Paul Barrett, Product Manager at ROCKWOOL® Ltd looks at acoustic issues in educational buildings and explains how selecting the right insulation can help contractors meet best practice requirements and deliver additional cost saving and fire safety advantages.
Acoustics in educational buildings matter. It’s imperative that ambient noise is kept as low as possible to minimise intrusion and distraction in these environments. It’s no surprise that studies consistently show that quieter classrooms and workplaces achieve better results. Unfortunately, a large number of schools in the UK suffer from poor acoustics.
The most serious issues are caused by flanking transfer, where the noise is transmitted indirectly via paths such as external wall cavities, voids above partitions and internal corridors, or where there are problems of excessive reverberation within the rooms themselves.
For contractors responsible for renovating existing or constructing new buildings, achieving the highest standards of acoustic performance is a clear objective.
In these projects, it’s important to focus on the key areas: dampening sound reverberation; preventing noise affecting other rooms; reducing the noise from outside, including wind, rain, hail, traffic, etc; and, minimising noise pollution from heating, cooling and ventilation systems, and other equipment within the space.
The existing guidance, Building Bulletin 93 (BB93)1 “Acoustic Design of Schools”, initially published in 2003 and updated in 2015, offers a clear regulatory framework for the acoustic design of schools in support or the Building Regulations.
The acoustic conditions in schools are controlled by Part E of the Building Regulations2, School Premises Regulations and the Independent School Standards, which apply to new and existing schools.
Building Regulations Requirement E43 states that, “Each room or other space in a school building shall be designed and constructed in such a way that it has the acoustic conditions and the insulation against disturbance by noise appropriate to its normal use.” The School Premises Regulations and Independent School Standards applies to both new and existing school buildings and contain a similar statement to that in Requirement E4 of the Building Regulations: “The acoustic conditions and sound insulation of each room or other space must be suitable, having regard to the nature of the activities which normally take place therein.”
Stone Wool Insulation
In meeting these acoustic requirements, the choice of insulation material will have a major impact. Stone wool insulation is renowned for its excellent acoustic properties. The insulation’s open fibrous structure makes it ideal for absorbing and regulating noise in the building for the lifetime of the property.
It is also incredibly versatile, with products and systems available to suit a wide variety of building applications. These include metal and standing seam, flat, green and pitched roofs; ground, exposed and separating floors; internal partitions and separating walls; fire protection and fire stopping; HVAC and masonry cavity walls.
Fully tested to meet the rigorous demands of today’s legislation, stone wool insulation solutions are proven to reduce ambient, impact and reverberation noise in educational buildings.
The HARDROCK® Multi-Fix Recovery Board has been specifically designed to simplify the repair and refurbishment of flat roof systems. Offering exceptional durability, combined with excellent dimensional stability, the 30mm board provides optimum thermal, fire and acoustic properties.
Engineered to last for the lifetime of the roof system, the HARDROCK® Multi-Fix Recovery Board is currently one of the only stone wool/mineral roof board that offers compatibility with common membranes, including torch applied bitumen, GRP, liquid waterproofing, single ply and EPDM.
Ideal for educational buildings, the Recovery Board can be installed onto existing roofs to absorb uneven surfaces, providing a higher quality, smooth flat finish. Incredibly lightweight, the product is easy to cut, shape and install, without compromising on the performance of the roof system. It can be applied using either adhesive or mechanical fixings, and provides a strong bond between the membrane and insulation, thanks to an integral mineral glass fibre fleece.
The Recovery Board has been tested to achieve an A1 Euroclass fire classification, providing a natural fire barrier that can reduce the spread of fire. Capable of achieving a lambda value of 0.039 W/mK the product contributes to increased thermal performance by reducing heat loss through the roof system and lowering energy bills.
As well as providing excellent thermal and fire resistance, the HARDROCK® Multi-Fix Recovery Board features additional acoustic benefits that will reduce unwanted noise pollution, including road traffic and impact noise, which can occur during heavy rainfall. This improved acoustic management will support a better, quieter, and healthier living or working environment.
Tested in accordance with BS EN ISO 10140, the product is proven to improve the acoustic performance of an existing flat roof system by up to 47% (dependent on membrane type).