September 2017

44 BUILD / September 2017 , Sound Advice for Your Environment dBx Acoustics Ltd are acoustic consultants, which essentiallymean that they are involved wherever sound or noise might be an issue. Following their success in achieving the Acoustic Consultants of the Year 2017 – UK accolade, we interviewed Director, SusanWitterick who reveals more about the firm’s approach providing good acoustic conditions. As acoustic consultants, dBx Acoustics Ltd come in when sound or noise might be an issue. This could be designing a concert hall or recording studio, helping specify partitions or finishes in a school or hospital to provide good acoustic conditions. The firm carries out noise surveys for planning, or troubleshooting noise issues for industrial sites. They also carry out testing on residential properties to confirm compliance with Part E of the Building Regulations in the UK. Director, Susan Witterick begins by explaining the varied nature of the firm’s client based and what services they offer around construction. “As our workload is so varied and so are the clients! We do much work with contractors and developers, but also get involved with planning consultants, architects and M&E consultants. For example, on one day I’ll be specifying the acoustic performance of partitions and room finishes in a high-end office in Belfast, working with an architect and structural engineer to specify a floor slab between apartments as well as working on a noise impact assessment report for a new school. “For the construction sector, we offer services including on- site noise, dust and vibration monitoring for compliance during the construction period. We are also UKAS (the UK’s National Accreditation Body), accredited for pre-completion acoustic testing on residential properties, to demonstrate compliance with Building Regulations in the UK. “We are also often called in to help review and confirm acoustic requirements, once a project has been handed over to a contractor, whether that’s to support them in making changes or to ‘sanity check’ the acoustic design they have been handed.” Susan then tells us about the firm’s latest project, including the key challenges encountered and any aspects of it that they were particularly proud of. “We are currently in the process of commissioning a large (300 apartment) development in Manchester, for John Sisk & Son. We first became involved in the project as part of the Sisk team when they were one of three contractors tendering for the scheme. “The design handed over targeted a high-level of acoustic performance, more than Building Regulations, but of course the contractor’s budget had to be competitive. We worked with Sisk to rationalise the partition selections, to ensure that they could deliver a high-quality scheme effectively. There were also some concerns around the original noise survey, which had been carried out for the site, so we repeated the survey and could relax the acoustic requirements for the building façade. “We are about halfway through testing now and I’m pleased to say so far everything has passed with flying colours and as such, three years of hard work is finally coming to fruition.” Susan then underlines the firm’s overall mission in creating the optimum acoustic conditions. “We believe that acoustics affect our lives, from cradle to CE170035