Judging a moveable partitioning wall’s acoustic performance by its lab tested Rw rating can be misleading, and could result in dissatisfaction once installed.
That’s the warning from Mike Fine, Style Partitions’ director for the Midlands, who says that an operable wall’s effectiveness at creating a sound barrier when closed can only be achieved by assessing the room it is intended for.
“The harsh reality is that a final installation will rarely replicate the conditions of a lab test, because in a controlled environment there is one test product and no flanking,” explains Mike.
“Architects, specifiers, contractors and end-user clients should therefore treat the Rw lab test as not only an essential requirement but also an indication of potential performance, and a way of evaluating one product over another, but should always assess the room to determine a likely R’w rating; R‘w apostrophe’ being the in situ rating.”
According to Mike, getting the best out of a moveable partitioning wall is as much to do with professionalism as it is to do with the product.
“For any project we are specified on, we will offer objective, qualified and transparent advice regarding the potential acoustic performance,” continued Mike. “This is done by surveying the room to assess where flanking may occur and its severity. Flanking is difficult to quantify prior to completion and determination of flanking requires a series of in-situ sound tests. However our experts can offer extremely valuable guidance pre-installation.
“We will also consider the overall quality and robustness of surrounding walls, ceiling and floors, including their construction, materials and age so that we can offer clear advice as to the final quality of the acoustics. Consideration will also be given to the addition of any absorptive treatment to improve acoustics within the room.”
A great recent example of acoustic effectiveness is at Style’s 100th installation of Skyfold at Telefonica Digital head offices in central London.
Skyfold not only delivers the wow-factor aesthetically and operationally, its acoustic qualities are exceptional too – up to Rw56dB. At an event to celebrate this 100th installation, Style showed a room full of architects and contractors how they could enjoy almost complete privacy, even when a relatively noisy activity is taking place directly on the other side.
“This impressive level of acoustic performance is not only achieved thanks to product quality. It’s also about Style’s careful attention to detail at the planning and installation phases,” said Mike. “At Telefonica, we ensured that services running through the ceiling cavity didn’t interfere with the acoustic barrier, and delivered an outstanding solution as a result.”
For more information, or acoustics advice, please contact your nearest Style regional office.