An acoustic consultant should always be included in the design team for new higher education buildings.
Acoustic design reports and/or specifications should be provided by the consultant at various design stages, with the design criteria for reverberation and noise control clearly articulated for each space type. In certain circumstances models may be developed to predict reverberation and investigate if acoustic anomalies are likely to be present.
The acoustic consultant should:
- review the design and ‘for construction’ drawings of the mechanical services at the shop drawing stage, and prior to installation on site
- advise the architect on required acoustic performance, as well as possible surface finishes and construction methods
- coordinate with the electroacoustic consultant or AV designer to determine the impacts of likely sound systems on physical design
Prior to completion of the project, testing should occur to validate the acoustic performance of selected rooms against the design criteria. It is important to ensure that performance verification for background noise and reverb time is clearly defined in the scope of the acoustic consultant. Where electro-acoustic modelling is required, validation of performance criteria should also be included.
An acoustic consultant is equally valuable on refurbishment projects to assess both the existing conditions and the planned modifications to each of the spaces. Especially in heritage buildings, where a good acoustic consultant can help the architect to develop acoustic treatments that complement the existing architecture.
Where an architect is not used on minor refurbishments, a suitably experienced AV consultant could perform measurements in line with the organisation’s design criteria to ascertain if there are likely to be any issues which require rectification or amelioration prior to commencement of other works. These measurements will also be helpful in guiding the electroacoustic design.
The consultant should also pay particular attention to mechanical services and hydraulic noise when evaluating the space so the organisation can consider the need for any remedial work.