A fundamental part of the learning process is the ability for students to be able to hear the teacher/lecturer. Acoustics is therefore an important aspect of the learning environment, whether that is in a school, college or university. The government published a performance document, Building Bulletin 93 (BB93) Acoustic Design of Schools, in 2003 to aid the design and construction of new education buildings.
BB93 is part of the Building Regulations and provides acoustic performance specifications to be met for new build, newly converted or extended school building. Sound insulation between rooms, ambient noise levels within teaching rooms, and reverberation times within rooms must all meet specific criteria depending on the intended use of the room and adjacent rooms. The standard is compulsory for schools, but is also used for other educational buildings as a set of design targets.
The main aim of the regulations is to ensure that those trying to teach and learn are, at the very least, not hindered by the acoustics of the building, and at best the building is actually enhancing the learning experience. Whilst the future of BB93 is currently under consideration, acoustic performance standards are seen as vital to providing an effective education system.
In addition to the acoustic requirements contained within Building Regulations, the BREEAM Education accreditation scheme contains acoustic requirements. Hea 13 and Pol 8 of BREEAM 2008, or Hea 5 and Pol 5 of BREEAM 2011 specify acoustic requirements to obtain credits.
Hepworth Acoustics has worked on a wide range of education projects. For further information on sample projects, click here.