Background noise level to determine the speech privacy in open plan offices

Regular paper

Twan Vervoort

Peutz bv

Tuesday 2 june, 2015, 14:40 - 15:00

0.9 Athens (118)

The importance of a high acoustic quality for open plan offices is clear to (acoustic) designers of these offices. The optimal acoustic requirements that can be used as guideline are however subject of discussion. The ISO 3382-3 standard describes several acoustic parameters like the spacial decay rate of speech D2,S and the distraction and privacy distance rD and rP . The ISO desribes how tot determine these single number quantities by measurements and gives examples (Annex A) of what target values can be used. Measurements according to the ISO are in basis done in empty offices. For the STI the background noise from mechanical services is included. In practice however the background noise in open plan offices is also determined by the people in the office. The background sound level (L95) in everyday use caused by people can easily be 10 dB higher than the sound levels due to mechanical services. A measurement of the STI in an occupied office is however not feasible. As desribed in the ISO the STI can be determined by using a simulated background noise from human activities. It is clear that it is important to study on the background noise levels caused by people to determine speech privacy in open plan offices. This level is determined by number of workplaces, the office layout, the occupation rate of the workplaces and the type of work in the office. A study of the activities of the users is required to determine background levels. The percentage of time that a person is typing, walking, talking should be the basis for this calculation. This paper describes how to determine the background noise caused by people and how it influences the speech privacy (STI) values.

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