Experts address ‘unseen’ threat to wellbeing in modern buildings

A masterclass focused on the effects of noise on health – and its impact on construction – took place at London’s Business Design Centre last week. Hosted by Quiet Mark, the event featured a series of TED-style talks given by experts including Arup, and Saint-Gobain Ecophon, interior design expert and TV presenter Oliver Heath, and Enfield Speciality Doors.

The masterclass was to launch Quiet Mark’s Acoustics Academy - an online portal (at https://www.quietmark.com/building/building-sector) to equip architects, builders and designers with a comprehensive guide to acoustics and the solutions available.

The talks highlighted the increasing evidence of how noise affects mental and physical health. “The World Health Organisation cites noise as the second biggest environmental issue after air pollution and 62% of consumers say they would like their home to be quieter,” states Quiet Mark CEO Poppy Szkiler.

The speakers discussed how a better understanding of the effects of noise is pushing acoustics up the agenda for many in the built environment sector. “But there’s still work to do to ensure acoustics becomes as important a consideration as safety, aesthetics, and even lighting in building design,” says Chairman of Enfield Speciality Doors Nigel Sill, one of the keynote speakers. Enfield Speciality Doors manufactures bespoke acoustic, security, X-ray, and fire doors for a wide range of commercial and residential properties.

Nigel highlighted the challenges of different applications for acoustic doors and some of Enfield’s prestige projects, including Abbey Road Studios, the Alan Turing research centre at the University of Manchester, and the Colyer-Fergusson Music Building in the University of Kent.

Quiet Mark is the international approval award programme associated with the UK Noise Abatement Society, which promotes noise reduction in product design - and Enfield’s timber acoustic doors have been certified through the scheme since 2014.

Nigel continues: “It’s hugely encouraging to see the work that is being done in the challenging world of acoustics by academics, architects and designers, and manufacturers. Events like this and knowledge hubs like the Acoustics Academy will continue to promote the acoustics agenda and encourage education on this crucial, but often overlooked, aspect of building design.”

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