Vibration within buildings can have a detrimental effect upon people’s health and quality of life. Human perception of vibration begins at levels far below those where any cosmetic or structural issues in buildings arise and can negatively impact upon sleep or the ability to carry out tasks requiring concentration.
Some buildings contain areas that are very sensitive to vibration. Hospitals, data centres and laboratories often utilise equipment such as microscopes, electronics and surgical equipment, all of which are highly vibration sensitive. These buildings also commonly contain large plantrooms and significant amounts of M&E equipment, requiring careful consideration of vibration control.
Other sensitive buildings include recording studios, radio studios and musical performance spaces where high levels of vibration control is required in order to prevent re-radiated (rumble) noise from vibration sources, which may include transportation sources outside the building, or M&E services noise within the building.
In extreme cases, high levels of vibration can ultimately result in permanent damage to buildings.
Miller Goodall’s acoustic consultants can help you to establish appropriate vibration targets within buildings, assist in developing measures to reduce vibration and undertake a range of vibration measurements and assessments.
External sources: construction
Where vibration effects arise from construction activities, these are usually transient and short-term in nature, so control of the impact on human receptors around a construction site is generally best done via best practicable means operations and appropriate communication between the site operators and those residents or workers in the local area.
Where unavoidable construction activities are in close proximity to a sensitive building, it will sometimes be necessary to continually monitor vibration levels. Miller Goodall has experience in undertaking short-term and long-term vibration monitoring at sensitive receptors adjacent to construction works. It is also possible for alarm systems to be deployed that warn site operatives that vibration levels at critical receptors are at, or approaching, pre-set limits. Results of monitoring are presented for future reference or distribution to key stakeholders.
Vibration of this kind is measured in Peak Particle Velocity (PPV) and generic criteria is taken from BS5228-2:2009+A1:2014 – Code of practice for noise and vibration control on construction and open sites – Part 2: Vibration.
External sources: transportation
Where a buildingdevelopment is planned in close proximity to road and rail sources, the transmission of groundborne vibration into a structure can have an adverse effect on future occupants of thebuilding.
Vibration of this kind is measuredin terms of theVibration Dose Value (VDV) when it may have a generally disturbing effect on building occupants, for examplein residential or office buildings. VDV is measured over a whole daytime and/or night-time period. Guidance on the assessment of human exposure to vibration in buildings is given in BS 6472:2008.
Internal sources: building services vibration
Building services equipment located within and upon buildings is a common cause of vibration. Plantrooms are often filled with equipment that generates vibration. Large rotating items such as pumps and fans (including AHUs, chillers, etc) and electrical items such as transformers can all generate significant levels of vibration which, unless adequately controlled, can readily propagate through buildings and lead to potential complaints.
Vibration control is usually undertaken in conjunction with the equipment suppliers and typical measures include ensuring that the equipment is placed upon suitable spring or rubber vibration isolators and that ductwork and pipes are effectively isolated form the building structure.
In extreme cases, it is sometimes more efficient to provide acoustic floating floors to plantrooms.
Internal sources: gymnasium/sports vibration
Vibration can also be generated by a building’s human occupants. In recent years, the proliferation of gyms and sports facilities within multi-use buildings has resulted in an increased risk of vibration-related complaints from other building occupants. Activities including weightlifting, free weights and aerobics classes generate very high levels of vibration.
Miller Goodall can assist in developing appropriate specifications for vibration damping floor finishes and constructions, to reduce levels at source.
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