At this stage we undertake a comprehensive acoustic survey to establish the existing acoustic environment and detect the acoustic defects in the space. This may involve the use of equipment for measuring and analyzing sound and sometimes interviews with key user groups. Thereafter some acoustical criteria for the space is established.
The acoustical criteria will detail the optimum acoustic environment required, this may include: the sound isolation requirements, the noise criterion (NC) and the reverberation time (RT60). After the acoustical criteria for the space has been established and the quality of the sound as it relates to the budget has been determined. This will be presented in the form of an acoustic report presented in both hard and soft copy formats.
An assessment of facility audio system needs is also undertaken, through interviews or a survey of existing equipment (if applicable). If the end user is not yet available, we will develop an audio system description and budget based on expected experience and requirements for each space.
In the schematic design phase, recommendations for achieving the acoustical criteria are provided in broad terms. For example, information about the following may be specified: volumes of spaces; dimensions; location of spaces and their adjacencies; structural concerns; mechanical equipment locations and guidelines; and a brief outline of major partition types, special floor or ceiling assemblies, area requirements for variable acoustic elements etc.
Electroacoustic design services during schematic design usually include a schematic audio systems description and an installed-systems cost estimate for various options. A schematic design acoustical report prepared at this point for project team members. This document can become the basis for further acoustical design development. Although it is impossible to foresee all potential problems in advance, we can identify and document most of the issues early in the process
Deliverables at this stage include partition details, penetration details, and sketches for acoustic doors, windows, and floating floors. Room finish options are also developed. Mechanical duct and pipe sizing and distribution are discussed. Preliminary location and sizes of speakers and adjustable acoustic systems and layouts of orchestra enclosures or shells are shown on drawings.
Construction document services usually include many reviews of drawings and specifications to ensure that the acoustical recommendations have been incorporated correctly. We provide our recommendations in the form of sketches, drawings, reports, memorandums, letters, meetings, and so on for the architect and engineers to incorporate into the documents.
After the relevant contractor has been identified and contracted, the construction administration phase commences. Site visits for inspections are necessary to help contractors understand how the construction details coordinate with the proper acoustics product. Most contractors are less experienced in buildings for which acoustics are of major concern, so it is important to communicate to them why in acoustically critical projects some of the details are complex and what can go wrong if the designs are not properly implemented.
Acoustical services can and often must be part of building commissioning services. This usually involves verifying acoustical criteria and establishing the initial setting of adjustable acoustic systems. Where adjustable acoustic systems have been employed, post construction services may involve tuning to achieve the proper acoustical balance. For performance spaces, our consultant must work with performance groups in rehearsal to determine the most agreeable settings. In addition, the consultant may have to train users in the use of the audio systems or adjustable acoustic systems.