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Acoustic Design Advice for Schools | BB93 Acoustics

Acoustic design for schools

The acoustic design of schools is perceived as so important, it is included under Requirement E4 of the Building Regulations.  For both new and material change of use buildings. 

Research shows that extreme noise and poor acoustics can have a harmful effect on pupils learning.  As well as on teachers’ vocal health.  Therefore, the acoustic design of schools is essential for effective teaching and learning.   

More stringent acoustic standards can apply for pupils in special groups.  Such as, those with impaired hearing and additional leaning needs.  

Colleges, universities, higher and further education 

Building Regulations E4 does not apply to colleges, universities, higher and further education buildings. However, as highlighted in the acoustic design for schools’ research. Acoustics are vital for effective teaching and learning. 

When will I need to seek acoustic design guidance? 

You will need to seek acoustic design guidance at the outline project stage.  It is important that all parties involved in the project are aware of the acoustic implications. By involving us from the start we will give advice on the design all the way through to construction. To ensure that the best acoustic solution is achieved.  

What we will provide 

We will provide you with detailed acoustic guidance. In accordance with the Department for Education Acoustic Design of Schools, Building Bulletin 93 (BB93). 

The guidance will include: 

  • Indoor ambient noise levels in unoccupied spaces 
  • Airborne sound insulation between spaces. 
  • Airborne sound insulation between circulation spaces and other spaces used by students. 
  • Impact sound insulation of floors. 
  • Reverberation in teaching and study spaces. 
  • Reverberation and acoustic absorption in sports halls and swimming pools. 
  • Sound absorption in corridors and stairwells. 
  • Open plan teaching and learning. 

Testing and validation 

There is no requirement in Building Regulations for acoustic commissioning of schools. However, the process is strongly recommended to demonstrate the project has achieved its acoustic design. Testing is often a requirement as part of client or contractual obligations. Or, if the scheme is to be assessed against BREEAM New Construction technical manual for non-domestic buildings. 

SSC can provide testing and validation services for school buildings following the Association of Noise Consultants publication ‘Good Practice Guide – Acoustic Testing of Schools’. A testing programme should be agreed prior to attempting (which should ideally exist prior to construction). 

  • Sound Insulation (UKAS accredited to BS EN ISO 140-4 and BS EN ISO 140-7 at any customer site*). 
  • Indoor ambient noise levels in unoccupied spaces. 
  • Reverberation time. 

*SSC is seeking to include both BB93 and ISO 16283 Parts 1 and 2 within its UKAS scope by September 2019. This does not exclude SSC providing accredited measurements of schools for indoor ambient noise level, reverberation time or sound insulation under its current scope. 

In the event of a failure to meet the project’s acoustic criteria, consultancy advice can be provided to achieve a suitable design standard. 

Why work with us?

  • Established since 2004
  • Friendly, Professional & Knowledgeable Consultants
  • Competitive Pricing & High-Quality Services
  • Same Day Results on Sound Testing Available*
  • Free Advice for Sound Test Failures**
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  • UKAS Accredited
  • Nationwide Service
  • Members of the Institute of Acoustics (IOA)
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* Depends on suitable contract size and payment terms. Call for more details.** Excludes written advice or revisits.

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I spoke to you last Friday, Thank you very much for your advice and spending your valuable time. I am pleased with your quality because you are not a person who crushes the client with making things up for business, you are a person who looks after clients well ethical manner by giving correct and best possible advice even it does not earn financial value for you. I wish you wealthy and health better successful future ahead.


I just wanted to say a huge thank you to you and your team for all the extra help you have given me in dealing with my rather sensitive issue of noise transmission to my downstairs neighbour. It has been invaluable. In recognition, I have made a £50 donation to the charity: Action on Hearing Loss.

Jodi Riches - Client

Have worked with Sound Solution for the last 7 years and have found them to be very professional and excellent at their work. Always happy to provide me with advice pre and post purchasing new buildings and during development projects. We have worked on various scale of projects and so far have found nothing that phases them. The reports are well written, clear and easy to follow. A great asset to our extended team.

Sanjeev Bhamm, Pelham Associates

We are delighted to work with SCC Ltd in resolving the ever more complex requirements for careful acoustic design. Their knowledge coupled with a helpful approach assists us in delivering tailored solutions which fit within our design constraints.

Chris Parsons, Parsons Whittley

We have been working with Sound Solutions for a few years now, as they offer a professional and consistent service. They are always happy to respond to site-based questions and are quick to reply to emails and phone calls. It is reassuring to our clients that they provide both the specification prior to construction and test on completion.

Ben Harvey - Architect, Liam Russell Architects

We have worked with Mark and the team at Sound Solutions for many years and have always been very happy with their professional service and first-rate advice. I have personally recommended them to many other clients.