Meeting good acoustic standards has traditionally relied on the building envelope. The new Professional Planning Guidance ProPG: Planning and Noise, due for publication in June, will seek to promote other means of minimising noise impacts. Local authorities are widely expected to support the new guidance.
The guidance requires that the use of site layout, orientation and spatial design are considered before the building envelope is used to mitigate noise to acceptable levels.
We support and promote the principle of good acoustic design and our clients are encouraged to start thinking about acoustics at concept design stage.
We proposed this approach on a recent residential development in Handcross, Sussex. Early consideration of acoustics and a site suitability survey at the pre-application stage allowed us to feedback the acoustic considerations into the site layout design.
Figure 1: Acoustic model of Handcross site showing proposed acoustic barrier in green, attenuating noise from the A23.
The use of computer modelling software enabled us to iteratively consider different mitigation options, which included the use of existing topography and the introduction of an acoustic barrier along the site boundary. Only once these mitigation options were maximised was building envelope mitigation considered.