Objective acoustical quality in healthcare office facilities
Health-care facilities include many non-clinical office spaces for administrative staff; the role of acoustics in these spaces has been underexplored. This paper discusses the acoustical part of a study of indoor environmental quality (IEQ) in 17 healthcare office facilities Physical acoustical measurements were made in 6 types of rooms, some with sound-masking systems, to determine the acoustical characteristics, assess their quality, relate them to the building designs, and develop prediction models. Background-noise levels were measured in the occupied buildings. In the unoccupied buildings, measurements were made of reverberation times, and ‘speech’ levels needed to calculate speech intelligibility indices for speech intelligibility and speech privacy. In open offices, sound-level reductions per distance doubling (DL2) were measured. Noise isolations of internal partitions of different designs (double-plasterboard construction, modular or built in-situ, rising to the suspended ceiling or to the floor-ceiling slab, without and with doors, different amounts of glass) were measured. The acoustical characteristics were compared to design criteria to evaluate their acceptability. The results are presented, and are related to room type and partition design. An empirical model for predicting partition noise isolation, developed using regression techniques, is discussed. The knowledge gained from this study informs the decision-making of designers and facilities management for upgrades and future design projects.
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