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Acoustical Challenges: We can Fix It by Keith Peterson


would like to focus this edition of Acoustics at Large on getting back to the basics. Being a CISCA member, your business has to do with installing, manufacturing, or selling interior systems that are usually acoustical in nature. It is also safe to say that the majority of them are designed to absorb sound, with a few exceptions. That being said the types of acoustical solutions we offer are interior acoustical treatments. Often times these systems are specified through the help of a representative by an architect or acoustician.

Acoust i we can cal Challeng es fix: 1. R oom intel s with p lig o rever ibility du or speec b. Th h e to class is t room could e oo much gymn ncom s, ch a cafe siums, r urches, pass e teria s, m staurant usic s 2. O room , pen o s . f fic spee ch p e plans rivac w area. y fro ith poo r m ar ea to 3. P erfo r liste mance a ning nd c rit sp treat ment aces ne ical eding s.



In these cases the contractor really does not have much input on the acoustical performance of the material, as it is part of the specification. However, there are times when we are all called on to solve noise problems. When we are called upon to provide a solution without an architect or engineer it is important to understand what types of noise problems we can and can’t provide a solution for. Understanding this is critical. It can ultimately save you from installing the wrong product and the resulting consequences. It can also help you quickly qualify a potential opportunity over the phone before you waste valuable time going to a site that you can’t help. Here is a list of noise problems we can’t fix with interior acoustical treatments: 1. Noisy or nosey neighbors – whether the problem is coming from down the hall or the tenant above. Suspended acoustical ceiling treatments and wall panels will never solve this problem. 2. Trains, Planes, and Automobiles – great movie, but they also will never be silenced by interior room treatments. Outside noise in general will not be muted by interior treatments. 3. Footfall noise is another common noise problem that will not be affected by interior room treatments. 4. Mechanical noise caused by pumps, condensers, rooftop equipment, fans, and other HVAC equipment will also never be affected by interior acoustical treatments. The above is a good reference list for us to check before we go recommending wall panels or suspended ceilings for a quick fix. There are some bandaid fixes out there that one could argue with me, but I know what works.

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