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Ask the Expert: Rising above the noise in office buildings

The acoustic design of an office should be in keeping with the activities of its users – but this is often not the case.

Feature in partnership with

Forbo Flooring Systems

31/03/2020

3 min read

Poor acoustics in a working environment can have a negative impact on workers’ ability to retain vital information, affecting concentration levels, productivity and work quality

The choice of interior building solutions can certainly have a major impact in creating spaces that influence employees’ health and wellbeing.

As businesses grow and the demand for commercial office spaces soar, major cities are building upwards rather than outwards as high-rise office buildings are proving to be the solution for places where land is limited. Whether a company operates within a few rooms, over several floors or occupies a whole building, for interior designers when it comes to designing office spaces within multi-storey structures, it is essential that acoustic impact is carefully considered.

With the sheer number of individuals and businesses working under the same roof in a high-rise office building, the clatter of footsteps, movement of furniture and other sound generating activities being carried out can make a significant contribution to noise pollution both within a room, between neighbouring rooms and of course, transmitted to the spaces below. Indeed, the effect of high noise levels in the workplace has been well researched with studies showing that poor acoustics in a working environment can have a negative impact on workers’ ability to retain vital information, affecting concentration levels, productivity and work quality.

Product innovation has led to the development of specialist floor coverings that have the ability to mitigate sound transmission from room to room and floor to floor

Ideally, the acoustic design of an office should be in keeping with the activities of its users but this is often not the case, as it has been found that a typical UK office generates sound levels of 54 dB or more, which is above the recommended 45 dB. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has suggested that excessive noise harms human health and interferes with people’s daily activities, therefore getting the acoustic comfort right within high-rise office buildings is critical.

The choice of interior building solutions can certainly have a major impact in creating spaces that influence employees’ health and wellbeing. The flooring is the largest surface area within the office building and can play a fundamental role in acoustic design. Product innovation has led to the development of specialist floor coverings that have the ability to mitigate sound transmission from room to room and floor to floor, which is crucial in allowing designers to create more comfortable environments for those working in a high-rise office building.

While there are various products on the market that offer acoustic qualities, luxury vinyl tiles are upping the ante and are proving popular within the commercial office sector. Not only do their outstanding aesthetics provide convincing, authentic visuals with a unique identity and very natural look and feel to allow the creation of striking flooring schemes but now, there are even LVT options on the market that offer high levels of acoustic performance too, which can help to minimise noise.

Setting new standards in acoustic LVT, Forbo’s new Allura Decibel range has been developed to offer 19 dB impact sound reduction, without compromising on aesthetics or ease of installation. The new acoustic collection consists of 30 tile and plank formats in a balanced colour palette of wood, stone and concrete designs, combining beautiful floor design with high acoustic properties and outstanding residual indentation performance.

Designed by Forbo’s in-house team of passionate creators and manufactured in Europe by Forbo, the Allura Decibel collection is 100% phthalate free flooring, resulting in low indoor emissions. The new range is particularly suitable for multi-occupancy buildings, such as high-rise office buildings, where noise pollution and the well-being of occupants is of vital consideration.

For more information on Forbo’s new Allura Decibel collection, please visit
www.forbo-flooring.co.uk/alluradecibel

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