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Noise > Building Acoustics > School Acoustics BB93 Maily UK Interest

There are five main issues with the acoustics of a school,

  1. the reverberation time in rooms (a measure of how "live" or "dead" a space is acoustically)
  2. the acoustic separation or sound insulation between rooms.
  3. the acoustic separation of external (non-school) noise from internal spaces.
  4. noise generated by rainfall on the roof.
  5. the acoustic separation of internal noise (boilers fans etc) from internal rooms. 

Building Bulletin 93 "Acoustic Design of Schools" dealing with all the above and can be read elsewhere.   It should also be noted that the Building Regulations now include schools, i.e. new schools or extensions need to comply with BB93 for Building Regulations approval.

Some supplementary information is reported below.

"Acoustics in School Music Rooms"

In the early 1980's the GLC Scientific Services carried out a large survey of school practice rooms in the ILEA area. The results were reported in the London Environmental Bulletin. The main conclusions were

  • the most important aspect of a good environment in music rooms is the elimination of intrusive background noise. This includes noise from feet and chairs, unwanted noise from instruments in the room and noise from outside the room.
  • no school music room with a long reverberation time, i.e. 1.4 seconds or greater, was found to have satisfactory acoustics the spectrum of the RTs must be considered.
  • If the RTs at high frequencies are longer than those at low frequencies, the room is likely to sound harsh and noisy;

The recommendations for school music rooms were as follows

1. All music rooms should have fitted carpets to provide absorption and muffle the sound of feet and chairs...

2. The RT of music rooms should be approximately 1 second, with part of this absorption derived from carpeting. Where carpet is fitted, high frequencies should be absorbed efficiently, otherwise care must be taken to include a material which will absorb high frequencies. If a carpet is not fitted, the RT should be made shorter than 1 second.

3. When designing, children should not be included in RT calculations.

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