CIPD wanted to stop noise travelling to all four floors of an open plan building whose focal point was a large floor to roof atrium.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development is the professional body for those involved with the management and development of people. Their building in Wimbledon was designed to support cross-functional working and be environmentally friendly.

320 members of staff occupy four open plan floors, with a reception and library on the ground floor. The focal point is a large atrium, which is open to all floors. As staff primarily work on an individual basis with clients, key requirements are focus and concentration.

Noise in the open plan floors was the main issue; it was possible to clearly hear conversations between floors via the atrium, and the concrete ceiling reflected the sound on each floor, which further increased speech intelligibility.

The solution offered by Acoustic Comfort for the four open plan floors was to use the large light fittings to house 40mm Rockwool, reducing reflected sound and absorbing the sound energy.

The market leading LogiSon Sound Masking system was installed to raise the background sound level, thus providing comfort and aiding concentration.

In the ground floor library sound masking was installed to reduce the distraction of the library users from visitors in reception. Strategically placed Vibe wall art reduces the reverberation from hard surfaces.

Sound level tests: open plan areas

These example test results measure sound travelling across an open plan space.

  • For both tests, a person was positioned at the same desk.
  • Sound pressure measurements were taken at a distance of 12 metres from the desk.
  • For the first half of each test, there was no speech.
  • For the second half, the person at the desk spoke with a ‘telephone speaking’ voice.

Client testimonial

The best comment that summarizes the result achieved by Acoustic Comfort came from a member of staff, who said they could no longer hear colleagues’ phones ringing and this had previously been a huge distraction.