of noise are somewhat obvious – road traffic, noisy neighbours, aircraft and airports and noise from building and construction. Unsurprisingly, these four sources have been the main focus for complaint for many years now and, although the proportion of the population encountering these noise sources has not changed greatly, there has been significant increase in those “bothered, annoyed or disturbed” by it. New sources of disturbance include wind farms and solitary turbines. The headline statistic was that 48% of people felt their “home life is spoilt to some extent by noise”. For instance, during 2015, 5,573 people made noise complaints, totalling over 100,000, to the Heathrow Airport Community Relations team. Over 2,800 people complained once, 448 people complained three times and 17 people complained more than 1,280 times! The WHO guidelines for community noise recommend less than 30 A-weighted decibels (dB(A)) in bedrooms during the night for a sleep of good quality and less than 35 dB(A) in classrooms to allow good teaching and learning conditions. The WHO guidelines for night noise recommend less than 40 dB(A) of annual average (Lnight) outside of bedrooms to prevent adverse health effects from night noise. (Lnight is the equivalent continuous noise level over the nighttime period (23:00 to 07:00)). While it is unfortunate that walls or floors effective in screening out airborne and environmental sound may be less so in the face of impact noise, and so require different considerations; mass, when it comes to masonry, is key to achieving attenuation success. Obviously, Approved Document E of the Building Regulations 2010 devotes significant attention to testing, and construction detailing of various wall types. However, and as it implicitly acknowledges, Acoustic engineers must take into account the life patterns of those who will inhabit a building


BP 10 October 2016
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