Sep 08

Rullion, Altrincham Case Study

Improving Open Plan Office Acoustics with Timber Slat Panels

Poor reverberation time in open plan offices can lead to poor speech intelligibility, making life difficult for customers and staff. Choosing the right absorption products can resolve the situation and also if you wish, provide aesthetic improvements.

The Project

Rullion is a recruitment company with offices across the UK. An element of their work involves dealing with customers over the telephone and conference audio. The Altrincham office approached acoustics specialists Cheshire Soundproofing for advice on how to deal with acoustic problems in open plan office space.

The Rullion office at Altrincham seats around 30 members of staff in a single open plan space. Staff members were reporting that customers could not hear them on the telephone and could hear each other’s conversations.

The Challenge of Reverberation Times in Open Plan Offices

Modern open plan offices are convenient, flexible spaces which offer a great environment for interaction, but with large numbers of desks and other hard surfaces such as flooring, glass and plaster, they can also be an acoustic challenge.

If your open plan office feels echoey and cathedral-like, if staff end up talking louder to be heard, or even worse if your customers cannot hear you clearly, then you may be suffering from long reverberation times.

The reverberation time or RT60 of a space describes the length of time in seconds for a sound to decay by 60 dB from its original level once the sound has stopped. Long reverberation times create noise and poor speech intelligibility. They can increase staff stress and put off customers. Not only do they make the working environment unpleasant, they can also cost businesses  money!

Assessing the Problem

Cheshire Soundproofing is an expert soundproofing and acoustic installation company located in Stockport, just outside Manchester. They visited Rullion’s office in Altrincham and carried out reverberation measurements. After discussions with the client, they designed a simple solution involving CMS Danskin Acoustic’s timber slat wall panels.

Timber Slat Panels for Open Plan Offices

CMS Danskin Acoustic’s Timber Slat Wall Panels consist of timber veneered slats stapled to a PET felt backing. Each panel is 600mm wide, 13mm deep and available in two different lengths and seven different veneers. When applied to walls the panels are a simple and effective means of reducing reverberation times in office spaces, board rooms and waiting rooms. They also provide a calm, elegant aesthetic which can provide a subtle accent in a room.

In the case of the Altrincham offices, the client chose the Walnut veneer panel from the range and Cheshire Soundproofing installed it along a long back wall and on a number of columns in the main area of the open plan office.

The Result

Cheshire Soundproofing Director Catherine Burke reports that the client is more than happy with the installation, both acoustically and aesthetically.

“The clients are very pleased with the effect of these panels. They liked the look and feel of them so much and the change in reverberation times was so noticeable, that they’ve called us back to install another four-meter wall on the other side of the office. This will bring the subtle aesthetic of the walnut veneer into the whole space and tie it together.”

Catherine is a strong advocate for acoustic absorption products, which she feels give the designer and customer a wide range of options.

“The beauty of acoustic absorption is that you can gain from both the acoustic effects and if you wish, make the panels a design feature. For a mid-range budget we have been able to improve the caller experience and revitalize the room.”

“Product choice is often a matter of individual taste and personal preference. There are such a wide range of solutions available, you can choose to keep it simple and unobtrusive, reflect your brand or be dramatic with bright colours and unusual shapes. Whatever fits in your overall plan.”

Support for your Office Acoustics Projects

Cheshire Soundproofing has been a customer of CMS Danskin Acoustics for 15 years, ever since they started trading. Director Catherine Burke explains why.

“To start with, we began using CMS Danskin Acoustics soundproofing products, such as their acoustic barrier mats and acoustic floor products. In the last five years we have also used them for acoustic absorption panels. We have a good relationship with the team and often spend time at their offices discussing product development and the latest solutions.”

“We use CMS Danskin Acoustics because they are super-efficient, and their prices, products, delivery and logistics are second to none

CMS Danskin Acoustics are specialists in soundproofing materials and acoustic insulation. We can design and supply or simply supply the products that you need, and our specialist team can advise on how to balance performance, aesthetics and budget.

CMS Danskin Acoustics don’t just design, manufacture and deliver market leading products. They work with the entire supply chain and project teams to ensure a smooth path from conception to completion.

Contact CMS Danskin Acoustics about your project.

Project: Open Plan Office at Rullion, Altrincham

Product: Timber Slat Wall Panels

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