Acoustic comfort for workspaces

2020, January

Written by Lou Ancelin

94% of workers believe that their workplace has a huge impact on their well-being, health and professional performance. And the studies carried out on noise pollution suggest that they are right. From the environmental point of view, noise is defined as a discomfort experienced by those who are subjected to unwanted and excessive sound emission whose negative effects are not just confined to the auditory sphere but can be felt at physical, mental, intellectual and relational levels.

Nuisance sonore 
Background noise interferes with communication, breaks the concentration required for achieving particular tasks and is a possible cause of errors. It can degrade up to 30% of human memory capacity. Noise generates fatigue, ill-being and stress that can lead in the long run to chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, psycho-social disorders, depression or musculoskeletal problems..

80% of office employees consider their work environment to be detrimental to their concentration. In open space, it is worse: it has been calculated that the worker is interrupted on average every 11 minutes and that it takes him 25 minutes to concentrate again on his task. Noise can have therefore negative economic impact on business!

Standards and regulations
Before 2006, the standards were unclear and difficult to be used by the construction operators who generally rely on Wisner curves which define sound environments limits and third sector employees tolerance levels for noise, depending on the difficulty of their assigned tasks.


In zone 1, intellectual work, even complex and demanding a great concentration, is carried out without any discomfort. In zone 2, complex intellectual work can become painful, routine tasks, administrative or commercial, are not hindered. In zone 3, complex intellectual work is extremely arduous and routine work is difficult. In zone 4, prolonged exposure can lead to deafness.

In 2006, NF S 31-080 supplement the standard. It deals with offices and associated spaces acoustic quality: individual and collective offices, open spaces, modular areas, meeting rooms, lounges, restaurant room and traffic areas.

In that same year, promulgation of the HQE certification «acoustic comfort: ninth health target». In 2007, AFNOR commission S30D: "Open Office Acoustics: Programming, Design and Use" standard is implemented and in 2012, ISO 3382-3: "Acoustics: Measurement of Room Acoustic Parameters – Open Offices". This standard is currently used by the vast majority of European research departments in acoustics.
Finally, in 2016, appears the NF S31-199 standard, the one used today in the French study offices.

An effective solution: floor insulation
Many research offices in acoustics carry out analyses and design soundproofing solutions to bring workspaces in line with existing regulations and standards.

The solutions are varied: stationary and mobile acoustic pads, wall or ceiling panels, privacy booths, absorbent furniture, acoustic floor coverings... These must be resilient and flexible to be effective and mitigate the reverberation of sound. For this reason, carpets, by their very nature, perform well in this field.

Some of the TecSOM collections have a large sound absorption capacity reaching 28 dB. But to go further in terms of efficiency, our Research and Development team has developed a recycled fiber acoustic underlay that significantly increases insulation performance and can be adapted to all our products.

Photo sous couche acoustique.


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