Good vibrations

With the average person spending an estimated 90% of their time indoors, Sarah Cartwright from Polypipe Building Services says the need to ensure occupier acoustic comfort and noise reduction is now a key priority

An article published by the BBC in 2019 pinpointed how noise in the home can affect an occupant’s mood, an outcome that was further explicated by numerous scientific studies investigating the effects noise has on indoor comfort. Creating a building that reduces noise is therefore crucial to the mental and physical wellbeing of inhabitants. 

Limiting sound transmission

Using a high-rise residential property or luxury hotel as examples, minimising sound transmission will be a top priority due to the high standard of living expected in such projects. An abundance of noise has the power to negatively impact a person’s general health and wellbeing, and compromises the level of indoor comfort they should expect to experience. Such an outcome has become more of an issue with many more people now working from home. Shift workers also suffer when their peace is interrupted by exterior noise disturbances.  

As well as being crucial to dispensing vital services throughout a building, pipework has a role to play in keeping noise levels to a minimum while it carries out its vital service. However, changes to building design have impacted sound levels, with insulation being installed in increasing quantities in order to meet more stringent energy standards. 

This outcome is not without its negative relative impacts. Better-performing insulation reduces a building’s natural noise levels, thus sound generated by building services packages will become more noticeable to the human ear. 

Noise-reducing systems

With a firm eye on the future, some manufacturers are launching systems with noise reducing properties to ensure high-rise residential buildings and the like optimise occupant comfort. 

Easy-to-install push-fit systems with multilayer technology make them ideal for a range of commercial and high-rise residential buildings. When water flows through a pipe, it creates a vibration which can penetrate a wall’s fabric. Compared to airborne noise, which tends to be a shorter sound, structure-borne noise travels further. The industry standard for structure-bourne noise is 30 dB. These noise-reducing systems have been engineered to reduce noise levels to a 20 dB rating.

Human beings spend the majority of their time indoors, meaning buildings have to deliver when it comes to noise reduction. Having an optimum environment such as this keeps everybody happy and ensures a building is well catered for in terms of interior acoustic performance.   

Sarah Cartwright is senior product manager at Polypipe Building Services