Building Bulletin 93: acoustic design of schools
The Building Bulletin 93 ‘Acoustic Design of Schools: A Design Guide’ was published by the Department for Education and Skills in 2003. The purpose of the bulletin was to provide support and guidance for acoustic considerations when planning and designing schools, and to outline methods for compliance with the Building Regulations.
Suboptimal acoustic conditions within a teaching area can negatively affect pupils’ attainment, with those individuals with hearing impairments, speech, language or communication difficulties being particularly vulnerable. In addition, teachers may suffer with strained voices resulting in voice loss and a reduction in the control of classroom noise. Building Bulletin 93 was intended to address these problems by establishing a set of minimum standards.
 Outline content
- Section 1: Specification of acoustic performance (now superseded, see note below). This section is intended for designers and building control bodies and provides compliance targets for the Building Regulations (as amended) that, ‘Each room or other space in a school building shall have the acoustic conditions and the insulation against disturbance by noise appropriate to its normal use’. It also provides methods for demonstrating compliance to Building Control and the tests that are required as part of the building contract.
- Section 2 – Noise control: This provides guidance on undertaking a survey of the site and how to plan the school to minimise noise. Recommendations are also provided on maximum external noise levels for playing fields and other outdoor areas.
- Section 3 – Sound insulation: This section provides recommendations on construction to help meet sound insulation requirements.
- Section 4/5 – The design of rooms for speech and music: These sections provide information on various aspects of acoustic design for speech and music.
- Section 6 – Acoustic design and equipment for people with special hearing requirements: Guidance is provided on design details for pupils with hearing impairments and special hearing requirements.
- Section 7 – Case studies: In Section 7, case studies are provided demonstrating the most important acoustic design considerations.
 Revisions in 2014
Consultation was undertaken in early 2014 on revised guidelines. A response to the consultation was published in December 2014 and new standards, Acoustic design of schools: performance standards were published on 18 December 2014.
The new standards came into effect immediately and superseded section 1 of Building Bulletin 93.
 Other guidance
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki.
- Airborne sound.
- Baseline designs for schools.
- Building acoustics.
- Building regulations.
- Flanking sound.
- Free schools.
- Impact sound.
- Noise nuisance.
- Sound absorption.
- Sound insulation.
- Sound v noise.
- Structure-borne sound.
 External references
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