Acoustic Control in Open Plan Office Environments

Categories: Insight

The impact of a noisy, open plan office on employee productivity and wellbeing is well-documented and can leave staff disengaged and unmotivated in their work environment.  Through the specification of sound absorbing acoustic products such as SAS International’s ceiling rafts and baffles, it is possible to create an environment which offers acoustic comfort for employees, whilst at the same time creating an aesthetically striking interior design.

At the design stage of any commercial office environment, early consideration and planning for optimum sound absorption is essential, otherwise open plan spaces can become noisy or reverberant, with uncomfortable ambient noise levels. SAS International’s acoustic and design consultants work with architects to specify the most appropriate ceiling product for their buildings’ design that meet industry and legislative standards as well as other requirements such as ease of access to hidden services like lighting, heating and cooling.

Ceiling finishes can either be suspended in a horizontal or vertical plane. Vertically suspended ceiling baffles, such as SAS’ visually engaging SAS500 range, obscure what is above and offer an attractive acoustic ceiling to specifiers seeking an exposed soffit for thermal mass cooling. Used to absorb noise in buildings, they can be suspended as individual modules or continual unbroken runs. They form a shadow, but still allow complete access into the ceiling zone. The sound absorption of an array depends upon the size of each baffle and the spacing between each one. 

Suspended ceiling rafts including the SAS600 range are even more effective at absorbing and reducing sound. Offering functionality and stunning visuals, these rafts can feature curved bullnoses, formed using the latest folding technology, which stop dirt and dust gathering and provide ease of cleaning. Rafts can be designed with swing down panels providing access for any essential maintenance to services behind.

With office millennials more concerned about their health and wellbeing than ever before, the acoustic success of an office environment has never been more important. A good office design must deliver effective control of noise, which is why designers are turning to the versatility and striking aesthetics of ceiling rafts and baffles to help create an acoustic landscape that positively impacts on the productivity and wellbeing of building occupants.