The inaugural ANC (Association of Noise Consultants) Awards were held this evening (Tuesday 8th October) following the ANC Annual Conference at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Birmingham. These prestigious awards were presented by TV presenter Johnny Ball following a gala dinner to celebrate the awards.
The ANC is the representative body for acoustics consultancies and currently has 116 member companies employing approximately 800 consultants. The ANC launched these awards to promote and recognise excellence among UK acoustic consultants and to raise the profile of the acoustics industry within different industry sectors, including contractors and to construction industry professionals.
The three award categories include Environmental Acoustics, sponsored by Bruel & Kjaer; this category is looking for the best application of environmental noise measurement data. Architectural Acoustics, sponsored by Ecophon; this award will go to the most innovative integration of an architectural acoustics solution. The last category is Sound Insulation Design, sponsored by Robust Details, and as the name suggest, the winner will have demonstrated the most innovative sound insulation improvement solution.
The independent judging panel (list of judges below) looked for examples of work that display innovation, and originality in acoustic design or approach to a particular project and work must have been undertaken in the last two years (but need not be complete) and the consultancy must be in operating in the UK although the project may be elsewhere. The short listed entries were as follows:
Architectural Acoustics, City Academy, Norwich (WSP), Jesmond Gardens School, Hartlepool (Apex Acoustics), Manchester Town Hall (BDP) and University of East London Library (Adrian James Acoustics).
Environmental Acoustics, Corrib Gas Project, County Mayo (Clarke Saunders Associates), BFK JV Tunnelling, Crossrail (ACCON UK) and END Action Plan (RMP).
Sound Insulation Design, Reed Mews, University of Exeter (Hoare Lea) and Park House, London (Hann Tucker).
The shortlisted entrants made a brief presentation during the ANC Conference – the outright winner in each category was named following the awards dinner and they were as follows:
In the Architectural Acoustics category: the winning project was the University of East London Library executed by Adrian James Acoustics.
Acoustic problems with the UEL’s existing library in Docklands led the client to seek the acoustics consultant’s early involvement and to develop the acoustic and architectural briefs in parallel. This project is a rare combination of acoustic research and development leading to a very simple and efficient acoustic design in a type of building which has not previously been well understood.
This project is an excellent example of how architect and acoustician can work together to bring innovative design to a practical building. The Judges were agreed that for technical innovation this entry clearly deserves the award. Integration at all stages was very good and the project effectively creates new criteria for acoustics in libraries.
Highly Commended Architectural Acoustics:
Jesmond Gardens Primary School, Hartlepool by Apex Acoustics.
Commended Architectural Acoustics:
Manchester Town Hall Project by BDP and City Academy Project, Norwich by WSP.
The winner in the Environmental Acoustics category was the BFK JV Tunnelling (Royal Oak – Farringdon) – Crossrail Contract C300 project by acoustic consultants ACCON UK.
The project requirements from Crossrail included exceptionally stringent acoustic criteria related to re-radiated noise from the construction of the tunnel. The challenge was to implement robust vibration modelling for the movement of construction trains within the tunnel in order to derive noise levels within sensitive properties above the tunnel. This project utilised innovative methods and instrumentation in order to measure extremely low levels of vibration.
The judges noted that infrastructure projects can have a major impact on those affected by their construction and there is a huge risk factor if everything is not right. The judges felt that the care taken to ensure that residents and businesses were not affected was significant. This was a difficult project because of the need to isolate the construction train noise from the normal underground trains running on nearby tracks. The consultant successfully measured and modelled the effect of the construction trains on the sensitive sites.
As well as a trophy, the winner of the environmental acoustics category also received a state-of-the-art sound level meter, donated by sponsors Brüel & Kjær.
Highly Commended Environmental Acoustics:
END Action Plan Project by RMP Acoustics
Commended Environmental Acoustics:
Corrib Gas Project, County Mayo by Clarke Saunders Associates
In the Sound Insulation Design category the winner was the Reed Mews project at the Streatham Campus, University of Exeter by Hoare Lea Acoustics.
High levels of acoustic privacy were required in an existing old timber frame construction with many limitations and restrictions on the works. The refurbishment of the Reed Mews building encompassed the application of ‘outside the box’ concepts to deliver an onerous client brief with short timescales and tight budgets. The client brief was purely subjective, ‘raised voices to be un-intelligible in adjacent spaces’. Reed Mews was an existing building not designed to provide high levels of sound insulation. The concepts implemented included sound insulation upgrades and bespoke background noise masking system design. The whole project had to be designed in three months and constructed over the University Summer holiday period.
The Judges were impressed by the attention given to the client’s needs, and checking that they were fulfilled. The consultant made sure they understood and delivered what was required and came up with a solution that combined a standard approach with noise generation. This was innovative in an unusual way but made it all the more interesting for that.
Commended Sound Insulation Design:
Park House, London Project by Hann Tucker
Philip Dunbavin chairman of the ANC commented on the inaugural awards, he said, “These awards demonstrate the range and quality of the work undertaken by acoustic consultancies. I am particularly impressed by the innovation shown and care given to ensuring the client and all those affected by the projects were involved in the process.”