The increased number of people working in open-plan offices has revealed the lack of knowledge regarding how to design an acoustical environment that’s supporting the activities going on there. Challenges in open-plan office design are to create an environment both for concentration and communication without disturbances between different working groups. In a Nordic Innovation Centre project the acoustic conditions in five open-plan offices have been investigated. The offices were situated in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland.
The purpose of the project is to identify room acoustic descriptors that are suitable for evaluation and design and that are related to the subjective impression of the acoustic conditions. Several room acoustic parameters were measured in the five offices related to attributes like reverberance, speech clarity, auditory strength and spatial decay. The measurements were accompanied by inquiries among the staff. The worst case offices from an acoustical point were acoustically refurbished. Measurements and inquiries were performed once more after the refurbishments.
The final report is planned to be finished before this summer. The results will be valuable as background information for the on going work within ISO WG 19 dealing with a third part of ISO 3382: Acoustics — Measurement of room acoustic parameters — Part 3: Open plan offices.
Acoustic Bulletin will provide you with further knowledge later on.