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NOVA Acoustics

Gym Noise Impact Assessments – What Needs To Be Considered?

Fitness is now a multi-billion pound industry in the UK. This has inspired a new wave of budget gym launches, alongside growth from more established brands.

Schools, colleges and employers have also increasingly recognised the importance of creating gym facilities within their buildings as a way to underpin health, wellbeing and engagement.

However, what many gym owners and operators are not aware of is that the acoustics in their facilities could actually be counterproductive. Sound quality and noise levels are important in any public building, but especially so in an environment that has a specific health purpose. This makes gym noise impact assessments vital on a continuous basis.

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Gym noise impact assessments can ensure that you provide a high standard of experience within your gym. The report is also the ideal starting point to find solutions to problem-acoustics. This is particularly urgent if you have built or are planning to build a gym that could be on the receiving end of noise complaints from neighbours.

Gym location factors

One of the biggest influences on sound quality and noise levels in contemporary gyms is that many are now located in an urban environment.

Previously, out of town locations were favoured by developers, not least as that way commercial gyms could build from the ground and create plenty of parking space. More recently, gyms are being built within the urban landscape.

Such is the growing passion for keeping fit that both budget and established gym brands are creating facilities that customers can use more easily before and after work, or during their lunch hour. Some gyms are now operating 24 hours a day, too, to reach a wider spectrum of customers, from stay at home parents who live nearby to local workforces who operate on shifts.

Being at the heart of the community is often central to the modern gym business proposition, but if you launch a gym in an urban environment, being able to build from the ground up is less likely. The chances are that the health and fitness facility would be created within a building that originally had a different purpose, such as a factory, mill, warehouse or retail outlet.

Even creating gyms within new buildings is not without its issues if the developer hedged their bets and kept the structure general, to make sure it appealed to as many potential leasers as possible.

What is a gym noise impact assessment?

The accurate measurement of noise and vibration levels at various distances from their source is a complex and specialist process. In a gym setting, the main culprits for acoustics problems tend to be the machinery and classes that generate low frequency sounds and vibrations. This would be, for example, the treadmill, free-weight usage and aerobic fitness classes.

Acoustic consultants assess and map out the full spectrum of equipment and activity in the gym to provide essential data. Sound pressure in the building and the structure’s resonant frequency would all be measured. They would look at whether the structural floor and any peripheral materials sufficiently dampen sound and vibrations.

Commercial benefits of gym noise impact assessments

Having drilled down data to analyse can have tangible benefits, as well as offering passive improvements to your customer experience. Clearly, you want customers to keep coming back to your gym and it is not always clear why they don’t feel comfortable in your building, but could sound levels be spoiling their relaxation and concentration?

A gym noise impact assessment could help you pinpoint ways to improve your gym acoustics. It could also make it less likely that you need to deal with local authority noise nuisance complaints, which can be time consuming and disruptive.

Gym noise impact assessments for new builds

Having gym noise impact assessments prior to completing a new build creates a better blueprint for managing noise and vibration levels. For example, the retrospective cost of fitting floating floors in gyms can be prohibitive. Having a gym noise impact assessment ahead of construction to decide if one is needed can be invaluable.

The report could also help you design the optimum layout or choose fixtures and fittings, such gym mattingm to dampen noise and vibration. It may even be that a gym noise impact assessment can help you choose the best location and building for your gym. Even without gym equipment in place, acoustic consultants can provide insights and data that avoid wasted time or money.

Industry knowledge is key

Obtaining an accurate and well-informed gym noise impact assessment, especially prior to equipping a new facility, requires using a company with a strong grasp of the potential issues. Contact us today to arrange an assessment appointment for your planned or existing gym.

What should be considered when designing a building?

When it comes to designing a building, it’s important to consider some of the aspects that can have an impact on the acoustics. For example, partitions should be designed in such a way that they close against permanent walls.

When using base seals, they should be installed against a hard and smooth surface instead of a carpet because the fibres from the carpet will allow sound to travel through.

Gaps, cracks and holes allow airborne sounds to travel, and have an impact on the quality of the sound insulation of a building, so a building should be airtight to provide the best possible protection against flanking sound.

Design and construction are essential to acoustic performance

When it comes to insulating against both direct and indirect sounds, the most important phase of any building development is the design and construction. During this stage of development, it’s essential to consider the insulation for external, internal and separating walls.

External walls should limit the amount of sound that can be transmitted into a building, internal walls should be designed in such a way that flanking is prevented between rooms, and separating walls need to be considered in order to ensure two different areas within the same building do not suffer from flanking.

It’s important to remember that junctions between elements open up the possibility of flanking to occur, so the need to design and construct this aspect of a building carefully is essential.

When there are spaces that are adjoined, but have different uses, it’s imperative that the necessary steps have been taken in order to minimise or prevent flanking sound from occurring, so that the different areas within a building can be used for their intended purposes.

There are specific building regulations for noise and sound insulation called Approved document E which sets out the necessary requirements for sound insulation between different spaces, and gives guidance on how to separate elements in order to avoid the issue of flanking sound.

Just like direct sounds, indirect sounds can have a huge impact on the performance of a building, so ensuring buildings are designed within the constraints of the published regulations is an important part of the design and construction of a building.

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