There are several important factors that influence why acoustics should be considered the 2 that have the greatest impact of fitouts would have to be:
Most surfaces, including wall, floors and ceilings are made up of flat, hard surfaces that are excellent at reflecting sound. This activity creates disruption and causes too much echo and reverberation causing an irritating experience. Occupants may have difficulty in effectively hearing or understanding conversation or they may simply experience the discomfort associated with sound reverberation.
Modern construction is often lightweight and even low level sound is easily transferred from one space to another. In many situations acoustic solutions may be required to prevent this sound transference, whether it be between adjoining spaces or between floors within a building.
Experience is especially important in hospitality fitouts, where many users may occupy a space at one time often causing a lot of interference and an uncomfortable setting, this situation is to the detriment of both customers and ultimately the business owners when the customer experience is so bad they choose not to return. Privacy is also important in these public settings. We’ve all had that experience when you’re sitting in a café and you can clearly hear the conversation of the patrons a few table over.
Privacy generally is considered in relation to sensitive spaces such as psychology or doctors clinics but it is can also very important in everyday office fitouts where some level of discretion is required. User experience also needs to be considered in theses semiprivate situations, everyone wants to feel that their information is protected and in shared office spaces sound reverberation needs to be minimised to reduce interference with productivity.
How can soundproofing be implemented to improve acoustic quality?
Two room treatment tools can be used to improve sound perception: sound absorption and diffusion. Sound absorption can be achieved by applying absorptive panels of fibrous material to flat surfaces of a room in order to reduce bouncing energy. Adding diffusion, such as, curved or angled surfaces, help to retain enough energy in a room to make sound more natural while spreading out reflected energy. It can give the impression of a larger space.
1. Experience – improving user experience is most commonly achieved through the considered application of sound absorbing material.
2. Privacy – this is a harder solution to achieve and is best considered during the design or construction process. As the construction of walls, floors and doors can be specifically modified to produce a sound proof result.
Can sound acoustic solutions be retrofitted?
Yes there are solutions that can be retrofitted for both enhancement of experience and user privacy.
1. Experience - is a relatively easy fix with a myriad of decorative products on the market for application to ceiling, wall, floor, furniture and even light fixtures.
2. Privacy - now this is a harder fix, acoustic blow-in solutions can be installed into wall and ceiling cavities, requiring minor patch and repair to walls. In addition to this doors and glazing can be changed to gain a higher acoustic rating. While 100% privacy cannot be guaranteed with these solutions they will vastly improve sound transference. The addition of absorbent materials with in the space will also aid in dampening the sound so there isn’t as much to transfer in the first place.