We are currently working with several clients that are planning office projects in buildings with raised access floors.
The use of under-floor HVAC systems provides an efficient delivery method for conditioned air. One side effect of the system is that they provide very little background sound. The resulting low background sound allows speech to be clearly understood at significant distances. This has a highly negative impact on workplace productivity and workplace satisfaction.
We have had terrific success in providing sound masking from below raised access floor systems. In fact we just walked a new client through a few of our projects last week and they were very impressed.
The advantages for delivering the masking signal from below:
Because the sound transmission loss of the concrete floor tiles is far greater than acoustical ceiling tiles, uniformity of sound from under the floor is much greater than from above. This leaves users unable to identify speaker locations.
Sound is less affected by location of panel systems and walls than with speakers located above the ceiling. This allows future reconfigurations to be performed more cost effectively.
Speakers and wire are concealed beneath the floor allowing freedom to use creative ceiling treatments.
ADI Workplace Acoustics has direct experience in the design, installation and commissioning of under-floor sound masking systems. Our unique design build process allows us to install the system after the floor is installed. We work around other building trades adapting the speaker layout to other building systems and features.
Acoustics is an often missed element in the design of these facilities. More efficient HVAC systems, along with fewer barriers and lower panels, lead to poor speech privacy. The downside of neglecting the acoustics is a lower operational performance for the occupants.
GSA published a study of 12 recently completed hi-performance buildings:
“For the lower-performing buildings, the study found that occupant satisfaction is undermined by poor acoustics, lighting and maintenance problems. A low level of ambient noise, a lack of sound masking and a perceived lack of privacy make acoustic quality worse.”