This case study is an example of a recent large-scale, mixed-use development we’ve been involved with, providing acoustics expertise from design to post-build testing.
The client challenge
To redevelop a large, mixed-use site in Southall, West London, comprising 313 residential units, commercial floorspace (i.e. office, restaurant, gym and café), a car park and associated communal amenity space. The development consists of a 23-storey tower, linked to 3 blocks ranging from 9 to 15 storeys high – the northern elevation of which is exposed to high levels of rail noise almost twenty-four hours a day.
Unique project considerations
The site is located in an area of Southall historically dominated by industrial and commercial use. However, the wider site area has been considered as having potential for development by Ealing Borough Council and is included in the London Plan 2015 as an Opportunity Area for regeneration, especially when Crossrail arrives at Southall station in 2018.
How we helped
Our involvement in the project began at the design stage where we were brought in to review the criteria set out in a previous planning acoustic report. This stage took into consideration the design of the building envelope and the sound insulation required. We provided advice on the internal sound insulation of separating walls and floors, for both the residential and commercial elements of the scheme, as well as advice on reverberation in common areas and building services noise and vibration control recommendations.
We conducted a baseline environmental noise survey, which determined the acoustic conditions across the site. This was then used to produce a 3D model using the noise-modelling suite Cadna/A, validated with the measured noise levels on site and used to predict façade incident noise levels throughout the proposed development. This enabled us to determine the sound insulation requirements and specify the glazing and ventilation needs of the development. The model was also used to assess the suitability of external amenity areas, private terraces and rooftop service spaces throughout the development.
We worked with architects, Boon Brown, to provide sound insulation advice on the initial separating wall and floor proposals, which were reviewed and upgraded where necessary to achieve Building Regulations Approved Document E compliance. Generic recommendations were also provided with regard to control of flanking transmission detailing, penetrations, doors and control of reverberation in residential areas.
Advice was also provided to the project engineers with regards to the control of building services noise emissions – particularly from the Energy Centre Plant Room located at ground floor level, the bin stores extracts and the car park jet fans. All of these plant items had to be efficiently controlled to achieve the plant noise emission criteria set out in the council’s planning conditions.
Our initial review of the of the previous acoustic report undertaken was helpful to the client in order to move the specification of the building forward, including a winter garden solution at the most exposed façade of the development. Our advice and design proposals were built into achieving suitable noise conditions for the proposed balconies, which was a key focus for the client and an area that had raised several issues.
Our acoustic recommendations were then incorporated into the development’s design, which at the time of writing is at RIBA Stage 4. Our work assisted the design team, especially the architects and engineers in adapting their proposals to achieve the performance requirements of the project.
If you would like to read more about our work on building acoustics, click here. If you have a project in mind and would like a conversation with one of our team about your development, please get in touch using our contact form.