Incorporate strategic planning and mitigation required to prevent general issues of acoustical disturbance from both externally and internally generated noise.
With increasing architectural trends toward open office collaboration, use of lightweight materials in construction, exposed slab finishes and mechanical equipment, the acoustical comfort in a space is more likely to become compromised unless treatment is considered. When noise from internal activity or external sources increases the background noise level in a space, occupants become susceptible to distraction, thus reducing productivity and memory retention and increasing stress levels. Specifically, in office environments, employees care about privacy and the ability to collaborate. In one study from the UK, 99% of employees reported that their concentration was impaired by poor acoustical comfort in the workplace. This is shown to be an ever growing problem worldwide in open office environments. In some instances, it has been shown that occupants are less likely to help others under high noise conditions, which may have an impact on collaboration in the workplace.
In addressing internally generated noise, floor plans should be designed with intent and use in mind. For example, the typical office environment has been classified via four key groups in order to identify the relationship between worker satisfaction and office programming: spaces for focus, collaboration, socialization and learning. The locations of these spaces matter, as noise from social or collaborative spaces impacts the use of a space intended for focused work or learning comprehension. However, this approach is not limited to office environments. This same strategy can be implemented in any space type that incorporates spaces of socialization and recreation in tandem with areas of task-centric, focused work or learning. The sonic environments of these spaces are described below as loud, quiet and mixed spaces in order to easily indicate the potential for noise from loud spaces to impact more sensitive, quiet locations for focused work, learning or amenity.
Manage Background Noise Level
Projects meet at least one of the following requirements to address background noise levels:
An architectural drawing is provided that indicates the projected background noise level (dBA or NC) attributable to HVAC equipment noise, external noise intrusion or a similar source (e.g., a floor plan is color-coded to indicate dBA levels between regularly occupied spaces or across façade elements).
A professional narrative is provided that indicates the measured background noise level (dBA or NC) attributable to HVAC equipment noise, external noise intrusion or a similar source in each space as denoted in Feature S02: Maximum Noise Levels.
Manage Acoustical Privacy
Projects meet at least one of the following requirements to address acoustical privacy:
An architectural drawing is provided that indicates the projected acoustical performance of typical walls that separate regularly occupied spaces throughout the project (e.g., STC/Rw, NIC/Dw or equivalent sound transmission metrics denoted on a partition schedule from an architectural drawing set).
A professional narrative is provided that indicates the measured level of acoustical privacy between regularly occupied spaces or within open workspace environments (e.g., NIC/Dw (or equivalent) or SPP data across partitions).
Label Acoustic Zones
The following zones are identified and labeled on the project floor plan:
Loud zones: includes areas intended for appliances, mechanical equipment or amenities (e.g., kitchens, fitness rooms, social spaces, recreational rooms).
Quiet zones: includes areas intended for focused work, wellness, rest, study and/or privacy.
Mixed zones: includes areas intended for learning, collaboration and/or presentation.
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