RBA Acoustics

Aaron Moroney Student placement blog part 2

This is the second post of three about my year spent at RBA, where I will share my last 4 months’ of experience. Whilst becoming more familiar with some areas of consultancy that I previously wrote about, my learning has certainly not stopped as I have been able to take on more complex assessments.

One project of particular interest involved assessing noise from an energy centre situated at within a new residential development in North London. Following the completion of a noise survey at the relatively secluded (and therefore, quiet!) site, designing noise from the proposed plant to be at a suitable noise level at the likely worst-affected properties posed a particularly difficult challenge. After persuading the local authority to agree sensible limits, the assessment could be made in a way that balanced non-intrusive noise, cost and mechanical/ventilation requirements. Through careful selection of plant and acoustic louvres with the mechanical and electrical consultants; plant room internal absorption; upgrade of the separating ceiling to the flat above; and suitable vibration isolation, the design was adapted to be suitable and the assessment was therefore successful. This allowed me to learn more about not only plant noise, sound insulation and acoustic attenuation measures, but also helped to develop my understanding in the function of building services – something which I knew very little about before joining RBA!

Separately, one of my biggest challenges, involved creating and presenting a seminar to everyone in the team at RBA, which, despite being slightly unnerving at first, was something that I was proud of. On the last Friday of each month, a different person does this and in January, it was my turn. I was keen to present something that would allow my audience to learn something new and my topic of Reverberation seemed to go down well! It was interesting to be able to expand my knowledge on reverberation as a concept, the variations in procedure of which it is measured and also discuss the consideration of reverb when completing calculations or taking other measurements, referring to relevant standards such as BS 8233 and BS EN ISO 3382. Finally a discussion was raised of the concept of impulse responses and digital convolution reverb – something I had learnt from my university studies. I was pleased to discover that this audio effect is, in fact, used in the room acoustic modelling software, Odeon.

Last but certainly not least, it has been fun to get to know my colleagues even more by going out for drinks with everyone after work. A particular highlight was the RBA Christmas do: despite being a while ago, it was certainly a day and night to remember. It was fun to be able to see the array of talents on show that were presented by new team members as part of recently joining RBA – this ranged from rapping to headstands!

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