Acoustics form a key component in the Healthcare sector, with great acoustic environments assisting in promoting a speedier recovery. Alternatively there is now strong evidence that poor acoustics can seriously affect the health and well being of everyone within a poorly designed room or space.
Healthcare encompasses all the different sectors of the NHS and private providers and includes (but is not limited to) hospitals, doctors’ surgeries, dentists, care homes and specialist units. Poor acoustic conditions in almost any space (from consulting rooms through to wards) can have a variety of negative effects. Imagine private conversations heard outside of the consulting rooms, unable to understand the doctor or noisy wards, all these are common when acoustic planning is not followed.
The World Health Organisation states that ‘excessive noise can disturb sleep, cause cardiovascular and psychophysiological effects, reduce performance and provoke annoyance responses and changes in social behaviour’.
Typical effects of poor acoustics in the Healthcare Sector include:
– Increased recovery time
– Loss of privacy
– Poor speech intelligibility
Meeting Healthcare Standards
HTM08-01 explains the minimum requirements for acoustics within the Healthcare sector. A copy can be downloaded from the government website here.
The Health Technical Memorandum (HTM) 08-01 looks at the acoustic requirements and design of health and social care facilities by providing minimum performance levels that need to be met for all aspects of the building including external façade, internal wall construction, internal and external doors and glazing as well as reverberation levels within rooms or spaces.
Approved Document E forms part of the Building Regulations that covers acoustics (Resistance to Sound). Healthcare is not specifically mentioned in Approved Document E but may still be referred to by planning officers. A copy of Approved Document E can be downloaded from the government website here.
Providing acoustic solutions within Healthcare
New builds – Design and modelling advice at the planning stage is essential so that all acoustic elements are included.
Alterations and Extensions – Whilst the existing structure may not need to comply with current standards, any new elements will. We can ensure these elements meet required standards. We can also advise on how acoustics between the existing and new structures may be compromised or improved.
Refurbishment – Where the actual building envelope is not being altered we can provide assistance in improving the rooms or areas to meet required performance levels.
How do we do this?
1. Undertake an Environmental Noise Assessment to ensure the proposed site is suitable.
2. Assess and advise on the building façade including doors and windows to ensure they meet requirements.
3. Provide advice on internal partitions (floors and walls), doors and glazing to ensure correct levels of sound reduction is achieved.
4. Assess internal rooms and spaces for reverberation and provide possible solutions.
5. Provide final testing required for sound insulation and reverberation as well as assistance in ensuring compliance for BREEAM HEA 05 accreditation.
Need to discuss a Healthcare requirement?
For advice and information on how we can assist you, or what you need to consider to meet the requirements.