Common Soundproofing Issues In The Office (At The Office Part II)

In our last blog entry 'Open Plan Office Spaces and Reverberation Issues' we looked at how Reverberation can affect open plan office spaces and lack of clarity in speech. In this entry we are looking at sound and how it travels through smaller office spaces where partition walls and multiple offices units are constructed, focus and privacy can be affected with noise transference.

"If you can hear someone talking while you’re reading or writing, your productivity dips by up to 66%.  Open floor-plan offices distract workers without them even noticing it. In a classic study published in the British Journal of Psychology in 1998, researchers found that employers were highly distracted when they could hear conversation around them, and less able to perform their duties. Another classic study found that noise in the office also correlated to increased stress hormone levels and a lower willingness to engage with others. According to Sound Agency case study, when sound masking technology was used in an office, there was a 46% improvement in employees’ ability to concentrate and their short term memory accuracy increased 10 percent."

With these figures it is imperative that a business must improve it's acoustic qualities.

Lightweight Building Materials

Offices are most commonly built with cheaper materials than residential structures given that there are little Building Regulations set in for commercial units between internal spaces - this can usually be the most immediate area that needs addressing by replacement of current plasterboards with new systems, we will look at potential solutions below.

Suspended Ceiling Tiles

Suspended ceiling tiles are used in most offices where a lesser ceiling height is desired, essentially this is a metal grid system fixed into the structural ceiling above to cover a large area. One of the most common issues is that partition walls throughout the office space are built only up to the metal gridding which leave an expansive void above all spaces, so as an example; when a call centre space, managing director space and a meeting room space are all adjacent - these sounds will continue to leak over the top of the partition freely.

We will look at the potential solutions below.

Internal Flanking Through Partitioning

Much like Suspended Ceiling Tiles, this is through internal partitioning that is created through stud framing that create multiple spaces between layers of plasterboard, so if somebody is in an adjacent office there will most likely be sounds travelling down adjacent walls if these are not treated.


Potential Solutions


Lightweight Building Materials and Treatment of Stud Framing

We have a variety of options available depending on what levels of what are carried out, in most cases one layer of plasterboard is removed and a high density Acoustic Mineral Wool is fitted between the stud work allowing an air gap on each side so the material has no or little contact (10mm), for example; if the framework is 100mm in thickness, a 75mm maybe best used.

Depending on the space you can lose, the Wall Soundproofing options are;

MuteClip Systems

  • Lesser points of contact given to the framework to suspend the mass with MuteClip and MuteClip Channel
  • Greater performance at top end at approximately 60-80% reduction
  • 80mm loss of space

MuteBoard 4 to Stud

  • High density Acoustic Mineral Wool between stud framing
  • MuteBoard 4 to stud framing will help vastly increase the mass per m2 which improves airborne reduction
  • Great performance at approximately 40-50% reduction
  • 30mm loss of space

Suspended Ceiling Tiles

If you are looking for a lightweight combination of materials to reduce noise within a Suspended Tiling system, we can look at using the following Ceiling Soundproofing options;

Depending on the loading of the framework, laying Rockwool over the top will help to reduce noise within the cavity and reducing it's transference across the rooms. MuteSpace Pro 50mm with Tecsound SY70 on the face would be ideally secured to the top of the partition where possible to create an extension of the wall helping to reduce sound from coming over the top.

If the suspended system is strong, we could also look at laying Tecsound SY70 over the top to provide a better coverage of mass, reducing the airborne noise