Ten steps to consider in achieving acoustic comfort in the contemporary office
This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.
1. Work patterns: Identify the balance of concentration and interaction among the workers in the office to help create zones.
Reference PBS’s Workplace Solutions Library (WSL) which has a survey to determine this.
2. Speech Privacy: Identify the level of privacy required for the work based on the work patterns in the WSL.
3. Behavioral change: support behavioral adaptations with mobile technologies, multiple work spaces, and policy.
4. Behavioral protocols: develop protocols with the participation of the subject work group, aimed at reducing distractions and appropriate use of space use.
5. Zoning: After determining the work patterns, (see #1 above, under “Behavior”), develop a layout strategy which will locate incompatible functions apart from each other. Locate conference and focus rooms convenient for interactive workers to “duck into” and to act as barriers between various work patterns. Consider elements such as file banks to further separate incompatible functions.
6. Planning: Carefully consider the effect on neighboring workstations when locating supporting activities such as copier rooms, coffee bars and entries to conference rooms where a queue could be anticipated – adjacent to large conference rooms, for instance.
7. Furniture: Select furniture which complies with LEED NC credits EQ. 8.1 and 8.2 to obtain 1 or 2 LEED credits.
The low partitions required will achieve the desired access to natural light and view while allowing occupants to be aware of other nearby workers.
Work station partition is in front of the worker when seated at the desk, the noise reduction coefficient (NRC) of the partition should be .07 so that speech is not reflected backward when the worker seated at his or her desk speaks. Where possible, the layout should locate the desks so that workers will not be speaking directly “at” each other.
8. Sound Absorbing Ceilings and Walls: Specify ceilings having a minimum NRC of 0.9 in open plan office areas and NRC 0.8 in meeting rooms and training facilities. In conference, meeting and training facilities, provide absorptive panels on 25% of walls
with a minimum NRC of 0.8.
9. Sound Masking Systems: Specify sound masking systems, particularly in open plan office areas. See page 42 for information
regarding sound masking systems.
10. Walls: Specify Sound Rated Wall Constructions as follows:
STC 53 minimum to isolate video conference and training rooms.
STC 45 minimum to separate conference rooms and executive office areas requiring confidential speech privacy.
STC 40 minimum to separate private offices required in normal speech privacy.