Considerations for Acoustical Privacy within Commercial Tenant Space Fit-Outs
AbstractAcoustical privacy is often overlooked in the design of commercial / office space fit-outs. This may be due to a number of factors – for example, those involved in the design of the fit-out may be unaware that acoustical privacy might be needed, or may be unaware that special design considerations need to be taken into account to address such needs. There are some laws and acts which address privacy of personal information (e.g. Canada’s PIPEDA: Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, and Ontario’s PHIPA: Personal Health Information Protection Act), and under these Acts, there is an obligation for commercial spaces where personal private information may be discussed to ensure that measures are implemented to maintain privacy of the information. This information may include personal health and financial information, as discussed in health care spaces, banking areas, or legal offices. In some cases, it may not be clear whether these Acts apply and / or how they address speech privacy (particularly as no limits are set in the Acts). Recent projects confirm that such acoustical privacy is not being properly addressed or implemented, or in some cases, not even considered in design. This article discusses some examples of such spaces and presents some common issues which lead to poor acoustic privacy, and modifications to standard designs which can be considered.
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