Acoustic Performance in Buildings: Meeting the Standards

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Webinar On-Demand
Sponsored by ROCKFON
Presented by Gary Madaras, PhD

Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe how noise impacts occupant health and well-being in a variety of building types.
  2. Compare and contrast some of the building standards, guidelines and rating systems that include acoustics requirements, along with those that are specific to certain building types.
  3. Describe how meeting acoustic standards can translate into financial savings over the course of a building’s life.
  4. Describe the four major components of acoustic performance described in most standards.


1 GBCI CE Hour
AAA 1 Structured Learning Hour
This course can be self-reported to the AANB, as per their CE Guidelines
AAPEI 1 Structured Learning Hour
MAA 1 Structured Learning Hour
This course can be self-reported to the NLAA.
This course can be self-reported to the NSAA
NWTAA 1 Structured Learning Hour
OAA 1 Learning Hour
SAA 1 Hour of Core Learning
This course can be self-reported to the AIBC, as per their CE Guidelines.
This course is approved as a Structured Course
This course can be self-reported to the AANB, as per their CE Guidelines
Approved for structured learning
Approved for Core Learning
This course can be self-reported to the NLAA
Course may qualify for Learning Hours with NWTAA
Course eligible for OAA Learning Hours
This course is approved as a core course
This course can be self-reported for Learning Units to the Architectural Institute of British Columbia
This test is no longer available for credit

Noise can impact the health and well-being of building occupants, and acoustic performance is a critical component of overall indoor environmental quality. In addition, investing in acoustic performance can yield long-term, measurable financial benefits, from improved performance and productivity to a better occupant experience. More and more building standards, guidelines and rating systems require high sound absorption to reduce reverberation and control noise, providing speech intelligibility in assembly spaces, privacy in individual spaces and comfort all over. However, there is at times a disconnect between these industry standards and best practices and what is implemented in actual buildings.

This course will introduce some of the standards, guidelines and rating systems applicable to acoustic performance, including those specific to educational, healthcare, and office spaces. It will also review the four aspects of acoustics referenced in these standards: Absorption, interior isolation, mechanical noise, and exterior isolation. Finally, we will look at some of the disparities between what the standards recommend and what actually happens in the field. While the focus will be on interior absorption and isolation, the course will cover general recommendations for exterior noise transmission into the building and background sound levels that will help specifiers meet most standards and contribute to productive and comfortable spaces. Case studies will be used to help illustrate points.

Acoustic Performance

Photo courtesy of Corgan


Gary Madaras, PhD With experience and graduate degrees in Acoustics (Ph.D.), Architecture (M.Arch.) and Business (M.B.A.), Dr. Madaras brings a broad skillset to any auditory challenge. Most of Dr. Madaras’ 20-year career has been as an Acoustics Consultant with firms such as Jaffe Holden Acoustics, Talaske and PMK Consultants. His project experience includes a wide variety of educational, cultural, civic, hospitality, healthcare, worship, corporate, multi-family residential and entertainment facilities. Dr. Madaras has been awarded the Robert B. Newman Award for Merit in Architectural Acoustics and his research has won an award from the Institute of Noise Control Engineering. His work in architectural acoustics has been featured in a series of commARCH video podcasts, on Wall Street Journal Television and inside the Construction Specifier, Medical Construction & Design and Building Design + Construction magazines.

In the past, Dr. Madaras specialized in the design of large assembly spaces for performing arts and education. He currently specializes in the acoustics of healthcare facilities and is the Chairperson of the Healthcare Acoustics Subcommittee for the Acoustical Society of America. Dr. Madaras works frequently with organizations such as the National Institute of Building Sciences, National Institutes of Health and Green Building Initiative to evolve acoustical design standards for buildings. He lectures frequently at professional meetings, conferences and trade shows in the architecture, acoustics and healthcare industries.


ROCKFON Rockfon provides customers with a complete ceiling system offering, combining stone wool ceiling panels with suspension grid systems, metal ceiling solutions, and now wood ceilings. Our products help create beautiful, comfortable spaces. Easy to install and durable, they protect people from noise and the spread of fire while making a constructive contribution toward a sustainable future.


Originally published in June 2021