ITP acoustic barriers reduce construction noise on city site

Industrial Textiles & Plastics Ltd, who are Associate Members of the Scaffolding Association, have been providing noise reduction solutions at Westminster Council’s headquarters building.

In most city centre developments, noise reduction capability, ease of installation and fire retardancy are all highly desirable. Scaffold contractors that are able to offer a combination of those attributes in their solutions are well placed to secure business in city centre developments, refurbishments and renovations. Industrial Textiles & Plastics Ltd (ITP) have recently provided acoustic barrier sheeting in a busy city centre.

In the past few years, apartment developments have been meeting rising demand for urban living in city centres across the UK. Many high-rise buildings are undergoing cladding replacement to meet post-Grenfell building regulations, adding to the intensity of activity.

Current regulations do not specify noise control by law, but many planning and construction professionals are taking a lead with measures to minimise noise pollution.

Such measures are commonplace for companies signed up to the Considerate Contractors Scheme (CCS), an independent, non-profit organisation that aims to encourage best practice in the industry beyond statutory requirements.

The £60 million refurbishment of Westminster Council’s headquarters – a 19-storey tower block built in the 1960s – required an energy-efficient makeover with new cladding and windows.

The council moved to a temporary home on The Strand, but a neighbouring high-rise property had an elevation overlooking the façade renovation, carrying the risk of disturbing the building’s occupants or, worse still, damaging their hearing.

To protect against that risk, ITP’s Powerclad Sound Barrier temporary containment sheeting was installed by principal contractors, ISG Construction, an associate member of the CCS.

Offering an acoustic performance sound reduction of up to 16dB, Powerclad sheeting was used to minimise noise pollution and the environmental impact of the project as well as providing waterproof protection, excellent heat retention properties and flame retardancy to BS 476 Part 12C – an additional safety benefit which has been recognised as critical in high-rise development in the aftermath of the Grenfell disaster.

Powerclad Sound Barrier

  • The lightweight solution for minimising noise pollution
  • Proven noise reduction independently tested
  • Lightweight alternative to bulky materials
  • Supplied as panels or rolls for easy installation and transportation
  • Custom branding and printing options

Powerclad is lighter and easier to transport and install than traditional bulky acoustic panels, making site activities easier and more efficient – a valuable advantage at this busy Westminster location. The system was independently tested at the Acoustic Testing Laboratory at the University of Salford Manchester, which recorded an acoustic performance sound reduction which was 40–60% better than other acoustic barrier products tested at the same time in controlled, like-for-like installations.

Protecting hearing with acoustic barriers

Normally, the human ear can hear sounds from 0 decibels (dB) to 140 dB. Above 80 dB, hearing damage can occur depending on the length of exposure; sounds above 120 dB can be painful as well as dangerously damaging. Many items of construction equipment create noise well above the threshold of risk. Hand-held power tools and circular saws make almost 100 dB in sound, jackhammers and bulldozers generate over 100 dB, and earth drilling equipment usually exceeds 120 dB.

Noise attenuation is achieved by an acoustic barrier material that both blocks and absorbs the noise. Installing the barrier as close as possible to the source of the noise maximises the sheltered area. In all cases, the reduction must be at least 10 dB to be perceived as making a significant difference to the level of noise.

In order to meet the sound barrier performance required by local authorities and contractors, scaffold sheeting should be independently tested to BS EN ISO 10140-2:2010, the International Standard for Measurement of Airborne Sound Insulation of Building Elements. In all cases, it is essential to confirm that a sheeting manufacturer can demonstrate the necessary independent testing. For example, ITP’s product tests were conducted by the College of Science and Technology’s Acoustic Testing Laboratory at the University of Salford. The tests evaluated the acoustic performance of our products in comparison to two popular acoustic curtains and an acoustic insulated sheeting material in a controlled, like-for-like installation setting. The testing suite was set up to reflect as closely as possible real-life installation and the materials as they would be used in normal situations.

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