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EIAS Workshop – Open plan office acoustics

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Claus-Moller Peterson (Grontmij) – photo by Martin Arvebro

A workshop regarding open plan office acoustics was held at the Ecophon International Acousticians’ Seminar, in Bastad, Sweden, Sept 22nd.

An opening lecture about open plan offices was held by Christina Bodin Danielsson entitled “The future office – a meeting place or something else? Which are the acoustic challenges in the future office design?”.

A total of four presentations were held and discussed in the workshop that followed:

“Questions on Open-Plan Office Acoustical Criteria” – John Bradley
“Final draft committee standard: ISO/FDIS 3382-3 MEASUREMENT OF ROOM ACOUSTIC PARAMETERS – PART 3: OPEN PLAN OFFICES” – Valtteri Hongisto
”Acoustic Tools and methods in open-plan offices” – Claus Møller Petersen
“Acoustic guidelines in the Netherlands” – Sara Persoon
“The future office – a meeting place or something else? Which are the acoustic challenges in the future office design?”
Christina Bodin Danielsson, PhD Brunnberg & Forshed Architects Ltd/The Stress Research Institute, Stockholm University. Sweden
In this opening lecture Christina discussed that the office has thus become a metaphor of a meeting point in recent years. Two questions needs to be asked if this holds true: a) Is meetings the major factor for creativity and innovation, and b) If so, what acoustic challenges do this mean for office design?
“Questions on Open-Plan Office Acoustical Criteria”
John Bradley, Institute for Research in Construction, National Research Council, Canada
The combination of Articulation Index (AI) ≤0.15 and Ambient noise (Ln) ~ 45 dBA specifies conditions of acceptable speech privacy for open-plan offices. The paper discussed these criteria and their validity, including how acceptable such conditions would be, and how practical it is to achieve them. The importance of using representative speech levels when calculating expected speech privacy ratings was stressed.
“Final draft committee standard: ISO/FDIS 3382-3 MEASUREMENT OF ROOM ACOUSTIC PARAMETERS – PART 3: OPEN PLAN OFFICES”
Valtteri Hongisto Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Finland
The measurement arrangement contains a single speech source at one workstation and several measurement points at different distances from the speech source. In each measurement point, the speech level, background noise level, and STI (Speech Transmission Index) are measured. The data is used to derive two acoustic quantities which describe the speech privacy in the open-plan office at different distances from the speaker. The distraction distance, rD, and the spatial decay rate of speech, DL2S. These quantities together describe the speech privacy in open-plan offices.
”Acoustic Tools and methods in open-plan offices”
Claus Møller Petersen, Grontmij, Denmark
The presentation was based on results from the project “Limiting annoying noise in open plan offices” supported by a grant from the Danish Working Environment Research Foundation supplemented with results from other offices. The studies suggest a link between DL2 / DLf and work environment / organization in combination with architectural / furnishing conditions to describe the employees experienced satisfaction with the acoustic conditions.
“Acoustic guidelines in the Netherlands”
Sara Persoon, M +P – consulting engineers (part of Müller-BBM Group)
In the Netherlands, already many companies changed their traditional ways of working into a more modern working concept, so called New Work or Work New Style (Het Nieuwe Werken). This year a new Handbook Building Physics Quality for Offices was released by the Dutch Government Building Agency (Rgd) in cooperation with leading Dutch consultancies. In the Handbook acoustical parameters are given for designing an open plan office with different types of working places with a satisfactory level of acoustical comfort.

Office Environments 113

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