Acoustic Design Advice for Schools | BB93
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.