One of the biggest trends in workplace design has been the rise on open-plan office layouts. In the January 2016 issue of SpecFinish magazine, John Newbury (British Gypsum’s senior project manager) stated that 54 per cent of the UK workplaces are now open plan. The trend is supportive to collaborative working but the lack of walls, cubicles and the presence of hard surfaces and uncarpeted floors can lead to excessive background noise and reverberation resulting in a negative impact upon employees’ concentration and productivity as well as their emotional well being.
According to the Department of the Environment, a typical office generates more than 54dB(A), significantly above the recommended 45dB(A). So what can be done? at office design stage the specifiers should consider the intended function of areas so that appropriate acoustic systems can be installed. These may include the absorption quality of ceiling systems, ceiling raft systems or wall panel systems to help absorb and control sound within the space. Certain areas may need to be zoned for group discussions with solutions that will minimise reverberation and promote speech intelligibility, whereas board rooms or counselling areas may require additional sound insulation to ensure privacy or confidentiality.
Soundguard Acoustics Ltd has worked on a range of open plan office projects as well as school buildings, hospital treatment rooms, dining halls, production spaces and community halls. If your open plan project has the potential to cause a problem, or if you need to ensure confidentiality between spaces then let us assist with your design. Contact us: info@soundguard.co.uk or T: 0845 653 0233
Image: Installing ceiling rafts to control end of build reverberation at Pilton Community School – project design by Soundguard Acosutics Ltd – see article