ARM Acoustics is an independent consultancy providing acoustics, noise and vibration expertise to residential, commercial and industrial developments and transport and infrastructure projects.
We provide professional advice to both private and public sector clients including developers, architects, planning consultants, contractors and others in the construction sector. Our range of services extend across the life of any scheme, from the early planning stages, through design and construction, to completion testing and commissioning.
The company was formed in 2007 and has worked on hundreds of projects of all sizes. Our experienced consultants provide a professional, high quality service, combining technical understanding and engineering practicality to provide value and meet the specific needs of the client.
We carry out noise surveys and noise assessments that will help to deliver planning consent or discharge of conditions for your scheme, as required by national and local planning policy (including BS4142 assessment).
We offer a fully integrated acoustic design service for all types of building, including: residential; commercial and industrial buildings; schools, etc, providing an appropriate acoustic environment for the specific needs of the end user.
We help our clients to minimise noise and vibration risks from their construction work by developing construction management plans and controls (BPM), securing s61 consents, noise and vibration assessment and monitoring.
We undertake noise and vibration surveys and monitoring to suit all needs, including demolition and construction sites, residential development, industrial and commercial installations, and infrastructure projects.
We carry out workplace noise assessments, identifying risks and providing advice regarding mitigation and management practices necessary to fulfil legal responsibilities and safeguard the welfare of your employees.
Please contact us if you would like to discuss our services and understand how we can help you to deliver your specific acoustics, noise and vibration requirements. We are based in London, however we regularly work on projects throughout England and the UK.
The Building Regulations Approved Document O ‘Overheating’ (AD-O) came into effect in England in June 2022. It introduces requirements for residential premises to limit unwanted solar gains in summer and provide an adequate means to remove heat from the indoor environment to prevent overheating. The regulations also require that account must be taken of the safety of an occupant and their reasonable enjoyment of the residence. Means of removing excess heat include:
Ventilation louvres in external walls
A mechanical ventilation system
A mechanical cooling system
It is, however, advised that mechanical cooling may only be used where sufficient heat cannot be removed adequately from the indoor environment by other means. The document also contains requirements relating to other matters, including noise, advising that when relying on opening windows to remove excess heat noise levels within bedrooms at night should not exceed stipulated limits, as follows:
40dB LAeq,T, averaged over 8 hours (between 11pm and 7am).
55dB LAFmax, more than 10 times a night (between 11pm and 7am).”
What does this mean for development?
A simplified method of demonstrating compliance is outlined based upon the site location (“moderate risk” in most of England, or “high risk” in much of London and parts of central Manchester), the presence of cross-ventilation and the ventilation free area. Based on typical assumptions necessary to satisfy the air flow requirements, the sound reduction for window openings is likely to be 4 dB for ‘high’ risk locations and 9 dB for ‘medium’ risk locations. This implies that in a “high risk” location where the external free-field sound level exceeds LAeq,8hr 44dB at night, or the LAF,Max exceeds 59dB - or 5dB more for “moderate risk” areas - then the simplified method cannot be used and dynamic thermal modelling is likely to be required to demonstrate compliance. For many urban areas or where properties are near to transport routes, it is likely that these noise levels may be exceeded across or in parts of the development.
The implications of AD-O are therefore significant for developers and their designers. Whilst Building Regulations are not necessarily a material consideration in any planning determination, the issue of ventilation and overheating and the means of achieving appropriate thermal and acoustic comfort is one that may affect the fundamental approach to scheme design and is likely to require extensive consideration throughout, from initial scoping and planning stages through to detailed design. Furthermore, the requirement may potentially impact residential schemes where noise might not otherwise have been identified as a potential constraint, or have required assessment for planning purposes.
Contact us, so that we can help you to achieve good acoustic design and ensure compliance with the Building Regulations.
The Institute of Acoustics (IOA) and Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) and have launched two new briefing notes on mitigating the potential noise impacts of heat pumps.
Air source heat pumps and ground source heat pumps generate noise and can potentially cause significant adverse effects on people living nearby. With heat pumps being part of the Government's strategy to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, CIEH and the IOA have worked together to provide information on how to mitigate the potential noise impacts.
The briefing notes - one general and the other for professional use - set out advice to enable the use of heat pumps as a source of low carbon heating and cooling, whilst minimising the risk that sound and vibration from the units will cause significant adverse impacts or a statutory nuisance to anyone nearby.