Duncan’s Canvas

Project name:  Noise Pollution Solution
Material used: 1- Batyline and 2- Quietspace Cube
Fabric Supplied by:   W Wiggins Ltd
Components Supplied by:   Ullrich Aluminium

What did the client request?

The pool owners had a major health and safety issue – Worksafe had deemed the noise levels a health and safety hazard. The two original noise deadening systems in the complex had failed. The first system failed about 10 years ago. The next caused another health and safety emergency – noise deadening ceiling tiles installed a few years before began falling from the ceiling and risking hitting swimmers. We installed a temporary solution – bird netting to catch the falling tiles, then removed all the tiles. A new solution was required because removing the insulating tiles caused the noise levels in the complex to literally go through the roof. Worksafe recorded more than 100 decibels in the public pool area. We were tasked with finding a solution which would quieten the area and remove the health and safety emergency.

To enhance the noise baffling work already done by us on the complex ceiling we suggested making a “feature wall” of a giant silver fern made from the noise reducing product. Acoustic engineers confirmed this was the best way of maximising results.

The combination of the ceiling and wall projects saw noise levels fall to well within the acceptable level.

What is unique or complex about the project?

There were huge logistical and health and safety issues as all the work was 12m above the huge swimming pools. Often staff were working on booms reaching out 20m and up 12m over a swimming pool. A lot of the work had to be done through the night as for a lot of the time the pool was still open to the public in the daytime.

We subcontracted to Fletcher Construction who were overseeing a total upgrade of the complex and had to comply with their stringent Health and Safety requirements. This included multiple safety plans and daily meetings. We were working at heights which involved Worksafe notification and all the relevant staff training and certification.

Fletcher Construction reported to Opus International who project managed the whole upgrade. Working with these companies is extremely political and it is like walking a tight rope meeting the contract requirements.

Complex issues had to be worked out to the finest detail – even to which grade of stainless steel rivets were used due to the corrosive environment.

Designing the silver fern shape on the wall has provided a unique environment – many national swimming events are held at the complex and New Zealand’s emblem of the silver fern was suggested to the customer by our company. This made a totally different effect to having just plain paneling on the wall.

What were the results of the project?

At peak times the noise is now 73 decibels – which means you can have a normal conversation with someone two metres away from you. This makes the pool complex a much more pleasant environment as the baffles installed absorb the noise, creating a quieter area. The design of the wave pattern is very aesthetically pleasing and improves the ambience of the complex. The decibel reading at a peak times is now well within the range considered acceptable.

The silver fern has become a real talking point with even the city’s mayor commending us on the new look it has given the complex. It has also achieved its functional purpose beyond expectations. The noise levels have been deadened by this addition.

Is there any other relevant information?

The giant silver fern provides a very patriotic backdrop to a national swimming events. The 3D effect of the waterjet pattern cut into acoustic paneling adorns the wall of a major national swimming complex, cutting noise pollution and creating a great environment.