5 things to consider with Noise Impact Assessments

21.09.18

Noise is defined as any unwanted sound including road and rail traffic, amplified music and commercial/industrial, which means no matter the type of development, one or more of these are likely to be a concern to existing and/or proposed receptors, and, as such, a Noise Impact Assessment (NIA) will be required.

5 things for Developers, Local Planning Authorities, Architects and Planning Consultants to consider when commissioning or dealing with an NIA:

Environmental Factors

Weather is a major contributing factor when undertaking a noise survey as poor weather can lead to unreliable and potentially elevated results. The ideal weather for a noise survey should be dry, with temperatures above freezing with no significant variation and winds speeds below 10 mph. As such, it is important to commission a NIA as soon as possible so there is a greater chance of ideal conditions within the planning timeframe.

Local Councils

Whilst many people within the development sector hear the words “Environmental Health Officer” and feel a shudder of apprehension, we feel safe in the knowledge that all aspects of a development have been fully explored from all angles. Early communication with the local Environmental Health Department means that any potential issues or areas of disagreement can be discussed and dealt with straight away resulting in a smoother and more cost and time effective development.

Layout

No matter the type of development, whether it be residential, industrial or commercial, Good Acoustic Design should be followed to ensure they do not have an adverse effect on the existing and proposed environment (as enshrined by guidance ProPG Planning & Noise for new Residential Developments). This could be as simple as altering the development design to locate noisy air conditioning units away from a resident’s window or ensuring that a proposed bedroom is not facing the busy railway line. REC ensure all reports comply with current standards and ProPG is frequently used to provide advice on Good Acoustic Design with regular CPD sessions undertaken.

Timing

Requirements vary from project to project, for instance, residential developments close to a main road will likely only require a 24-hour weekday measurements whereas a proposed 24/7 commercial premises will need a full weekday and weekend background sound survey to capture the most sensitive periods, such as Sundays and night-times. REC ensure that all sound sources are accounted for surrounding the development or as part of the development and assess each accordingly.

Achieving Criteria in Sensitive Areas

In the summer, gardens are our little piece of paradise allowing us to relax and enjoy the great outdoors in the comfort of our homes. REC use BS8233:2014 in the majority of assessments which provides a range of noise levels that can be achieved in gardens. The actual levels aimed for are dependent on the locality of the development amongst other factors. Therefore, when it comes to planning, REC always recommends that gardens be situated away from the noise sources or shielded by the envelope of the building wherever possible. Where Good Acoustic Design is followed or is not possible and exceedences of criteria occur, REC provides detailed Mitigation Schedules on a plot by plot basis, for residential developments, which includes for acoustic barriers, higher specification glazing and or alternative ventilation, to ensure maximum developability and to safeguard future residents from noise impact.

If you want to find out any further information in regards to Noise and how REC could assist with your project, then please do not hesitate to contact one of the Acoustics team on 01329 847 783 (South) or 0161 868 1300 (North).