December 1, 2021

Playing down the noise

Poole House

Balancing of major construction work to create a ‘world-class learning environment’ whilst enabling students to still concentrate on their courses is being achieved in part through screening technology from Gilberts Blackpool.

Bournemouth University is investing up to £250m in redevelopment of the campus, through new buildings and redesigning work up to 2019. A key part is rejuvenating the existing Poole House, with the relocation of the University’s Design & Engineering Innovation Centre, plus engineering and woodworking workshops into the building. The compound housing the plant for the Design & Engineering Innovation Centre workshops faces the courtyard entrance to Poole House, one of the main access points to the campus.

Main contractor Kier Construction turned to the UK’s leading independent air movement specialist, Gilberts Blackpool to help devise a solution to minimise the external impact of the compound. The screening also had to accommodate aesthetics of the building height variation- the ground floor, single storey plant area abutting a two storey building.

Gilberts’ answer was its Series 15 acoustic weather louvres. Gilberts manufactured a three-sided acoustically treated louvre screen measuring12m x 3.75m, and a further three-sided dummy screen measuring 12m x 5.925m, each with integrated double doors for access into the compound. An additional four dummy louvre screens, each 5.2m x 1.1m with a single door, have been sited on the roof parapet of the single storey centre, to provide architectural synergy with aluminium windows on the first floor of the abutting element of Poole House.

“Gilberts had the ability to adjust the louvre construction depending on acoustic attenuation required, creation of a purely aesthetic enclosure to cover a large dust extract unit, plus sound reduction for the separate plant room housing a compressor and chilled water generator.

“We also had to address the height variation of the building- the plant area is a single storey section of Poole House, attached to a multi-storey building that houses the rest of the faculty,” explained Russell Evans, Senior Project Manager for Bournemouth University’s Estates Group.

Added Rob Hassall, Kier QS for the project: “Gilberts Series 15, with its modular approach, could accommodate the scale of the screening. The company’s in-house design and testing capabilities meant we could achieve the high level of acoustic attenuation required, and have matching dummy louvres, all of which could be modified as necessary to fit within steelwork and accommodate ducting for dust extraction.”

Russell Evans continued: “These new developments will help us achieve our vision of providing world-class facilities for a world-class university, so that we can continue to develop global talent.”

Gilberts’ series 15 acoustic weather louvre screens are slimline, just 150mm deep, and of modular design, with panels ranging from 300 x 300 to 1500 x 2000mm. They can deliver noise reduction of up to 17dB, depending on octave band (6dB(A) or Rw13), with a low pressure drop (15Pa @ 1.5m/s face velocity).

Gilberts also offers the systems in a continuous effect format, omitting the vertical joint lines. The system is also available in aluminium, providing the advantage of a lower unit weight.

The acoustic louvres are just part of Gilberts’ range of louvres, grilles and diffusers that have established it as Britain’s leading independent air movement specialist with solutions for mechanical and natural ventilation in commercial applications.

Founded 55 years ago, Gilberts Blackpool is unique in its ability to develop components- whether ‘mainstream’ or bespoke – entirely in-house, from initial design through tooling, production, testing and supply, at its 90,000 sq ft manufacturing facility. Its state of the art test centre, designed and built in-house, is one of the most technically advanced in the country.