Re: noise
From: Kay Argyle (
Date: Wed, 4 Jun 2003 12:56:05 -0600 (MDT)
The most effective noise policy is to emphasize to your architect that noise
control is a high priority, even if it costs more.  That could make a noise
policy after move-in completely unnecessary.

Wasatch Commons' (social) noise policy was created after move-in -- quiet
hours between 9 p.m. and 7(?) a.m.  During the summer it moves back to 10
p.m.  Parties are expected to adhere to this unless okayed with impacted
households in advance.  Noise from kids was one trigger -- aside from
stressed-out grownups, kids with early bedtimes didn't settle down well
hearing everyone else still playing.   Even normal conversational volume is
a problem at late hours, since people's windows are only about ten to
fifteen feet from the central path.

Fortunately we don't have anyone who plays loud music outside (at least,
only noncoho neighbors, so the music has further to carry).

Our units have pretty good sound insulation.  Exterior walls are constructed
from R-Control panel, which is a sandwich of styrofoam-like material between
pressboard.  Walls between adjoining units have offset studs -- that is,
instead of attaching to both walls, the two-by-fours only attach to one,
alternating sides, with an inch or so of space between each two-by-four and
the other wall.  A blanket of insulation weaves through the open spaces.  I
can occasionally hear a faint noise from the washing machine or stereo in
the other side of our duplex.

Unfortunately rooms within a unit are not at all isolated acoustically -- to
watch tv after I've gone to bed, my roommate has to huddle within a couple
of feet of it with the volume as far down as it will go without being off.

An even worse problem is noise inside the common house -- not just the usual
too-noisy dining room, but noise transmission from one room to another.  Our
architect was big on open plan architecture and connected spaces.  The
dining room & sitting room are joined by large openings above head-height, a
shared fireplace, and two doorways.  The loft was supposed to be an exercise
area.  The upstairs guest room has interior windows opening onto the
downstairs hallway where the other guest room is.

The place is a nightmare acoustically -- the treadmill's thunka-thunka
reverberated through the whole building, a downstairs guest tiptoeing in
late wakes up the upstairs guest, and people lingering at the dining room
tables to chat after dinner interfere with people trying to hold a meeting
or watch a dvd in the sitting room.  The exercise equipment got moved first
into the downstairs guest room, then upstairs in the workshop.

The idea was to have multipurpose spaces, but apparently it never occurred
to the architect that activities might overlap in time, not just space!

In short -- noise is only a minor problem where it was planned for, and a
major headache where it was not.

argyle @

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  • noise Diana Carroll, May 22 2003
    • Re: noise Sharon Villines, May 22 2003
      • Re: noise Kay Argyle, June 4 2003

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