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NRC studies ways of trapping sound in buildings

The revamped National Research Council of Canada is continuing to research construction technologies as part of its "Building Regulations for Market Access" initiative.


The revamped National Research Council of Canada is continuing to research construction technologies as part of its “Building Regulations for Market Access” initiative.

Among the NRC’s research projects is one to find better ways of controlling sound transmission in multi-family dwellings.

As reported in the NRC’s newsletter, proposed changes to the requirements for airborne sound transmission are in the public review stage and if approved will be in the 2015 edition of the National Building Code.

The proposals include a rating for complete building systems, which will be in an Apparent Sound Transmission Class (ASTC). The ASTC “is a truer measure of the actual sound level perceived by occupants… as it includes flanking noise that is transmitted through wall, ceiling and floor junctions,” says the NRC. Controlling noise through these junctions requires careful attention to detail and for that purpose NRC is currently working with manufacturers and designers to develop cost-effective products and systems.

NRC is also conducting collaborative research in its laboratories with Health Canada and manufacturers to develop a technical framework for assessing indoor air quality products and systems, such as filters. The framework could also be used for developing performance-based regulations for indoor air quality in buildings. Currently, building codes mandate only the rates of air ventilation, not the air quality performance.

Another area of collaborative research is finding new technologies and design approaches to enhance the energy efficiency of building envelopes. NRC is studying a rating system to measure the combined effect of good thermal insulation and exceptional airtightness in an envelope. These elements are currently treated as separate criteria in assessing envelope performance.

To read about other NRC initiatives in Construction Innovations, March 2014 (Vol. 18, No. 3), click here.