Can You Hear Me Now? Why Your Mixed-Use Build Needs an Acoustical Engineer

Question: You’ve built a condo above a vibrant retail level that includes two restaurants, a gym, a dentist, a boutique urgent care facility, and subterranean garage. There is also a dry cleaner, a nail salon, and an animal groomer. It’s luxe convenience, redefined, and you wouldn’t dream of living anywhere else, would you?

Answer: It is perfect. Except for the customers lingering loudly outside the building long after the restaurants have closed for the night, the dead-lifters slamming their weights on the floor, barking dogs who hate to be away from their owners, and the techno music from the upstairs tenant. There may be a lawsuit very soon if it all doesn’t let up.

Unfortunately, this building was not built by Seacoast Construction, because we bring in acoustical engineers to handle these issues and more. We go the extra mile to determine a project’s total use in order to execute the build to meet the acoustical requirements and ensure it’s built to code.

What is an acoustical engineer?

An acoustical engineer seeks to improve the quality of sound and reduce noise and vibration, focusing on building design and materials, environmental regulations, and specific build requirements.

How are they used?

One of our recent projects was a mixed-use building much like the one described above, with a vibrant and busy gym situated next to a high-end liquor store. Our concern was that the vibrations from heavy weights slamming to the floor could shatter the liquor bottles lining the shared walls or knock them off the shelves.

Our team conducted sound testing of the area around the space, and provided our acoustical engineer with the results. They, in turn, evaluated those ratings so we could determine ways to achieve the sound rating needed to make the space work safely.

It’s all about airborne sound and vibrations for exteriors, floors, and partitions. Acoustical engineers operate on a Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating system where they use coefficients to determine sound ratings based on space.

Result? No bottles broken. No complaints made. No lawsuits filed.

Our team worked closely with our acoustical engineer’s recommendations for insulation, buffering, isolation, and sound prevention systems. As a result, we created an open space just below the ceiling that moves up and down slightly on springs. When sound travels, it sets the springs in motion to catch the sound and not allow it to hit the ceiling and transfer those sounds to the units above.

In addition, we isolated the walls with extra insulation, acoustical board, and drywall so that the liquor store wouldn’t be affected by sound vibrations. And, in the gym, we elevated the floor with another spring system, so the sound dissipates when even the heaviest weights are dropped.

At Seacoast Construction, we mean it when we say we take everything into consideration when approaching a build. From aesthetics, safety, acoustics, providing a pain-free permitting process, and ensuring a seamless build, we are the preferred choice for South Floridian construction work. Give us a try.

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