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Sound Intensity

Sound intensity is measured in Decibels (dB). This is a logarithmic scale in which an increase of 10 dB gives an apparent doubling of loudness.

Sound pitch is measured in Hertz (Hz), the standard unit for the measurement for frequency. The audible range of sound for humans is typically from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz, although, through ageing and exposure to loud sounds the upper limit will generally decrease.

Sound Transmissions

Sound transmission paths can be interrupted by sound insulation and by blocking air paths. The sound insulation of a single leaf of a material is governed by its mass, stiffening and damping.

The sound insulation across a good conventional, lightweight, office to office construction is typically in the order of 45 dB Dw. This means that if the sound level in the source room is around 65 dB, (a typical level for speech) the sound level in the adjacent room, the receiver room, will be approximately 20 dB (barely audible). If sound levels are increased in the source room however, to 75 dB (raised voice), sound levels within the adjacent room will also increase to around 30 dB (audible). Sound insulation therefore describes the level of sound lost across a partition and not the level of sound within an adjacent room.

Dw represents the sound insulation between rooms on-site. Rw represents the lab tested sound insulation of an element making up a partition wall/floor type. Standards achieved in labs may not be possible on site because of the quality of workmanship and due to sound ‘flanking’ acoustic elements, that is, travelling around them through an easier path, rather than only directly through them as under lab conditions.

The building regulations part E sets minimum standards for design and construction in relation to the resistance to the passage of sound.

Point of Reference

Points of Reference *measured in dBA or decibels:

  • 0 The softest sound a person can hear with normal hearing
  • 10 normal breathing
  • 20 whispering at 5 feet
  • 30 soft whisper
  • 50 rainfall
  • 60 normal conversation
  • 110 shouting in ear
  • 120 thunder

Environmental Noise Levels

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the maximum exposure time at 85 dBA is eight hours.

At 110 dBA, the maximum exposure time is one minute and 29 seconds. If you must be exposed to noise, it is recommended that you limit the exposure time and/or wear hearing protection.

A three dBA increase doubles the amount of noise, and halves the recommended amount of exposure time.

E2 Specialist Consultants
July 22 at 5:05pm
One of our office-based consultants is hard at work on the SBEM calculation for a commercial new build in Bristol, Avon. You can get yourself an SBEM quote from our website: https://www.e2consultants.co.uk/Get-A-Quote/SBEM_Calculations

E2 Consultants Delivering compliance solutions for Architects & Developers    Head Office E2 HOUSE, South Park Way, Wakefield 41 Business Park, WF2 0XJ    Questions? Call: 0800 043 8100

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