The question of acoustic performance levels and criteria for offices and associated spaces or for other tertiary buildings is crucial with respect to premises for which acoustic comfort is a major qualitative aspect.

In France, the standard NF S31-080 (January 2006) Acoustics - Offices and associated areas - Acoustic performance levels and criteria by type of area addresses the following areas: individual office, collective office, open space, meeting room, relaxation area, restaurant, circulation, tray to accomodate.

Depending on the case, the reverberation time or spatial decay are the basic technical requirement.

For each type of room, the standard defines and classifies the acoustic environment in three performance levels:

  • "current" level is what is required by regulation, and in the absence of legal texts, the minimum functional level which does not ensure acoustic comfort.
  • "powerful" level is acoustic performance beyond the level of "current". This level provides an acoustic comfort conducive to good working conditions.
  • "very Powerful" level corresponds to maximum acoustic performance made possible by action on all different elements of the buiding construction (design, architecture, materials, ....). This level aims at the perception of useful noise and at non-perception of unnecessary noise: so there is a qualitative notion suitable for the purpose and activity to be conducted in the premise.

In addition, NF HQE Tertiary Buildings certification distinguishes buildings of which acoustic performances reflect best current practices. This certification covers the phases of planning, design and construction for new buildings and renovations.

The acoustic criterion of a space and its interactions with neighboring spaces is quantified through two concepts: the sensitivity of the space and the aggressiveness of the space.

The sensitivity of the space relies to the acoustic environment expected by the occupants. The more sensitive the space is, the more hearing emergences (from adjacent spaces or from space itself) are troublesome.

One thus distinguish:

  • very sensitive areas, such as: individual offices, rest areas, infirmary, customers private spaces (hotels), etc.
  • sensitive areas, such as: open spaces, empty space awaiting conversion, meeting rooms, dining rooms, lounges, entrance halls, sports area (hotel), etc.
  • not much sensitive areas such as: halls, waste premise, restrooms, corridors, some sales areas, common areas dedicated to customers traffic (trade), bathing areas (hotel), warehouse (Logistics), etc.

The aggressiveness of the space quantifies the impact of the space on the neighboring space. The more aggressive the space is, the greater the average sound level of the space is and the more the space impacts on neighboring areas. We thus distinguish:

  • highly aggressive areas such as: dining areas, auditorium, delivery areas, common areas dedicated to customer traffic, sales areas, bar, disco, games rooms, bathing areas (hotels), warehouse (logistics), etc.
  • aggressive areas such as: open spaces, meeting rooms, sales areas, rooms (hotel) etc.
  • the non-aggressive areas such as: individual office, rest areas, infirmary, customers private spaces, reading rooms (or quiet lounges), library (hotel), etc.

Thus, by combining the notion of sensitivity with the notion of aggression, we can classify the different spaces found in buildings in categories according to the sector (office, education, retail, hospitality, logistics).

In terms of generic requirements, the concern referred to as "base level" aims at accounting the location of sensitive and very sensitive spaces with respect to aggressive and very aggressive spaces for inner and outer disturbances while the concern referred to as "performance level" and the concern referred to as "high performance level" aim at optimizing the shape and volume of spaces in which the internal acoustics is an issue.

Depending on the case, the reverberation time or the spatial decay are the basic technical requirement, when this is not the equivalent absorption area.

ITS masters all aspects of the question of acoustic performance levels and criteria for buildings, e.g. offices. (new or renovation):

  • technical specification
  • on-site verification (measurements by a technician qualified in physical measurements, specialized in instrumental techniques using duly calibrated and verified sound level meters)
  • recommendation and advice
  • marketing of materials and works

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