ENVIRONMENTAL NOISE

   INFORMATION   

Environmental Noise (and Vibration) can over a multitude of areas, from Complaints and Compliance to Impact Assessments and Modelling.
The definition of 'noise' as 'unwanted sound' implies that the tolerance of an activity can depend on the perspective - one person's 'sound' is another person's noise in other words.
There are also some potentially significant health effects associated with long-term exposure to elevated noise levels.
 
Often environmental noise is a comparison of baseline conditions with the noise level of the activity in question e.g. impact assessment for new developments. Various national and international guidance assist the acoustician in a balanced assessment, however, while every effort is made for objective evaluation, there is often scope for interpretation.

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Nuisance





Industrial Impact Assessment


BS 4142: This British Standard is frequently requested and used widely throughout the United Kingdom for environmental noise assessments. The main purpose is to assess the likelihood of complaints arising from industrial noise impinging on existing or proposed residential developments. Local authorities will often request an environmental noise survey be performed in compliance with the parameters outlined in this British Standard.




Transportation





References


https://www.science.org.au/curious/earth-environment/health-effects-environmental-noise-pollution




References


IWEA 2019 annual report. Wind Energy Development Guidelines (WEDG06) Draft Wind Energy Development Guidelines (2019) Institute of Acoustics Good Practice Guides DCCAE: Department of Communication, Climate Change, and Environment's website has information on the future role for wind energy in Ireland and the new Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS). Structural Health Monitoring




Health Effects


Exposure to prolonged or excessive noise has been shown to cause a range of health problems ranging from stress, poor concentration, productivity losses in the workplace, and communication difficulties and fatigue from lack of sleep, to more serious issues such as cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment, tinnitus and hearing loss. In 2011 the World Health Organization (WHO) released a report titled ‘Burden of disease from environmental noise’. This study collated data from various large-scale epidemiological studies of environmental noise in Western Europe, collected over a 10-year period. The studies analysed environmental noise from planes, trains and vehicles, as well as other city sources, and then looked at links to health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, sleep disturbance, tinnitus, cognitive impairment in children, and annoyance. The WHO team used the information to calculate the disability-adjusted life-years or DALYs—basically the healthy years of life―lost to ‘unwanted’ human-induced dissonance. Their results might surprise you. They found that at least one million healthy years of life are lost each year in Europe alone due to noise pollution (and this figure does not include noise from industrial workplaces). The authors concluded that ‘there is overwhelming evidence that exposure to environmental noise has adverse effects on the health of the population’ and ranked traffic noise second among environmental threats to public health (the first being air pollution). The authors also noted that while other forms of pollution are decreasing, noise pollution is increasing. Interestingly, it may be the sounds we aren’t even aware we’re hearing that are affecting us the most, in particular, those we ‘hear’ when we’re asleep. The human ear is extremely sensitive, and it never rests. So even when you sleep your ears are working, picking up and transmitting sounds that are filtered and interpreted by different parts of the brain. It’s a permanently open auditory channel. So, although you may not be aware of it, background noises of traffic, aircraft or music coming from a neighbour are still being processed, and your body is reacting to them in different ways via the nerves that travel to all parts of the body and the hormones released by the brain. The most obvious is interrupted sleep, with its flow-on effects of tiredness, impaired memory and creativity, impaired judgement and weakened psychomotor skills. Research has shown that people living near airports or busy roads have a higher incidence of headaches, take more sleeping pills and sedatives, are more prone to minor accidents, and are more likely to seek psychiatric treatment. But there is another, more serious outcome. Even if you don’t wake up, it appears that continual noise sets off the body’s acute stress response, which raises blood pressure and heart rate, potentially mobilising a state of hyperarousal. It is this response that can lead to cardiovascular disease and other health issues. A study undertaken by Dr Orfeu Buxton, a sleep expert at Harvard University, monitored the brain activity of healthy volunteers, who were played 10-second sound clips of different types of noise as they slept. The brainwaves of volunteers were found to spike in jagged, wake-like patterns of neural activity when each clip was played. This particular study was focusing on noises heard in a hospital environment—including talking, phones ringing, doors closing, machinery, toilets flushing, and city traffic, among others—but many of the sounds tested are ones we would also hear in an urban environment. Sound is an important and valuable part of everyday life. But when sound becomes noise, it can negatively affect our mental and physical health. The realities of modern life mean the noises created in our world are not going to suddenly fall silent. Instead, we need to recognise that noise pollution is a serious health concern worthy of our attention, and find realistic and sustainable ways to manage and reduce it—starting with banning those rubbish truck pickups in the middle of the night!




Construction


A construction noise assessment will likely be requested by your local authority during the planning stages of a new project, and will usually be performed in compliance with BS 5228. The main aim of a construction noise survey is to obtain an informed understanding of the likely levels of both noise and vibration arising from any proposed construction project. Noise and vibration may be excessive both in terms of the amount of noise that they generate, and the duration of proposed activities. Additionally, further monitoring of the project is often requested to ensure that the levels of noise do not fall outside of anticipated levels, or that hours of work (and therefore noise) do not occur outside of those specified by the construction noise assessment.What is BS 5228?This British Standard provides details concerning mitigation of noise and vibration arising from construction projects, ensuring they do not negatively impact on surrounding areas. Construction noise assessments may be requested by a planning permission or environmental health officer, to be certain that any proposed activities are acceptable under Section 61 of the Control of Pollution Act. The likelihood of receiving complaints from proposed activities is addressed under Section 60 of this legislation.




Commercial & Leisure


Sports and community areas need to have quality acoustics to help individuals feel safe and secure. Conversely, it is also important for sports and community areas not to significantly impact on the surrounding areas and local noise-sensitive receptors.Potential sources of such undesirable noise could come from installations such as hockey or football fields, community centres or gymnasiums. The ground borne vibrations caused by free weights being dropped on the floors of commercial gyms can also require input of a qualified acoustic consultant. Entertainment noise surveys help to ensure that due consideration is being given to those who may be negatively impacted outside of the venue or event. Some common examples of nuisance noise sources within the entertainment sector can include excessively loud music and amplified speech. What is an entertainment noise survey? The primary aim of an entertainment noise survey is to ensure that your temporary event, entertainment premises or place of worship does not impact negatively on surrounding or residents through excessive noise emissions. What differentiates an entertainment noise survey from a general noise impact assessment is the parts of the sound (or frequencies) that are analysed by our engineers. This is because most clients will probably be at risk of being troubled by the low frequency sounds. Low frequencies (or ‘low pitches’) these are usually found within music and amplified noises that are typical of venues requiring an entertainment noise survey.




Wind Turbines





Residential & Architectural


BS 8233: This British Standard may be used in the context of an environmental noise survey to ensure that specified internal noise levels are achieved in existing, new or proposed residential developments. Although other aspects of an office, such as layout and decoration, usually take the forefront when thinking of design, the importance of quality office acoustics is becoming increasingly understood for its highly positive effects on employees. Office acoustics should be ideally considered at an early stage in planning, to avoid common problems associated with poorly conceived offices. Problematic office acoustic issues can include, poor sound isolation and speech intelligibility, or even disruptive building service noise. The aim of a noise survey is to gain a baseline measurement of the noise environment within the vicinity of your proposed development. Once the noise environment has been defined, the potential noise impact on residential dwellings can be assessed. The level of noise impact is analysed according to British Standards and World Health Organisation guidelines to ensure the future occupants will not be adversely affected by noise. These standards provide guidance on acceptable levels of noise impact on developments, as well as noise thresholds that should be achieved for bedrooms, living rooms and external areas. We will provide a technical noise survey report analysing your proposed development, ensuring you will meet the necessary acoustic requirements. Residential noise survey reports include advice on the layout and orientation of the proposed dwellings, acoustic fencing/shielding and a detailed sound insulation scheme for the dwellings (including facade, roof, glazing and ventilation specifications). Soundproofing to ensure you meet the requirements of Part E of the Building Regulations should not be seen as an arduous task. Achieving good soundproofing between houses and flats is essential for our growing cities, nobody wants to hear their neighbours through a poorly soundproofed wall or hear the flat above you walking to and fro. Poor Sound Insulation is an issue that plagues many houses both small and large, through the development of noisy hobbies such as gaming systems, drum kits or food processors, or simply poorly soundproofed properties. A lot of homeowners aren’t aware of the sound insulation requirements of Part E of the Building Regulations and further to this most won’t necessarily understand the importance of Sound Testing to show compliance with the regulations. Soundproofing to achieve compliance with Part E, should not be just about ‘Passing’ because if you ‘Just Pass’ or have a ‘Marginal Pass’ this means the property passes the required test but has poor soundproofing. This will have a knock-on effect for the owner renting the property for an extended period or the purchaser feeling they have purchased their dream home. NOVA Acoustics Ltd deals with builders, architects, developers and specifiers on a day to day basis and the challenges behind soundproofing are very apparent. This series of articles aims to provide a baseline of knowledge for those suffering from a noise issue or designing or engineering a solution to a noise issue. What is Approved Document E? This document was last published in 2015 and deals with sound insulation. More specifically, it is concerned with the resistance within a property to the passage of sound. It gives advice on the requirements for sound insulation in both new dwellings and dwellings that have been converted from other types of building. The scope of the document covers sound reduction between different rooms in residential terms as well as specific rooms in a dwelling. Acoustic conditions for common spaces in schools or flats are also covered too. What specific areas is guidance given for in Approved Document E? This document is made up of a total of 9 different sections. The areas they cover include: Section 0: Performance Section 1: Pre-completion testing Section 2: Separating Walls and associated flanking constructions for new buildings Section 3: Separating floors and associated flanking constructions for new buildings Section 4: Dwelling-houses and flats formed by material change of use Section 5: Internal walls and floors for new buildings
Section 6: Rooms for residential purposes Section 7: Reverberation in the common internal parts of buildings containing flats or rooms for residential purposes Section 8: Acoustic conditions in schools




Offices


Benefits of Good Room Acoustics Boosting concentration – everyone has experienced the difficulties of trying to complete a task with unwanted noise intruding on your working environment. Quality building acoustics can help in properly controlling this nuisance and ensuring that minds are free to stay on task. Improving communication – room acoustics are the foundation of effective communication. It’s not just unwanted, loud noise that makes conversations inaudible or difficult to follow, other factors such as an excessive number of hard surfaces can seriously impede speech intelligibility, meaning communication can suffer. Increasing comfort – the idea of holding a conversation at a comfortable level is familiar to everyone, but few people realise that the chances of achieving this can be significantly improved with the proper building acoustics. Increased comfort is also conducive to enhanced communication and increased levels of concentration. Improving productivity – although a bustling, noisy environment is what many people associate with productivity, too much noise can seriously hamper output. This is as true of office spaces and factories alike. Achieving optimal room acoustics goes hand in hand with keep productiveness at high levels. Ensuring privacy – in some instances, it is important that conversations and information are kept confidential. Quality building acoustics that help to maintain privacy are crucial for management and those working within healthcare or other information-sensitive environments. Ensuring audio-visual equipment works – companies will spend lots of money on the latest and greatest video and tele-conferencing equipment. All the while, many are oblivious to the fact that this equipment is the first to suffer from poor room acoustics. Ensuring that building acoustics are up to scratch is an extremely simple and cost-effective way of getting the most out of all those costly gadgets. Although other aspects of an office, such as layout and decoration, usually take the forefront when thinking of design, the importance of quality office acoustics is becoming increasingly understood for its highly positive effects on employees. Office acoustics should be ideally considered at an early stage in planning, to avoid common problems associated with poorly conceived offices. Problematic office acoustic issues can include, poor sound isolation and speech intelligibility, or even disruptive building service noise. The aim of a noise survey is to gain a baseline measurement of the noise environment within the vicinity of your proposed development. Once the noise environment has been defined, the potential noise impact on residential dwellings can be assessed. The level of noise impact is analysed according to British Standards and World Health Organisation guidelines to ensure the future occupants will not be adversely affected by noise. These standards provide guidance on acceptable levels of noise impact on developments, as well as noise thresholds that should be achieved for bedrooms, living rooms and external areas. We will provide a technical noise survey report analysing your proposed development, ensuring you will meet the necessary acoustic requirements. Residential noise survey reports include advice on the layout and orientation of the proposed dwellings, acoustic fencing/shielding and a detailed sound insulation scheme for the dwellings (including facade, roof, glazing and ventilation specifications). Soundproofing to ensure you meet the requirements of Part E of the Building Regulations should not be seen as an arduous task. Achieving good soundproofing between houses and flats is essential for our growing cities, nobody wants to hear their neighbours through a poorly soundproofed wall or hear the flat above you walking to and fro. Poor Sound Insulation is an issue that plagues many houses both small and large, through the development of noisy hobbies such as gaming systems, drum kits or food processors, or simply poorly soundproofed properties. A lot of homeowners aren’t aware of the sound insulation requirements of Part E of the Building Regulations and further to this most won’t necessarily understand the importance of Sound Testing to show compliance with the regulations. Soundproofing to achieve compliance with Part E, should not be just about ‘Passing’ because if you ‘Just Pass’ or have a ‘Marginal Pass’ this means the property passes the required test but has poor soundproofing. This will have a knock-on effect for the owner renting the property for an extended period or the purchaser feeling they have purchased their dream home. NOVA Acoustics Ltd deals with builders, architects, developers and specifiers on a day to day basis and the challenges behind soundproofing are very apparent. This series of articles aims to provide a baseline of knowledge for those suffering from a noise issue or designing or engineering a solution to a noise issue. What is Approved Document E? This document was last published in 2015 and deals with sound insulation. More specifically, it is concerned with the resistance within a property to the passage of sound. It gives advice on the requirements for sound insulation in both new dwellings and dwellings that have been converted from other types of building. The scope of the document covers sound reduction between different rooms in residential terms as well as specific rooms in a dwelling. Acoustic conditions for common spaces in schools or flats are also covered too. What specific areas is guidance given for in Approved Document E? This document is made up of a total of 9 different sections. The areas they cover include: Section 0: Performance Section 1: Pre-completion testing Section 2: Separating Walls and associated flanking constructions for new buildings Section 3: Separating floors and associated flanking constructions for new buildings Section 4: Dwelling-houses and flats formed by material change of use Section 5: Internal walls and floors for new buildings
Section 6: Rooms for residential purposes Section 7: Reverberation in the common internal parts of buildings containing flats or rooms for residential purposes Section 8: Acoustic conditions in schools





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