Bad acoustics is costing Gulf developers, says expert

Bad acoustics is costing Gulf developers, says expert

Developers in the Middle East could be losing money by neglecting to address acoustic issues at an early design stage.

The challenges and trends in regional acoustic design were outlined by Mark Scaife, acoustics associate for WSP Environment and Energy, in a recent interview with Middle East Architect.

Scaife said: “In this region, the common mistakes are employing the acoustician too late or not for the entire design and construction, so that they are prevented from adding their true value.

“Misunderstanding the difference between common acoustic ratings for materials is also common and can lead to expensive mistakes,” he adds.

Scaife highlighted the fact that retrofitting acoustics is extremely costly. “A study in the UK found that improving sound insulation in residential dwellings cost, on average, almost US$11,000 per dwelling if inappropriate materials are specified.”

Jason Hird, technical manager for wall and ceiling supplier Gyproc, agreed. “Once a building has been completed it can be very expensive and inconvenient to address sound insulation problems, and it is therefore prudent to ensure that appropriate sound insulation measures and detailing are incorporated at the design stage,” he said.

More positively, Scaife added that acoustic design is becoming more prevalent in the Gulf. “Acoustics is becoming more important to developers in the Middle East and this is being picked up in the numerous Green Building codes around the Gulf.

“Estidama (Abu Dhabi), QSAS (Qatar) and DEWA Green Building Regulations (Dubai) have all seen fit to include acoustic performance as a measure of building and community quality.”

The full article on acoustic design is set to appear in the July issue of Middle East Architect.

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