Industry Guidelines – Noise Impact Assessments (NIA) For Child Care Centres

Fencing is an integral part of housing, be it for a residential plot or a commercial property. Not just for safety and security purposes, fencing done appropriately with suitable materials can go a long way in controlling noise pollution. 

Children are as sensitive to sound as the elderly. Child care centres are zones that need to be kept away from disturbing sounds or those that might interrupt the functioning of the daycare units. Also, a place where children assemble can get noisy. Besides the in-house space, most child care centres are structured to have a play area, vulnerable to noisy roads. 

Noise can percolate walls both ways if it isn’t built as soundproof. Most early learning centres are located in the community’s heart and residential areas conveniently accessible to families. The noise within the centre and that emitted from the centre may also not go down well with neighbouring buildings or the surrounding environment.

Noise management becomes imperative in such situations, calling for appropriate intervention. It is essential that every child care centre across Australia is safeguarded against noise and does not add to any outside noise. This is only possible with the installation of befitting sound barrier walls

The industry guidelines: Acoustic Fencing 

Industry experts and acoustic consultants advise property developers and builders to ensure both internal and external noise wall solutions, especially on any new child care facility they plan to construct.

Top-rated fencing specialists can ensure innovative ways in which a child learning centre can be protected from inviting as well as causing any form of noise pollution owing to its built and location. This involves building safer perimeter fences to enable improved safety and security around the vast outdoor space of the facility. From storage enclosures, hazardous equipment cages to more, you can expect high-quality facilities to control the entry and exit of sound from your centre’s premises.

Reputed acoustic consultants follow industry norms and base their noise impact assessments (NIA) for child care centres only around such guidelines. NIAs focus on information that protects acoustic privacy in every form. Be it to protect the neighbouring residents or other buildings. It also recommends that child care centres should take care not to generate any kind of unacceptable noise.

The basic requirements 

NIA will guide the child care centres to ensure that all the minimum requirements are taken care of. No noise walls alone cannot alone help. Parameters such as adequate space, diversity, and variety are indispensable factors. Also, play opportunities for kids are an important aspect to be considered. For instance, if the child care centre is located near an industrial premise, railway operations, a runaway, or a busy road, noise pollution is imminent. NIA’s guidelines focus on minimising the noise levels to protect children from undue loud noise generated by the external environment. All such noise can be deterred by installing sound barrier walls. 

With the Australasian Acoustical Consultants guidelines framed for Child Care Centre, compliance becomes imperative. Suppose you plan a childcare centre inside a residential complex where the centre’s play area opens into the common space. In that case, there is an increased possibility of noise pollution. 

Things to consider 

A few aspects need to be taken care of to minimise noise pollution at child care centres.

The building structure

As suggested by experts, a child care centre should preferably consider a U-shaped or L-shaped layout. Moreover, it should have a defined space for an outdoor play area. The design should aim to locate the outdoor play space and children’s sleep area away from external noise. Optimising the distance between the active play area and the neighbouring residential premises is a good idea to prevent noise pollution.

Locating doors and windows of the centre away from the noise-sensitive areas, installing self-closing gates, sound-proof doors, and windows, low noise AC’s and furnaces are factors that need to be considered. 

Smooth driveways and parking can curb the perils of external noise pollution to a large extent. It is common to see parents drive their kids to the child care centre. Both arrivals and departures can generate a lot of noise. Be it the slamming of doors or just driving up and down, ensuring access points within acoustic peripheries can keep unwanted noise at bay. 

Avoid overcrowding in common outdoor play areas

Ensuring timed access to outdoor play spaces can work well. Children can be sent in groups to use the outside play area at child care centres as this could bring down the decibels. 

Acoustic boundaries 

Acoustic fencing is a prominent aspect of managing noise pollution. According to standard regulations, an ideal boundary fence is 1.8 metres high. Installing higher fences built with the required robustness and devoid of physical gas can minimise noise impact, at least for the ground floor receptors. You can always check with your council for the permissible fence height.

The centre’s noise management plan should include a program specific to the warmer and cooler months. Every centre should make their help desk number available to neighbours to raise their concerns whenever necessary. Educating parents on minimising noise when entering the child care centre, limiting outdoor playtime of children to 2 hours a day, monitoring the behaviour of a child, etc., are central to the NIA guidelines. Also, crying children can be assisted indoors by their caregivers at the centre. The noise criteria should be met both indoors and outdoors, and high decibel sounds even in the form of music should be avoided. 

Types of acoustic fence suited to child care centres

Of steel make

If you are looking for aesthetically pleasing ideas, a steel acoustic fence can make a durable option. Easy to maintain, durable and practical, these are highly functional and can reduce noise pollution. A steel fence designed with galvanised steel and a double coat can add to the thickness of the fence and its functionality. Available in multiple colours, it can be customised to blend into your child care centre premises and its surrounding environment. 

Timber acoustic fence

A material that complements school surroundings, acoustic ply walls are easy to install. Perfect for freeways, it can make a befitting alternative, especially where a design has not been specified for a noise wall. It can control noise pollution from roads and other surrounding sites. Your licensed dealer should be able to deliver a customised acoustic fence design as per the NIA guidelines.

Appropriate measures and fixtures can help in better management of noise levels at child care centers. Following the guidelines issued by the Association of Australasian Acoustical Consultants can be beneficial for a large population.

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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