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INSULATION


Closing the gap on acoustic performance


Joe Cilia from finishes and interiors trade body FIS looks at how a new initiative helps improve the quality of interior acoustics through specifying and installing products based on proven and verified test data


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t is in all our interests to expect and achieve better performing buildings. We only have to look at the car industry and the knock-on effect of the Volkswagen ‘Dieselgate’ emissions scandal as an example of what can go wrong. The issue uncovered a gap between cars’ actual performance and what was promised by the manufacturer. In the construction industry, the performance gap between design and built performance is well documented, and while much of the focus has been around thermal performance, there is also the growing issue of acoustic performance. Achieving acoustic comfort should not have to be a trade-off between clean aesthetics and acoustic performance, which is why it’s important to consider the acoustic needs of the interior space early in


ADF NOVEMBER 2020


the design process. Sound can be controlled either through absorption, which deals with reverberation within the space and makes it a better place to work in, or through insulation, which deals with the control of sound from one space to another. The transmission of sound through walls or floors is one of the most common sources of noise disturbance. Poor sound insulation (also referred to as attenuation) between adjacent rooms will result in disturbance and a loss of privacy. Partitions and cavity barriers are generally the options used for sound insulation and provide privacy or a division from a noisy and potentially disturbing activity. The only way a specifier can evaluate and compare the performance of the two options is by looking at the data provided to them. They


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