Defining the acoustic environment of (semi-)open plan offices subtitle: Acoustic measurements leading to activity based design for retrofit buildings
M+P consulting engineers
Tuesday 2 june, 2015, 14:20 - 14:40
0.9 Athens (118)
Working in an office environment includes many different activities. Communication on the phone, social interaction and meetings produce not only sound, but are also in need of a good speech intelligibility and therefore in need of good room acoustics. Difficult performance tasks are in need of different acoustic conditions. Areas with a more silent environment is needed with a minimised level of distraction from surrounding activities and combined with areas with a high level of interaction for the purpose of teamwork. Because the different activities are in need of specific acoustic conditions, the existing acoustic environment is first being defined before creating a new office environment in an existing retrofit building. Before creating a new Activity Based Design in retrofit buildings the existing acoustic environment is being carefully measured. Not only the acoustical qualities of the existing building and facilities are being measured (according to NEN 5077 for sound insulation, ISO 3382 for room acoustics and ISO 3382-3:2012 for room acoustics in open plan offices). As a very important input for defining the acoustic environment the actual behaviour of people is being measured as well. During a representative week of working hours, the sound levels are being measured on different locations in the open plan office. To gather information about the character of the sound, sound fragments are as well being recorded based on a trigger level. Defining the acoustic environment of (semi-)open plan offices based on building measurements and noise level measurements gives a good starting point for redesigning a diversity of office environments. Often the new design leads to activity based office plans, where carefully the different activities are projected in a (semi-) open plan office. This will be illustrated with several practical projects of engineering.
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