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Conference_programme: 14.2 - Harmonisation of classroom acoustics standards in Europe

Lecture: Regulation of school acoustic design in the UK: recent revision of Building and School Premises Regulations and their application

Author(s): Shield Bridget, Richardson Russell

Problems of noise in educational establishments have been recognised for over a century. In the UK guidance on the acoustic design of schools has been available since the 1930s, initially contained within text books and subsequently in British Standards and Codes of Practice relating to sound insulation, and in guidance documents (Building Bulletins) issued by the government department responsible for education. Nevertheless, problems of noise and excessive reverberation in classrooms and other school spaces continued to cause problems for pupils and teachers throughout the 20th century. For this reason, in 2003, the acoustic design of schools became subject to legislation incorporated into the Building Regulations for England and Wales and School Premises Regulations. New school designs had to meet criteria for noise, reverberation and sound insulation which were specified in the publication Building Bulletin 93 (BB93). The legislation, and BB93, were revised in 2015, requiring cooperation between acousticians, architects, and the Department of Education. This paper will give a brief overview of previous standards, in particular BB93 (2003), and will summarise changes which were introduced in the latest version of BB93. The political problems that had to be surmounted, and the consequent lobbying of the UK Parliament, in order to proceed with the revision of BB93 will be briefly described. There is currently concern that compliance with the revised regulations is not being adequately monitored; schools are again being built which may not meet the regulations and which will have acoustic conditions that are unsuitable for teaching and learning. The paper will therefore conclude by examining the application of, and adherence to, the latest version of BB93. \n\n

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Corresponding author

Name: Prof Bridget Shield

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Country: United Kingdom