When you approach acoustic consultants to sort out the noise/vibration/acoustics issues in your new or existing building, you must have heard them spell out their strategies to solve the same. One of the strategies that agencies all over the world use is a noise survey. You must have heard your acoustic consultant speak to you about the same. Have you wondered about this? If you thought this was a jargon beyond the level of your understanding, it is time to wear your thinking cap on. Some simple concepts behind these noise surveys are mentioned below so that they help you broaden your understanding. When you know exactly what these surveys are, you will be less prone to exploitations from unscrupulous acoustic agencies.
What are noise surveys?
These surveys are where experts examine all the areas in your residential/commercial establishment and identify areas that are prone to noise and vibration issues. The noise emanating from these areas is then compared to the permissible noise levels of that particular country. In the UK, the impact of noise produced in your building is analysed against the levels mentioned by the British Standards and World Health Organisation. These organisations have certain limitations of noise impact for different areas like bedrooms, living rooms, entertainment zones, industrial establishments, residential complexes and the like. So the noise that your building creates is measured against the appropriate benchmark.
You must have heard your acoustic consultants using the terms Sound Pressure Levels (SPLs) and Pascal (Pa). These are nothing but units of noise measurement. SPLs in dbA are measured by a sound level metre to identify the noise produced in a particular area. Pa is the unit used to denote the highest sound pressure level.
Many types of sound metres are used while doing a noise survey. They are described below:
Direct reading metres – Also known as the Sound Level Metre, this is a simple device that displays the level of sound created in a particular place on its screen. You can carry this device along to various places and note down the sounds created there for further analysis and assessment.
Integrated reading metres – As the name suggests, this is an instrument which shows you integrated sound levels for a particular period. In simple terms, this metre is used to measure the average sound level for a particular period, so that fluctuations can be noted easily and assessed accordingly.
Personal Sound Exposure Metre (PSEM) – In some cases, different employees in an industry are exposed to different noise levels in a day. Therefore, it is important to know how much of sound each person receives to know if he is at a risk of hearing loss or other problems. This is achieved by making these workers wear PSEMs so that the sound is recorded automatically. Reports are then drawn based on these measurements to decide on future courses of action. Ensure that you choose an expert acoustic consultancy agency to conduct these surveys so that your establishment remains noise and vibration-free at all times.