School Acoustics

Building Bulletin 93 (Acoustic Design of Schools) provides a comprehensive guide for architects, building control bodies, building services engineers and others involved in the design of new or refurbished school buildings.

The most important acoustic criteria in spaces used for education is speech intelligibility. This is affected by a combination of the ambient noise level and the level of reverberation in the space. Consequently, when considering the acoustic design of school buildings these are two very important parameters to take into account. Ambient noise in the space may be caused by external noise, from noise from adjacent space or from plant or building services. Careful design and consideration is required therefore to ensure that noise from these extraneous sources is controlled.

The reverberation and general acoustic quality of the space is controlled by the amount of absorbent material in the space. This may take the form of acoustic ceilings and wall linings and soft furnishings such as curtains and carpets etc. It is also important to control reflections within the space. A reflection from the ceiling may be helpful as it provides natural sound reinforcement to pupils who sit towards to the rear of the classroom. Reflections from the rear wall, however, are not helpful as they can become muddled with the direct sound field and cause a reduction in speech intelligibility. As a result the location of absorbing elements is very important.

24 Acoustics have considerable experience in assisting design teams to optimise the acoustic design of education buildings.

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