Education and leisure hub puts focus on noise reduction

Acoustic performance and fire rating were at the top of the agenda for the doors at a new education and leisure build in Northumberland.

Doorset manufacturer Bridgman IBC supplied more than 600 doorsets for one of Northumberland County Council’s largest ever capital programmes. 

The new £43m facility education and leisure facility in Ponteland comprises a 52-place nursery, 420-pupil primary and 1,600-pupil secondary school all on the same site alongside a state-of-the art leisure centre, a café, sports bar and a library to serve not only the pupils but the whole local community. The development was designed by architects FaulknerBrowns and built by Kier Construction. FaulknerBrowns won Retail and Leisure Architect of the Year at the Building Design Architect of the Year Awards 2020.

The specification of the fire door and classroom doorsets required different levels of acoustic ratings across the piece. Norseal supplied Bridgman with NOR810 acoustic drop seals to meet the building’s 30, 35 and 41dB acoustic requirements with the two companies working closely together to meet the demanding manufacturing schedule. “Our manufacturing schedule for this project was challenging and we put pressure on Norseal to match it – they reacted positively every time and the whole project went smoothly as a result,” says Bridgman’s Stewart Hind.

Comfortable sound levels are one of the primary conditions necessary for an effective learning environment. If there are background noises or a high decibel rating inside a classroom, students could struggle to hear adequately, or may find discomfort from straining to hear. It’s also easier to become distracted. As such, acoustic design is an important aspect of regulations for school buildings: “Each room or other space in a school building shall be designed and constructed in such a way that it has the acoustic conditions and the insulation against disturbance by noise appropriate to its intended use.” These requirements within the Approved Documents apply specifically to teaching and learning spaces where the permissible upper limit for indoor ambient noise levels in a classroom, teaching area or small group roomis 35dBA for a new build and 40dBA
for a refurbishment. However, consideration may also be applied to adjoining areas that may impact on learning environments like corridors or meeting areas.

NOR810 is a single-actuated, bottom edge drop seal for acoustic and fire-rated timber doorsets. It has been tested to one million cycles to all appropriate standards: compliant with BS 476-22, smoke tested in accordance with BS 476-31.1 and acoustically tested in accordance with BS EN ISO 10140-2. It is available in 13  lengths as standard from 320-1535mm. Should a non-standard size be required, Norseal can cut accurately to any length to order using Europe’s first custom-made drop seal cutting machine.

Ponteland has been shortlisted in four categories at the Construction Excellence North East (CENE) awards: Integration and Collaboration, Innovation, Value, and Building Project of the Year categories. The awards take place in October.

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