The sound of music silenced...with Selectaglaze secondary glazing

Built in 1894, the magnificent Grade II listed “Old College Building” in Central London houses the City University’s School of Arts. The building is currently undergoing a major three-stage refurbishment, the first of which was recently completed. The £9m project includes the refurbishment and development of a suite of music rehearsal rooms and the conversion of the garden and paved patio area into a state-of-the-art concert hall.

An essential part of the first stage was to ensure maximum noise insulation from both inside and outside the music rehearsal rooms.

Working closely with main contractor Verry Construction, Royal Warrant Holder Selectaglaze installed a combination of their Series 40 Fixed Lights and Series 40 Side Hung secondary glazed casements, many of which featured arched heads. An acoustic lining was fitted between the original primary windows and the secondary glazed units and, when tested, this combination exceeded the required noise insulation levels.

Secondary glazing, not to be confused with double-glazing, involves the installation of an additional internal window. In addition to noise insulation, secondary glazing will improve energy efficiency and provide increased security. The product is particularly appropriate for exam rooms, music rooms, computer labs and secure reception areas.

Building Bulletin 93 – Acoustic Design of Schools – recognises that teaching and learning activities can be greatly affected by unwanted noise. The ambient noise level in classrooms and libraries should not rise above 35dB and in music rooms this reduces to 30dB. Many schools and colleges suffer from intense traffic noise with busy roads generating levels of 65-80dB. Sound reductions typically between 35dB and 45dB are therefore needed, but most primary windows will achieve no more than 30dB, reducing to 25dB or less if the windows are ill-fitting.

Selectaglaze secondary windows, tested at Taywood Laboratories, can achieve a sound level reduction of 45dB – rising to more than 50dB if specialist acoustic glass is specified. The results are achieved through tightly engineered systems, high performance seals and an air gap between the windows of 100mm or more.

Selectaglaze secondary windows are purpose made with a wide choice of styles and finishes. They are fully factory assembled allowing rapid installation with minimal disruption to teaching schedules and work is often arranged during holiday periods. They do not alter the appearance of the property, offering an ideal solution for buildings that are listed or in conservation areas and can be fitted in stages to suit budgets.

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