Assessments for Building Services are usually required when a noise source that is associated with mechanical plant and commonly connected to sources such as residentialcommercial or industrial premises. Noisy machinery or plant and can result in causing detrimental effects on the surrounding environment and people if left untreated.
Building services surveys are commonly carried out to BS 4142 requirements, although other guidance may also be considered depending on the nature of the noise issue, use of premise’s and those affected. In commercial and industrial premises, understanding noise in the workplace is a key requirement in protecting employees under the Noise at Work Act 2005.

Treating mechanical plant noise is easier during commissioning as opposed to later as a remedial action once a complaint has been lodged. Proper design and assessment based on undertaking the correct site surveys, acoustic testing and calculations is far cheaper than stopping production to install the required acoustic components to reduce noise to acceptable levels.

Common causes and sources

Issues can arise from old and new equipment and generally fall into one (or more) broad categories that include:
– Plant not being installed correctly or utilizing the correct sound reduction or anti-vibration mounts
– Worn components such as bearings creating tonal and impulsive noise
– Portable equipment creating noise

Common sources of mechanical plant noise include (but are not limited to):
– Air conditioning units
– Chiller units
– Extraction
-Temporary or back-up power generation

Power Generation Enclosure
Checking sound levels in proximity of a noise source

Building Services Assessments and Surveys

Mechanical Plant is assessed under BS 4142 covering the impact of noise for new industrial units. BS 4142 predominantly refers to new industrial units at planning stage.  For commercial properties, additional planning conditions may need to be considered.  Further information on planning conditions can be found in The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)

Additional by-laws or Local Authority requirements may also need to be included in any assessment and these would be checked at the time of any assessment to ensure inclusion within the final report.

Testing includes the collection of sound data  close to each individual noise source and also at predetermined distances from the noise source. If a noise complaint has been received, measurements may be taken at the boundary of the complainant’s property to determine noise levels at this position.