Open Plan Acoustics

Optimal acoustics in the open plan office

The modern office design in most cases is open planned to allow flexibility, collaborative working and ease of communication. In this environment work groups often disturb each other.

We aim to raise awareness of the benefits of a good sound environment in open planned workspaces and to provide a complete solution to this acoustic challenge.

Good acoustics are essential for a creative, productive and profitable workplace. Those who have suffered from poor acoustics at work will testify to the crucial role acoustics play.

Achieving Optimal Acoustics (ISO 3382-3)

The principle aim of the new ISO 3382-3 testing standards for acoustics in open plan offices is to achieve good speech privacy between workstations, which will in turn promote all of the benefits detailed opposite. The following series of measurements as set out in the new ISO standard, help to determine acoustical performance in an open plan office and indicate how best to proceed with the positioning and quantity of acoustic systems in the acoustic design. The measurement methods and single number value targets are summarised below: -

> Spatial Decay | Here we measure how quickly normal speech decays over distance in the whole frequency range.

> SPL (sound pressure level) | Here the sound pressure level of normal speech is measured at a distance of 4.0m from the source of sound. We look to achieve a target value of

> Background Noise | No target value has been given in the ISO 3382-3 standards specification. So we recommend the Ecophon background noise level target of 35-40dB.

> Distraction Distance | This measures the distance from speaker where the STI (speech transition index) falls below 0.5. The STI value determines how clearly speech can be understood. The lower the distance the better sound environment. Target


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