BB93 2015 – A brief overview

Section 1 of Building Bulletin 93 ‘Acoustic Design of Schools – A Design Guide’  (BB93 2003) was formally reissued in December 2014, with further updates issued in early 2015. The design guidance in Sections 2 to 7 of the 2003 version are being updated and are expected to be published in 2015.

The Building Regulations require that all teaching and learning spaces within schools should meet the BB93 performance standards for indoor ambient noise level, airborne and impact sound insulation, and reverberation time. This is inclusive of independent schools, academies, free schools, university technical colleges, sixth-form colleges attached to schools, and nursery/community and adult education spaces within school complexes.

In order to comply with The School Premises Regulations and Independent School Standards requirements  speech intelligibility in open plan teaching spaces and operational noise levels (e.g. of equipment within teaching and learning spaces) also need to be considered in school design.

Updates in BB93 2015 (current version 17) include:

  • Performance standards outlined for refurbished buildings.
  • Updated guidance on indoor ambient noise levels for naturally ventilated spaces, in line with guidance to be published in the updated BB101. Guidance also provided for hybrid ventilation systems.
  • Further guidance provided on common situations such as interconnecting classroom doors that may previously have required a derogation under BB93 2003.
  • Reverberation time requirements for Sports Halls and Swimming Pools now depend on the size of the space.
  • Updated guidance on speech intelligibility assessment for open plan spaces, to be assessed via the Speech Transmission Index (STI) – HRS can undertake compliant design stage computer modelling for STI along with pre-completion testing to confirm compliance.
  • Expanded definition of students with special hearing or communication needs.
  • Rain noise requirements are introduced for lightweight roofs (mass per unit area less than 150kg/m2). HRS can demonstrate compliance with use of laboratory test data for lightweight roof constructions in accordance with BS EN ISO 140-18.

BB93 February 2015 – pdf »

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