Acoustic Comfort – A Challenge To Be Taken Up To Improve The Quality Of Life In Housing

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Most of the people say they have already experienced tensions with their neighbors over noise issues. There is therefore a real social issue, especially in old housing, which is often poorly insulated and where you can hear everything.

The noise can quickly become unbearable and cause stress. But noise pollution also has an impact on health! When you are regularly exposed to noise from road traffic, airplanes, neighborhood … the impact exists, even if the noise is not loud. So even if you are not awake at night, nighttime noises can affect the quality of your sleep, which can increase your risk of developing certain diseases.

And for professionals?

From the point of view of construction professionals, the main issue is to comply with regulatory requirements for acoustics. This subject can indeed be “neglected” in the building industry, due to the lack of training of professionals, but also because of insufficient resources. Acoustics is a restrictive field because the requirements are expressed in results objectives and not in means, and these results depend on the implementation of several trades.

Another challenge for professionals is to be able to follow the evolution of techniques linked to new regulations in other areas, in particular in the “energy” aspect, with the insulation of walls or the new equipment implemented, and soon on the environmental angle with the development of wood in construction.

Main source of dissatisfaction in collective housing

In acoustics, the notion of sensitivity of each person being decisive, it is essential to supplement the acoustic measurements by satisfaction surveys among occupants. It is surprising to note that whatever the type of building, new, old, wood, concrete … the main source of dissatisfaction for occupants concerns impact noises, in particular footsteps. Then come the noises coming from common circulations and stairwells, when people enter and leave their homes: conversations, doors slamming …

We can also compare the feelings of the occupants between different buildings, for example, between buildings with concrete structures and buildings with wooden frames and note the importance of low frequency noise (children running or jumping, stereo systems, etc.) in these 2 types of construction.

Finally, it sometimes emerges that owners are often disappointed with the acoustics of their new home because they do not expect that you can still hear your neighbor. It is essential today to aim for acoustically comfortable housing, where one is isolated from exterior noise and interior noise, whether from equipment or from neighbors.

Rethink Bayonne Design Competition

Rethink Urban Design is offering competition in Bayonne to raise the bar on housing, to better understand the feelings of occupants or to determine the issues related to developments in techniques and construction methods or to new types of noise that may emerge. Their aim is to gain a better understanding of the acoustics in new or existing multi-family housing buildings, timber frame constructions, on the subject of low frequencies, etc. This competition has been drawn up to ensure that acoustics are taken into account in the design of all projects, by analyzing the combination of floors, walls, floor coverings and walls

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