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New guide to the Measurement of Sound Levels in Buildings

We chaired the group within the Association of Noise Consultants (ANC) that has produced the new guide to Measurement of Sound Levels in Buildings. This replaces the two former ANC publications covering measurement of noise in buildings from internal or external sources, but is fundamentally different. It’s freely available.

The new Measurement of Sound in Buildings contains a new, simple method for the measurement of sound levels; ht method is intended to be used by people who are familiar with acoustic measurement equipment, calibration, and acoustic terminology. The simple method is intended to provide sufficient guidance so that two consultants would take the same range of measurements, leading to the same results when faced with the same task. There are references to more detailed measurement methods, that inevitably take more time to carry out, as described in the table below.

ANC GPG: Acoustic Testing of Schools2015ANC Good Practice Guide: Acoustic Testing of Schools, V2, Nov 2015
BS EN ISO 100522004Survey grade method for measurement of sound levels from service equipment
BS EN ISO 160322004Engineering grade method for measurement of sound levels from service equipment
Swedish guide to application of ISO 10052 & 160322015Swedish guidance on the application of ISO 16032 and 10052 in situations where the service sound level is neither static nor controllable
Measurement of low frequency noise in rooms2011Finnish Institute of Occupational Health. Offers more detailed guidance where frequencies between 20 – 200 Hz are significant
BS EN ISO 16283-32016Field measurement method of façade sound insulation using traffic noise as an external sound source
NF S31-1992016French standard for acoustics in open-plan offices, including Annex D (informative), Minimum requirements for measuring LAeq during an activity.

You may have thought that the concept of measuring the sound level (or “noise level” as previously described) in a building should have been well explored by now, but it may be surprising how many different considerations there may be, depending on the purpose of the measurement. For example, is the need to characterise the sound level in a room in general, or at one particular position? Most people will understand that the sound level will vary across a room, depending where the source of sound is; but people with less experience in acoustics may not appreciate that low frequency sounds are likely to behave very differently from high frequency sounds.

The new guide encourages the practitioner to consider the purpose for the measurement of the sound level. Reference is made to a selection of international guidance on methods for measuring sound levels in buildings, and there is a healthy bibliography for those wanting to dig deeper into intricacies of measurements.

Download the new guide to the Measurement of Sound Levels in buildings from the Association of Noise Consultants‘ website.

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