Leisure and Entertainment
Leisure & Entertainment can have a wide range of acoustic requirements, this can include assessing patron noise to other noise sensitive receptors, assessing outdoor activity such as play on MUGA or padel/tennis courts, ensuring that a theatre is not disturbed by external noise sources, or that the acoustics of the multiplex or cinema room at home match the requirements of the client and future customers.
Gyms & Fitness Studios
The assessment of gyms and fitness studios in mixed use developments has become something of a speciality at CSA. We have advised on hundreds of sites, often converted office or retail space with similar uses next door, above or below; but also often included as part of a residential development. Some new build residential schemes include a suitable space allocation for a gym use, but without building the neighbour noise implications of the use into the design.
CSA has developed a barrage of pre-let screening tests to establish the suitability of a host building for occupation as a gym or fitness studio. This includes more detailed tests of the natural response frequencies and damping characteristics of the host building which we believe are fundamental to predicting, and mitigating, the noise impact most accurately. In the vast majority of cases this has resulted in a practical fitout solution for the operator to enable them to co-exist with their neighbours. In a vanishingly small number of cases our advice to walk away from a fundamentally untenable situation has at least come early enough to minimise sunk cost.
Noise at work
The EU Physical Agents (Noise) Directive was a game changer when implemented in the UK in April 2006 with a revision of the Noise at Work Regulations which reduced the threshold values by 5dB – a step forward in protecting a greater proportion of exposed employees from noise induced hearing loss, but a massive burden to employers.
Other changes included a more rigorous protocol for applying daily or weekly dose values in certain situations and an overriding limit value ‘at the ear' which takes hearing protection into account.
The ‘music and entertainment' industry, not previously subjected to noise at work scrutiny, are also brought into the assessment regime.
To establish noise exposure levels and identify noise control works required under both the existing and the new requirements, noise at work assessments need to be carried out. These assessments must be carried out by a competent person, as defined in the regulations, of which we have plenty available!
Poor acoustics is a common complaint in modern restaurants and pubs; with current design trends preferring hard, clean surfaces over plush carpets and curtains allowing sound to reverberate around the room creating an unpleasant cacophony of noise. This is exacerbated by the popularity of open plan kitchens and live music.
We embrace the challenge of finding solutions that combine good sound with good looks to create a lively atmosphere in which patrons are still able to enjoy effortless conversation and good quality music.
To conform to local noise regulations and maintain good relations with neighbours, noise emissions from patrons, music and mechanical plant to the surroundings needs to be controlled – Our expertise in noise control can help you here.
Sports including Motorsports
Motorsport is one of our specialist subjects. If we were to go on Mastermind, this is probably the one we’d pick. We have worked on many of the major UK circuits, helping them to manage the inevitable conflict between a very popular established and pretty noisy pastime/sporting endeavour and the amenity of neighbouring residents. We have also looked at smaller scale issues, like motocross and go-kart tracks, having provided expert, impartial advice to operators and regulators alike.
Some of our more recent planning work, with Silverstone for example, has also provided the opportunity to take the longer term and bigger picture view on how motorsports venues might be expected to evolve and develop over the next 20 years.
Cinemas can pose interesting design challenges, which will be thoroughly tested when the venue is opened.
Whether in a leisure development above a tube station or a multiplex next to a nightclub, the balance between specification compliance and construction cost is always the biggest issue for our clients, and therefore our focus of attention.
Clay target shooting
Clay target shooting has become one of CSA's niche specialisms. It is an area in which there is more complexity than perhaps meets the eye. Environmental noise propagation over extended distances is in itself a complex field, with meteorological factors having a greater influence the greater the propagation distance. Add to this the directivity characteristics of the gunshots as a function of frequency, and the different properties of the various shot cartridge options and the difficulties involved with accurate prediction and assessment become apparent. This is the kind of acoustics we really enjoy!
Big Al is totally sick on boarding noise n that. Not sketchy like other experts who’d bail on like even a mini vert. Innit.
Sorry, a quick translation… It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Alan Saunders is the king of skatepark noise assessments.
Distance and screening to residential properties are the two key factors in controlling skatepark noise impact. Alan provided Expert Witness on the landmark Richardson v Devizes Town Council, 2001 case which required development of assessment methods which are now used in Local Authority policy to ensure appropriate siting of facilities. We have advised on a large number of skateparks in recent years on both sides of the ramp!
Defined as ‘rooms for residential purposes’ under the 2003 revision of the Building Regs (Doc.E) sound insulation between rooms now needs to be tested at completion. Hotels generally also have specific requirements with their Brand Standard sometimes differing from the criteria set out in the relevant standards or because of the location i.e. near an airport. We have worked for many of the big names in the business (and quite a few small ones too) giving us a great insight into levels of expectation, and how these are best achieved.
CSA’s experience with high performance building envelopes will mean achieving the desired internal noise levels whilst maintaining an appreciable internal acoustic is neither hit and miss nor having to resort to over-engineering to be sure.
Acoustic environments can be designed and tested, be they recording studios or office buildings, the key factor being suitability for purpose.
This includes the control of building services noise and structural vibration, preferably at the design stage, but often as a trouble shooting exercise. Studio and auditorium designs offer unique challenges, especially in multipurpose installations. Public address and sound reinforcement systems can be specified to augment the unplugged environment.
Auditoria and Performance Spaces
A building is essentially a skin to encapsulate a controllable environment. The internal environment of concert halls/theatres places the highest demands on their buildings, having to provide a wide range of thermal conditions and ventilation scenarios, whilst maintaining the correct acoustic for the planned uses. Historically, music was composed to suit the venue in which it was to be performed. These days, the building is designed to suit intended music, often a range of music and often under very flexible layouts. No other type of project demands closer co-ordination between the architect and structural, building services and acoustic engineering disciplines.
Our consulting staff are highly conversant with the design of buildings ranging from community halls to large lecture theatres and performance spaces and the liaison necessary with the design team to ensure a successful outcome.