Specifications grow for ‘high acoustically rated’ moveable walls
Acoustic performance is becoming the number one priority for the specification of moveable walls, as flexible space becomes the norm in the new build and refurb sector.
According to Mike Fine, director for Style Midlands, architects expect reassurance that the acoustic moveable walls they are specifying have manufacturer approved ratings, and that their clients will suffer minimal noise disruption when the wall is in situ.
It comes at a time when employees are being encouraged back into the workplace, and educational establishments, hotels, conference centres, local authorities, sports and leisure clubs, and meeting venues are also all seeking flexible room space within their buildings.
“Modern day moveable walls can deliver exceptional acoustic barriers,” said Mike, “and at Style we are installing operable walls with ratings up to 59dB, which is very close to a soundproofed solution.
“As with our recent installation at Coalville Leisure centre, a high quality moveable wall will successfully separate a fitness class from a dance studio, both playing music, with neither session disturbing the other – particularly with semi and fully automatic systems where the acoustic seals apply to the perfect pressure every time.
“However, when choosing a moveable wall it’s important to recognise that there can be variances that affect an R’ rating (the R ‘apostrophe’ being the “in situ” rating) compared to a product’s lab tested R rating, which is done in a controlled environment.
“This is because, in reality, a final installation will rarely replicate the conditions of a lab test due to the potential for flanking, which is where sound can travel around a moveable wall due to gaps in the walls, ceiling or floor.
“At Style, we not only install the very highest quality moveable walls thanks to our exclusive UK partnerships with Dorma Huppe, Skyfold and SWG, we also always survey the room to assess where flanking may occur and seek ways to minimise it, which optimises the final acoustic performance when in use.
“This can include detailing in the site plans where action could be taken to minimise flanking, or recommending absorptive treatment to improve acoustics within the room.
“It is our philosophy that by having open dialogue as early as possible about the factors that are likely to create performance variance, and how we can take action to overcome these, lays the foundations for extremely strong and long lasting relationships with our customers.
“It also means we can deal with any issues that could impact upon acoustics, which regularly results in us exceeding client’s expectations.”