A GUIDE FOR SOUNDPROOFING PUBS AND CLUBS
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"In 2006 noisy pubs, clubs & entertainment venues affected over 5 million people in the UK that is approx 9 % of the population." (Source is a Mori Poll conducted in 2006)
Our research would suggest this has dramatically increased in the last 2 years.
Noise produced from music or entertainment inside a Nightclub or pub can be very loud and is a common noise problem. Due to the nature of this type of noise and it's volume, there is only so much that can be done to reduce it. Here you can read some usefule information that will help contain loud noise as much as possible without rebuilding the property.
Can I use egg box foam on the walls and ceiling to stop loud music leaving my premises?
The simple answer is no. If you have a noisy venue that can be heard outside the premises you need to soundproofing. Adding acoustic foam or sound absorbing products will only reduce the echo and reverberation in the room and although helpful, is not enough on its own. See more about this at the bottom of the page.
where is my noise escaping from?
Noise is like air and will escape from anywhere it can. It normally leaves a room through gaps around windows, doors, ventilation ducts etc. It will also travel easily through lightweight structures such as windows, stud walls and timber joisted floors and ceilings. Noise can also travel through the structure of the building into adjacent buildings, particularly when high volumes of music are being produced.
how do i stop it leaving through my doors?
To reduce sound leakage around and through a door, the door should be thick and heavy and sealed all around the edges including the threshold. Our acoustic seals can be used for this. This means a seal will sit in the door jam around the sides and the top and a threshold seal that seals the bottom of the door. We supply ready to install kits that will help this. See HERE.
For best results, the door should be a solid core fire door with at least a 60 minute rating. These can be bought from most reputable timber suppliers as well as some builders merchants and offer good sound blocking qualities.
my doors are open a lot of the time...what can i do?
If your outer door is open a large amount of the time you will need to build a lobby type arrangement. Like the picture shown (left).
If you have a noise problem you will be unable to have a through draft and let fresh air enter though an open doorway. Both these doors should be heavy as previously described and also require Acoustic Seals with automatic door closers. Ideally they should never both be open at the same time.
If you do not have a lobby arrangement you can easily build one using our materials and a double stud frame. See here for more info.
I am also worried about my windows what can i do with them?
The best way to reduce noise through a window is to brick the space up with high density building blocks. If this is not an option then you will need to add secondary glazing. The thicker the glass the better.
Most venues will have double glazing installed. This on its own is not enough to reduce loud noise leaving the venue. We would advise installing a secondary glazing panel of double glazing using thicker glass or laminated glass as far away from the existing window as possible. This will give you secondary glazing similar to the photo on the left. Generally speaking the bigger the air gap between the windows the better the sound reduction and acoustic insulation will be.
If you are unable to do this then your only option is to build a removeable window plug. Or build 18mm MDF shutters to move in front of the windows when loud music is being produced. See our article on this HERE
i have some holes in my walls and ductwork what can be done with that?
Any holes in the wall or ductwork that carries air in our out of the premises will also let sound pass through them.
If the duct is large you will need to construct an external box which covers the exit and allows the sound to be baffled using our acoustic foam. You will obviously need to let the air out / in but this box will baffle as much as the sound as possible.
We would suggest you build a box with 18mm MDF or ply and line it with 25mm thick Acoustic Foam. See example diagram left. The box would need to be weather proof and if inside the premises can be lined with 25mm thick fire retardant acoustic foam. We would advise directing the open end at the ground to protect it from outside elements and ensuring a grill is placed over the exit to stop wildlife climbing inside. The Z shape of the box is very important in its effectiveness. The sound will hit each wall as it passes through and the more walls it hits the more reduction is given. The thinner you can make the z part of the box the better. Alternatively, build the trunking with a right angle bend which will also give efficient sound loss as noise passes through it.
If you have a small air vent we would advise using one of our Acoustic Vents These will not reduce exceptionally loud noise but will help reduce the sound of talking and cheering etc.
Can i do anything with my speakers to reduce the problem?
Moving the speakers will not make a huge difference to the sound leaving the room. If the speakers are mounted on a wall or ceiling we would advise removing them. Attaching a speaker to a wall or ceiling will mean that the surface vibrates and this will radiate along and through the walls.
To reduce structure borne transmission, we advise siting the speakers on our Vibration Pad which will decouple and reduce the structural transmission of sound.
If you have a lot of bands or DJ's playing at your venue it would be advisable to run sound tests and maybe add a limiter to the amplifiers. This would mean when the sound reaches a certain controlled level it would cut the amp and the music would stop. It may also be possible to limit the noise output from these so that it will not exceed any level that it has been pre-set at. Whilst this may help you keep your licence it may annoy the band or DJ. For more info on this click HERE
can i Soundproof my stage or walls ?
If you use a stage or performing platform ensure that there is some good Acoustic Mineral Wool underneath and some Soundproofing Mat on the top of the stage. This will help reduce the resonance that a hollow stage will produce. In some cases, stages or platforms that performers use can be isolated using resilient anti-vibration mats.
The walls of your venue need to ideally be concrete block or brick walls. Lightweight plasterboard or block walls do not offer sufficient sound blocking properties. Lightweight acoustic insulation like standard density Rockwool will NOT reduce sound leaving the premises although it will help improve the sound insulation of lightweight stud walls and timber joisted floors and ceilings.
If you wish to up rate any walls please see the various solutions we have HERE and call our technical team on 0845 363 7131 to discuss the options.
Can i stick sound absorbing products to the wall to reduce the sound?
When a pub or club gets busy and many people are talking there can sometimes be a battle to hear a conversation. This is normally because the overall sound in the room is bouncing off reflective hard surfaces such as wooden floors, wall and ceilings.
Because of the overall volume of noise generated by the customers, bands and discos tend to turn up their music so it can still be heard. In order to reduce the level of sound within a room you can install soft sound absorbing materials that are fixed to the walls and ceilings. These absorbers will reduce noise from bouncing around within a room and make conversation easier to hear. Staff will not have to shout to be heard and will more easily be able to hear orders being placed more clearly.
So the answer is, Yes. Using sound absorbers can help reduce the overall sound leaving the building as by using them less sound is generated in the first place.
However, using sound absorbers alone will not soundproof a building. If you are unsure what to use then just ask us.
is there any point in doing all this?
Yes there is. If you've had noise complaints from neighbours your local environmental health officer may well have been called. They have the power to remove your public performer's license until you have taken necessary steps to reduce the sound.
By following our guide and showing this to them you can prove you are taking the matter seriously and doing all you can to reduce the problem. Failure to take remedial measures to control any noise from being heard outside of your premises could result in the local authority serving you with a Noise Abatement Notice. This would mean you are then legally obliged to reduce the noise from your premises or risk being closed down.
The information in this article is given in good faith. The advice above will help reduce noise pollution. For premises that have a severe noise problem, we would advise a noise survey is conducted by an Acoustic consultant who will them make recommendations to achieve a solution. When this has been done, we can then supply any of the materials necessary to achieve that solution. Most noise consultants charge about £300/day plus expenses and we will be pleased to give details of the nearest consultants if required. Please email email@example.com or call 0845 363 7131 for more info.
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