Maintaining acoustic comfort in the wooden city

Barry Lee
Director of Design, Chairman
DBI, Gold Coast

Building materials are changing to enable more efficient and sustainable construction. As considerate engineers and designers, our common goal is to lower the carbon footprint of our cities while meeting and exceeding traditional performance standards. Timber construction for tall buildings is a natural choice in this evolution. Wood construction is faster, more efficient, and less expensive. But how do we ensure acoustic comfort in the wooden cities of the future?

Translating acoustic design for steel and concrete to mass timber is not a simple one-to-one. High performance structures demand sophisticated and delicate design approaches. This presentation will discuss the risks and rewards in acoustic design and vibration control for mass timber, comparing the qualitative and subjective differences and commonalities between mass timber and traditional concrete structures.

Vibration in long span floors can be a significant problem in any building; adding light weight wooden floor construction to the mix means the risk of perceptible vibration is even greater. Acoustic separation and changes to floor profile present other unique challenges in mass timber buildings, particularly crucial in taller buildings and mixed-use developments.

This presentation will outline the path around these obstacles, which is not always intuitive, and discuss achievable performance goals to deliver acoustic comfort and privacy. Together, we are building the design standards that will support smarter, sustainable cities, helping maintain and ultimately improve our standard of living in a rapidly changing world.

Accompanying PowerPoint Presentation