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Sound Advice for Quieter Student Living

Today’s student accommodation developments can be noisy environments; it can mess up sleep, add to stress levels, infringe on privacy, and generally compromise our quality of life. Trying to achieve a high acoustic performance throughout a building where there are light weight walls and floors, coupled with open social break out spaces is a task that needs to be right first time. Cellecta’s ScreedBoard® Manager Richard Hillman offers some sound advice on achieving high acoustic performance.

 

As developers and clients are more frequently choosing ‘modern methods’ of construction, such as off-site and modular building, the need to get the acoustic specification’s right has become more important than ever. When designing these types of mixed use multi occupancy living, there are actually a lot of factors that need to be considered at the planning stages to ensure the design brief is actually met.

 

Achieving a high acoustic performance

Remember – the minimum requirements under Part E of the building regulations really is a minimum! Most complaints made about noise issues can occur in properties where they only just scrapped passes through onsite Pre-Completion testing. Always look to design for at least a 5dB improvement on the minimal values set out in part E as a safety factor, for effective levels of sound proofing and also to allow for any workmanship issues during installation.

 

Even if your scheme doesn’t qualify under the Robust Detail’s scheme, you should still look to adopt these tried and tested construction methods in to your designs. They have been rigorously tested on many projects before gaining RDL compliance, and have to achieve a mean performance of 5dB better than the minimum requirements under Part E. Adopting commonly used details such as E-FT-5 (Timber frame) and E-FS-3 (light gauge steel frame) will help to speed up the design process in the knowledge that either system gives you peace of mind in your materials choice.

 

Program

With fast build projects, choosing materials that are not necessarily the cheapest but offer the best value to the whole build process will prove to be invaluable to meeting tight build programs. Most new student accommodation project’s will look to install high quality vinyl floor finishes, and these cannot be laid to a 50mm screeded floor until at least 50 days after it has been installed and allowed to adequately dry out.

 

Floor finishes

By its very nature, student accommodation needs a hard wearing, robust acoustic flooring build up to deal with everyday life in a halls of residence! Also, multiple floor finishes such as vinyl, ceramic tiles, laminate flooring & carpets could potentially need to be installed on top of the acoustic floor. Always seek advice from the relevant product manufacturers to ensure the materials are both compatible and have been tested together before. Expensive additional floor preparation such as over laying a chipboard faced acoustic floor with plywood and flexible levelling compounds before laying floor finishes such as vinyl tiles can sometimes add substantial additional costs to individual packages to also create further time delays on site.

 

Location of the project

Restricted site access can be a factor on university campuses and city centre developments. Would it be best to select solutions that can be stored on site easily and be accessed as and when it’s required? Timed deliveries and poor site locations & access really don’t mix well! An example of this might be a failed flowing screed delivery that typically needs to be installed within hours of leaving the production plant.

 

What are your environmental targets?

There are several products within the market place that can be considered, but only one dry screed treatment board product that is manufactured from 100% recycled content, a significant benefit for Architects and specifiers aiming to achieve maximum BREEAM points.

 

Onsite

Some companies will allow you to call-off the product when you require it, others will deliver the complete job – it’s worth asking as you may have little room for large pallets. Once at the site easy to handle 1200mm x 600mm boards are ideal for storage and distribution around the site just under 20kg per sheet it’s a one-man lift compared to the flowing screed which typically needs to be installed within hours of leaving the production plant.

 

Cellecta’s acoustic and thermal insulation products have been designed and rigorously tested to be suitable for various applications including floors, walls, roofs, basements and swimming pools. Wherever you require acoustic or thermal insulation Cellecta’s acclaimed technical team can help satisfy the requirements of your project with a cost effective, high performance solution. Specified and installed throughout the UK, Cellecta’s acoustic and thermal insulation range is highly regarded by specifiers, house builders and installers.