Price and value - Good acoustics in schools and daycare centers

Acoustics in Schools
© Fraunhofer IBP
Installation times and costs of different acoustic systems.

The acoustics in many schools and daycare centers is still unsatisfactory. The people concerned complain about the acoustics both in older and new buildings. But the construction experts concerned are also unhappy when acoustics budgets are “sacrificed” early on in order to save money. In addition to ignorance and uncertainty about good acoustics and how much it costs, the time needed for planning and installation also plays an important role. This information was systematically processed in a study. Suitable options can be selected from the range of acoustic systems available on the market and the respective implementation costs can be calculated. As a result, school boards and local authorities are in a position to assess all relevant aspects and reach a reliable decision. Construction measures can generally only be carried out during school vacations. Therefore, the time required to implement the measures is also included in the study, thus enabling realistic plans to be drawn up.

Project goals

Measures against noise from outside or other disturbing noises depend on a building’s structure. When it comes to renovation measures, advice specifically related to the building concerned is indispensable. Room acoustics, on the other hand, are comparable in many schools and daycare centers because the room types and use are almost the same. Consequently, similar sets of measures can be taken. This is what this study focuses on. Commercially-available acoustics systems are grouped according to type and their costs are calculated. The equipment required depends on the geometry of the room, surface characteristics and the furnishings, meaning that combinations are possible. Using a model room, several combinations are presented that also meet common inclusion recommendations. The costs and implementation times of the various combinations are determined for the Stuttgart area. Since other rooms may differ from the model room, corresponding conversion factors show which data can be transferred to other locations and later refurbishment dates.

Current project status

Many suitable products and systems are available on the market which can be used to equip daycare centers and schools with good acoustics. The costs depend on the building structure, in particular on the volume of the room. The cheapest system for a room with a volume of 150 m³ costs around 3,000 € in Stuttgart today. However, solutions costing 14,000 € and more are also available. In a few special cases this may be justified, but for most of the time they are neither necessary nor cost-effective. The majority of solutions for typical room sizes can be purchased for less than €10,000, with the size of the room playing an almost proportional role. This information can be used to estimate the costs of acoustic refurbishments and to define reference points for checking price quotes. With this in mind, different combinations can be included in invitations to tender, for example, in order to obtain standardized offers. Detailed acoustic planning, including a measurement survey, is only necessary in special cases.  Most often, the impression of the room is a reliable guide.