Commercial Office Developers - Are you hearing the message?
Any facility manager who has ever had to deal with a myriad of complaints from angry tenants fed up with unacceptable noise levels at their workplaces will no doubt be aware that anecdotally, noise rates as the second highest behind air temperature levels on the list of complaints in offices throughout Australia.
So says Facility Magazine (Feb/Mar 2011) in an interview with Nicholas Tselios, a director of Renzo Tonin & Associates.
Whilst in residential developments there are well-defined standards for builders to adhere to regarding external noise penetration and sound travelling between apartments, developers who construct commercial buildings where a Green Star rating isn't part of the equation have no obligation to implement any acoustic improvements to the structure. Bad luck for the workers!
So the Association of Australian Acoustic Consultants (AAAC) has spent close to three years compiling its own set of acoustic guidelines for commercial buildings. Nicholas, who is the national secretary of the AAAC, says:
"Based on my experience, one of the most common complaints form facility managers is about the noise levels from the AC unit in a conference room. Sure enough, there's often a massive AC unit behind the standard cupboard doors with no soundproofing or insulation.
Apart from a poor location choice, there's been no thought about the noise it will create. It's too expensive to relocate and there's only so much noise suppression we can recommend. There will never be a perfect solution.
If we had been involved earlier in such cases, we would have recommended locating the unit elsewhere where the noise wouldn't be an issue."