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13.15 Acoustic Performance of Operable & Demountable Partitions

Does the wall sound different? Variable acoustics in rehearsal rooms using small resonator structures in an acoustic panel.
Time: 7:20 am

Author: Björn Knöfel

Abstract ID: 1972

The wall listens different? Variable acoustics in rehearsal rooms using small volume structures in an acoustic panel.

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Operable partitions – a life of experiences, observations, and testing plus comments on standards
Time: 12:00 pm

Author: Noral Stewart

Abstract ID: 2407

Experiences testing operable partitions since 1986 will be reviewed including typical performance and various problems observed with both the partitions and surrounding structures.  ASTM standards E557 on proper building preparation for an operable partition and E336 for the measurement of field performance will be discussed, including the 2005 revision of E336 as it affects evaluation of operable partitions.

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Field Measurements of Demountable Partitions
Time: 12:20 pm

Author: Basel Jurdy

Abstract ID: 2413

Flexibility of enclosed office walls is important to technology companies.  In healthcare, prefab walls have advantages from a cost and efficiency standpoint.  Demountable office walls allow facilities to rearrange spaces to accommodate changing team sizes, types and locations.  Prefab walls save construction time and allow for maintenance efficiency and cost.  A decade of noise reduction measurements of several manufacturers’ demountable and pre-fab walls is presented.  Early issues that reduced the in-field performance have largely been improved but some issues remain and are common amongst all manufacturers.  The most notable is the connection between the wall and the acoustic tile ceiling.  Highest performing demountable walls from a decade ago tested to the high 20’s or low 30’s NIC. Recent test showed results between mid 30’s and high 30’s. Pre-fab wall testing between patient rooms demonstrated that the FGI separation criteria can be met with partial and no bulkhead closure above the ceiling

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Operable walls: where the rubber meets the mullion
Time: 12:40 pm

Author: Brandon Cudequest

Abstract ID: 2917

The architecture that surrounds an operable wall often determines its acoustical success. There are standard guides for detailing operable walls; however, these offer a rigid take on design aesthetics. Abstracting these principles into general goals, the designer can accommodate a variety of architectural styles. The surrounding construction should act as a safety net by providing labyrinths when seals fail or by blocking problematic flanking paths. The architecture should also ease system operation allowing users to deploy the operable wall with minimal fail rate. This paper compares several off-the-shelf and custom systems, highlighting the importance of construction details and coordination and their impact on the installed product performance. The architecture can only support these systems to a degree and the designer should select an operable system that works within the given conditions.  By comparing design trends in operable walls from an acoustical consultant standpoint, this paper will spotlight architecturally harmonious systems as well as several system features to be aware of when evaluating options.

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Acoustical performance of horizontal-sliding-panel operable partition walls
Time: 1:00 pm

Author: Jim Borzym

Abstract ID: 2974

Field measurements of airborne sound transmission loss were made on several operable partitions of the horizontal-sliding-panel type between conference rooms. Apparent Sound Transmission Class (ASTC) and Noise Isolation Class (NIC) ratings were computed. Very significant deviation of field-measured sound transmission ratings and manufacturers’ Sound Transmission Class (STC) ratings were found. Clients were not satisfied by actual sound isolating performance. Transmission of voice was clearly audible. Some deficiencies of field conditions were found. Some deficiencies of partition installation were found. Modifications were made; acoustical performance did not change significantly.

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