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Open-Plan Offices

    Since the 1970's, the ubiquitous open-plan office has been with us; first as a neat method to make a more friendly working environment, and later as an economy measure which allows maximum flexibility in long-term facilities planning since no permanent walls or partitions are required over major areas, or over an entire building floor.

   Open-plan offices can be made to have an acceptable acoustical work environment, but like everything else, compromises must be struck. In particular, three parameters must be designed and controlled in installation:

    ° The entire office ceiling must completely absorb speech sounds.

    ° Absorptive sound barriers which extend from the floor to above head height must be installed between every individual work station.

    ° The background sound level (HVAC combined with masking sound) must be broad band and within a very narrow loudness range, typically  43 dBA to 46 dBA, with a spectrum like NC-40.

    Selection and physical arrangement of components (ceiling, dividers, masking sound) is made with he aid of test data derived from special laboratory tests. See  Open-Office Test Loudspeaker

    Variation from these requirements will produce less than ideal - and often inadequate - results leading to chronic employee complaints and dissatisfaction.

    We routinely work with architects, engineers, facilities planners and department supervisors to achieve these ideal results. Please feel free to inquire.

    See also Open-Office Test Loudspeaker.

Last updated 26-Nov-2005.

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