Friday, 26th February 2021

Acoustics, Ventilation and Overheating Residential Design Guide – One Year On

Nigel Burton, Director from the Noise and Vibration team takes a look back at Acoustics, Ventilation and Overheating Residential Design Guide (The AVO Guide),  a little over 12 months since the official launch of the Association of Noise Consultants

For anyone not aware, the AVO Guide recommends an approach to acoustic assessments for new residential development that takes due regard to the interdependence of provisions for acoustics, ventilation and overheating so in essence helps to address the “it’s very quiet inside if you keep the windows tightly shut and never open them” scenarios of old.

I’ve used the Guide several times over the last year on various projects and have been pleasantly surprised by how it has been embraced not only by acousticians but by mechanical engineers and architects alike. Recognising where external noise levels are likely to be a cause for concern, particularly during the summer months when historically we’d throw open our windows and acoustically all bets were off, is fundamental to helping us design better and more liveable homes for their future inhabitants.

The AVO Guide includes a two-level assessment procedure for consideration of the overheating condition. Level 1 is a site risk assessment based on the existing external noise levels and the assumption that opening windows is the primary means of mitigating overheating.  The results of the Level 1 assessment provide guidance on whether appropriate internal noise levels will be achieved or whether further consideration is required with a subsequent Level 2 assessment.

Like most things, there are no quick fixes and the earlier we, as acousticians, can be engaged in the design of residential buildings, the better. Development of suitable ventilation and overheating mitigation / cooling strategies in even moderately noisy environments needs acoustic input to avoid challenging and potentially costly redesign later down the line.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the document, if this the first you’ve heard of it, you can download a copy from the ANC’s website: