Industrial Noise & Vibration Centre

+44 1753 698 800

Environmental Noise Measurement

Noise measurement, monitoring, prediction and analysis – plus more …

In addition to conventional environmental noise measurement and monitoring, we add complaint cause/source identification and noise control options. This is a more effective way to address problems in meeting noise specifications or to eliminate complaints.

Despite classic environmental noise measurements to BS 4142, BS 5228 etc being technically very simple, it is estimated by the regulators that >80% of reports are seriously inadequate. In particular, unnecessary or inappropriate use of BS 4142 is rife, wasting time and money and exposing local residents to prolonged periods of unnecessary stress.

The environmental noise industry is largely predicated not only on measurement, but also on measurement, with a general truly abysmal lack of knowledge about analysis and mitigation. We train the Environment Agencies and EHOs in noise analysis, interpretation and control best practice as part of a push to improve the general quality of noise reporting and complaint management. As a result, our Noise Management Plans (NMPs) for environmental permits are at the cutting edge of current technology, making the process both faster and much more cost effective.

Environment Agencies, Env. Health organisations, consultants and companies routinely use our free smartphone/email noise analysis service to get definitive problem diagnoses plus costed evaluations of mitigation best practice.

BS 4142: use and misuse

Used appropriately, BS 4142 is a very effective tool. In addition to carrying out benchmark BS 4142 assessments, we can also advise whether there's a simple, low-cost alternative and how to avoid the common misuses of the standard described below.

  • Not appropriate: costly BS 4142 assessment are often commissioned when there have been multiple complaints. This wastes resources and delays mitigation as the sole purpose of the standard is to assess if complaints are likely. Instead, determine the precise cause of the complaints and identify the noise control options. This is faster, much lower cost, and leads to a rapid resolution. We can often provide this source identification with costed mitigation options from smartphone recordings by email within hours. Compare this with the weeks of organisation (weather etc) and reporting required for a BS 4142 assessment that simply tells you that the complaints you've had were likely...

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Spectrum Analyser app
  • Tonal noise: a common cause of complaints. EHO and consultant listen to the site noise. Consultant: “There's no tone, so no penalty”. EHO: “There is a tone, so you should reduce site noise by a factor of x4 (6dB)”. If the EHO view prevails, the cost is very high. If the consultant prevails, no cost - but complaints continue. The company could waste a small fortune based on the subjective impression of a tone.

We always include objective tonal analysis in our BS 4142 assessments as it is best practice - but, sadly, remarkably rare. It removes subjective interpretation and provides pinpoint diagnosis for low-cost mitigation. As there are very capable free phone apps, you have to question the usefulness of reports that only include octave and 1/3 octave frequency analyses of tonal sources.

This also applies to the process involved in developing Noise and Vibration Management Plans (NMPs) for environmental permits - most of which, according to the regulators, are inadequate.

Noise prediction - 3D computer modeling

3D noise prediction computer model

For more complex projects involving multiple noise sources and geometries, for planning new builds or modifying existing installations, we can generate sophisticated computer noise models to predict the levels of environmental sound.

These 3D and 2D models allow us to predict noise levels at nearby noise-sensitive receptors quickly and accurately and to evaluate the effects of geometry or noise source location changes. They can also be used to optimise noise control measures to minimise noise impacts or to meet regulatory requirements. This includes the use of barriers, silencers, absorbent panels, repositioning of components, alternative materials and more.

Noise contour heat maps

3d computer noise model heat map

Noise contour maps such as this are also invaluable to provide clear, simple communication of the interaction between the installation and the noise sources with noise-sensitive receivers. This can be particularly helpful for planning permission noise assessments and for the evaluation of potential noise control options.

In addition to the traditional noise control measures usually incorporated into noise modeling (enclosures, barriers etc), we also add unique engineering mitigation measures that reduce noise at source. This enables us not only to cut the costs of noise control dramatically, but also to increase the accuracy of low-frequency noise feature prediction. This approach results in much better and more reliable modeling to eliminate the complaints that can occur despite the fact that planning noise specifications have been met.

Noise and vibration management plans - environmental permits

Noise modeling can also be useful when developing Noise Management Plans (NMPs) - provided they include the latest options re noise analysis and control and are carried out with expert knowledge of the subjective effects of noise. Noise models are too often based on unrealistic assumptions without including low frequency and tonal noise elements.

Environmental Noise Training

Take advantage of the same noise training courses used by the Environment Agency and Environmental Health departments across the country.

Construction - Demolition - Infrastructure - BS 5228 - Section 61

BAA Heathrow Express tunnel piling noise and vibration

We not only provide a full range of conventional noise measurement and monitoring services covering all aspects of environmental noise (and vibration) for the construction, demolition and infrastructure industries, but also a range of additional innovative management and control techniques based on our unique engineering expertise.

These are not only re-defining what constitutes best practice under the regulations and standards, but are also dramatically reducing project costs and delays. In many cases, we can also use our experience and expertise to dramatically reduce the number of monitors that are typically suggested, providing further substantial reductions in cost and hassle.

Our reputation is based on the results we have achieved from introducing new procedures and techniques into major projects such as Earls Court, London (the largest demolition project in the world), The Shard of Glass, Chelsea Barracks demolition, Heathrow Express tube station piling and many others.

Noise – Vibration – Dust – Project Management Web Portal

Reduce the cost of environmental data management and reporting

Is a web portal that stores and displays site environmental data and other information in a single location with controlled access from anywhere. This dramatically reduces the time and resources required to manage and access data and can virtually eliminate reporting requirements.

Reporting – faster, better and lower cost
Provide controlled log-in access to parts of the site for EHOs so they can access all past data from their desks. This eliminates most reporting requirements.

Complaints – instant evaluation
Friday, late afternoon: complaint about noise last Monday. Log-on, scroll to date, pick off time and level, correlate with other monitors and with activity. Decide on action required. Done.

Stakeholder Information and PR
Online multi-media letter drop and newsletter. SiteNoise can include a work schedule calendar and pictures / video / project blog which are accessible to residents etc. – dramatically lower cost and more easily updated than printed media.

71Hz 75Hz environmental noise tone identification

Environment Agencies (EAs), environmental health (EHOs), noise consultants and organisations in many countries regularly use our free online noise diagnosis and control best practice service to eliminate time-consuming hassles. All you need to access unique expertise and technology that reduces time and resources spent on projects by an order of magnitude is a smartphone on-site.

E-analysis: this approach not only cuts typical noise project investigation and resolution time from months or years down to a few weeks - or even a matter of days (our current record is 2 days from initial contact to noise control implemented and problem solved), it also reduces noise control costs by 50% - 80%.

wapp logo.png

You can take a "virtual noise expert" to site anywhere via Whatsapp "telepresence" to provide instant feedback and analysis.

E.g. for a suspected chiller noise problem: "Record now at the site boundary, then move close to the plant and record again. Ok, there are 2 series of tones. Check the fan speed and take a close-up. Ok, the low-frequency tone is fan blade pass and the higher frequency tones are from the compressor. The former would be an £800 fix that would improve efficiency and the latter around £1k."

Regulators and consultants routinely send smartphone data from site visits for a free expert opinion. We can usually provide source identification and costed noise control options based on current best practice within 1 or 2 days.

Get more detailed information and case studies about the remote noise analysis and control options >

noise in the environment

We provide extensive specialist technical support, information and training on noise and vibration to both regulators (Local Authorities (EHO) and Environment Agencies (EA)) and to industry. As we regularly deal with the same noise and vibration problems encountered, we have probably solved your problem already.

Our acclaimed range of EHO / EA specific noise workshops can help transfer time saving best practice techniques and technology in-house. This approach typically reduces the time to resolve noise complaint and other problems from months or years down to weeks - or even as little as days in some cases... This dramatically reduces the resources spent (freeing them up for other work) and also the time that local residents spend suffering unnecessary stress from unacceptable environmental noise.

We provide a worldwide service via the internet and smartphone technology. Make use of our Remote Control of noise service for a 2nd opinion and evaluation of best practice - or contact us for advice.

You can also outsource much of the time and resources required to resolve industrial noise complaints making the process much faster and more cost-effective.

Best Practicable Means / Best Available Technology evaluation service

Complaints and noise nuisance: how do you determine what constitutes “best practicable means” to mitigate. Companies employ consultants to generate reports claiming the cost of mitigation is too high to be practicable. In most cases, the suggested noise reduction technology is not best practice. Our definitions of low-cost BPM are game changers for regulators as problems can usually be resolved within weeks, saving time, resources and money.

We are quite happy to provide definitive definitions of what constitutes BPM/BAT with complete technical justifications, in court if necessary.

Noise and vibration training workshops

We provide very effective noise training for EHOs and Environment Agencies, from workshops to full CIEH environmental noise competency (some councils have profited from hosting in-house versions by inviting other authorities). These include:-

The Delegate View: “one of the most relevant and informative courses in a long time..” .. “I’d hate to come up against you in court! .. the best value seminar we’ve ever been on” – “standard of presentation was excellent .. humorous and entertaining .. highly recommended”

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Email us a video from your smartphone for an evaluation of best practice

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