Improving the sound comfort of a restaurant room such as a school canteen is often required, when users (children taking their meals) and service personnel complain about poor acoustics, in relation to excessive reverberation, the sounds emitted during conversations, discussions (more or less animated), being reflected on the hard surfaces of the space considered, when it is insufficiently provided with materials capable of absorbing them:

  • noise levels are increased, with everyone raising their voices to be heard
  • the noise spreads from table to table

The result is a hubbub that is not conducive to the students taking full advantage of the time spent in the canteen and also unenviable working conditions for the catering teams.

ITS participated in improving the sound comfort of a restaurant room, being a school canteen located around Bourg en Bresse (France, Auvergne - Rhône Alpes region).

The reduction of reverberation, which almost always bases (at least in part) the improvement of sound comfort in collective places such as a canteen (as well as in many other spaces, well beyond those - already numerous - located in educational establishments, to which, in France, an order of April 25, 2003 relates to the limitation of noise[1] and sets a limit to reverberation depending on volume) was carried out by implementing panels that absorb sound in a wide range of frequencies (i.e. with a sound absorption coefficient close to 100% from 400 Hz to 4000 Hz):

  • on the one hand in the form of wall panels
  • on the other hand in the form of elements suspended under the ceiling of the room

Thus contributing to the visual comfort of the considered space, these different components of an overall soundproofing system for a room can match:

  • together with themselves (see attached brochure)
  • together with soundproofing screens (see attached brochure) which combine with their function of reducing reverberation that of limiting the propagation of noise in the space (e.g. between tables) to obtain the fundamental elements of the sound comfort of this type of premises (but also others such as open-plan offices) that discretion[2] and confidentiality[3] are.

For all these components forming a system with variable geometry (quantity and arrangement adapted according to needs) contributing to the improvement of sound comfort, the glass wool of the panels is tested and classified as non-combustible according to standard EN ISO 1182 (classification A2 -s1,d0 according to standard EN 13501-1) and it is surfaced with a resistant fabric.

Experience counts when it comes to defining the surfaces to be covered with such sound-absorbing materials, reconciling the different requirements (e.g. practical, technical, decorative, financial) and planning works according to optimized methods of installation of soundproofing materials.

This project was a new illustration of this, adding to many other ITS interventions in the context of improving the sound comfort of dining rooms and many other spaces in various universes (e.g. training, leisure, work).

With regard to this school canteen in which work to improve sound comfort has been carried out, it is unlikely that one day, someone will exclaim “How calm everything is here! Tell me, don't you miss the noise sometimes? ", as does a character in Agatha Christie's short story " Sing a song of six pence"[4] when addressing the central character of the story, it is true that having taken up residence "miles away from the whirlwind of the 20th century century", and having managed "to preserve the peaceful atmosphere of the past"[5].

However, if "preserving the peaceful atmosphere of the past" can still have a form of reality in the 21st century, it is permissible to consider that this is then what the human resource of ITS is proud of trying to contribute to.

[1] e.g. premises for teaching or for practical activities, administration, library, information and documentation centre, music room, meeting room, staff room, medical and infirmary room, multipurpose room

[2] situation obtained when an effort is required to understand the content of a transmitted conversation; then, the conversation is not a source of distraction

[3] situation obtained when even with an effort to understand a conversation sent, it remains incomprehensible

[4] collection of short stories published in 2002 “The mystery of Listerdale”, Editions du masque, p. 70

[5] translated from french version of the short story

Acoustic comfort in buildings end faq