Darren Lafon-Anthony, director of accoustics at Enzygo, offers his advice on the impact of noise and vibration at work.
What do you do at Enzygo?
Enzygo is a multi-disciplinary environmental consultancy specialising in providing technical services to the built environment sector (https://www.enzygo.com/our-services/). We work all over the UK, unlocking land for residential, commercial, industrial, waste, mineral and energy developments. We are a director-led business providing technical expertise to solve complex problems.
We pride ourselves in delivering complex schemes through our multidisciplinary model, which increasingly includes the assessment of noise and vibration to support our clients through the planning process.
The role of the Acoustics Team.
The acoustics team has worked on a wide range of projects ranging including small residential developments, change of use developments, industrial sites, standby power provision facilities and large construction projects.
With potential disturbance due to noise and vibration becoming an increasingly hot topic, due to a large proportion of the population working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring that developments meet, or better, guidance limits has become of paramount importance.
We use noise modelling software to identify potential noise impacts and help design cost-effective mitigation measures to meet relevant guidance, whether this is providing glazing specifications for new residential properties, acoustic fences to mitigate road traffic noise or upgrading an exhaust silencer specification to mitigate a single specific source within a development.
Noise and vibration are complex issues requiring very different standards and guidance depending on the type of development and/or the type of noise impacting upon the development from other sources and/or where in the UK the site is located. There is not a “one standard fits all” way of assessing noise and vibration.
The main areas the acoustics team provide expert advice in are:
- Assessment of potential noise and vibration impacts on new residential development, including provision of advice to mitigate any issues identified.
- Assessment of potential noise and vibration impacts from new industrial/commercial development on existing development nearby, including the provision of mitigation advice to ensure any impacts are minimised.
- Assessment of potential noise and vibration impacts of nearby residential development from mineral workings and the design of mitigation to minimise the impacts.
- Assessment of new noise sources introduced into existing development to determine and change in potential impact and design mitigation to ensure change is minimised.
- Long-term monitoring of noise and vibration from construction sites to ensure that local authority set limits are adhered to and to provide an alert system should they be breached.
What 5 tips would you give to developers requesting a noise assessment?
- Carefully consider the chosen site. For new residential development, are there any significant sources of noise nearby that would make the site difficult to develop? For new industrial development, are there any potentially noise sensitive receptors nearby where noise could not be controlled to adequate levels.
- Ensure that the baseline noise monitoring is adequate to assess the full impact of your development, i.e. 24/7 operations need baseline monitoring to cover daytime, night-time, midweek and weekend periods.
- Maximise standoff distances. Ensure that noise sensitive development is as far from noisy activities as possible. Ensure that noisy plant is as far away from noise sensitive receptors as possible.
- Make good use of building orientation. For residential development, gable ends and/or non-habitable rooms should face noise generating activities. For industrial development, access doors should face away from noise sensitive receptors and noisy plant should be located behind on-site buildings where possible.
- Provide whoever is undertaking your noise assessment with as much information on site layout, elevations and proposed plant noise source data as possible.