This is a legacy version of the WELL Building Standard. Please check the latest version here.

Sound barriers

Noise from adjacent spaces can be disturbing to building occupants. Careful detailing and high quality construction materials can greatly improve the sound reducing abilities of interior partitions or doors that act as sound barriers and reduce sound transmission between adjacent spaces.

Part 1: Wall Construction Specifications

The following spaces, if present, have interior partition walls that meet the Noise Isolation Class (NIC) described:

a.90 Enclosed offices: minimum NIC of 35 when a sound masking system is present, or minimum NIC of 40 when no sound masking system is used.
b.90 Conference rooms and teleconference rooms: minimum NIC of 53 on walls adjoining private offices, conference rooms or other teleconference rooms.
Part 2: Doorway Specifications

Doors connecting to private offices, conference rooms and teleconference rooms are constructed with at least one of the following:

a.90 Gaskets.
b.90 Sweeps.
c.90 Non-hollow core.
Part 3: Wall Construction Methodology

All interior walls enclosing regularly occupied spaces are constructed for optimal performance by reducing air gaps and limiting sound transmission through the following:

a.90 Properly sealing all acoustically rated partitions at the top and bottom tracks.
b.90 Staggering all gypsum board seams.
c.90 Packing and sealing all penetrations through the wall.
Part 4: Noise Intrusion Mitigation

The following requirements are met in buildings located less than 0.8 km [0.5 mi] from significant noise sources, including aircraft over-flights, highways, trains, and industrial processes:

a.131 Exterior windows, doors, and any other openings have a minimum STC rating of 35.
b.131 Exterior wall penetrations must be treated for sound control. Methods may include the use of acoustical sealant, lined elbows on vents, or lined exterior ducts.
Part 5: Residential Acoustic Privacy

The following requirements are met:

a.131 Floor-ceiling assemblies and party walls have a minimum STC rating of 55.
b.131 Floor-ceiling assemblies have a minimum IIC rating of 55.
Part 6: Wall Construction Specifications for Schools

The following spaces, if present, have interior partition walls which meet the Sound Transmission Class (STC) described:

a.133 Rooms located within 3 m [10 ft] of an exterior walkway: minimum STC of 45.
b.133 Rooms located within 9 m [30 ft] of a playground: minimum STC of 50, on the exterior wall.
c.133 Rooms located between 9 m [30 ft] and 15 m [50 ft] of a playground: minimum STC of 45 on exterior walls.
d.133 Walls that connect classrooms to an adjoining music room, auditorium, mechanical room, cafeteria, gymnasium, or indoor swimming pool: minimum STC of 60.
Immune
Nervous

Applicability Matrix

Core & Shell New & Existing Buildings New & Existing Interiors
Part 1: Wall Construction Specifications - O O
Part 2: Doorway Specifications - O O
Part 3: Wall Construction Methodology - O O
Commercial Kitchen Education Multifamily Residential Restaurant Retail
Part 2: Doorway Specifications - O - - -
Part 3: Wall Construction Methodology - O O O -
Part 4: Noise Intrusion Mitigation - - O O -
Part 5: Residential Acoustic Privacy - - O - -
Part 6: Wall Construction Specifications for Schools - O - - -

Verification Methods Matrix

Letters of Assurance Annotated Documents On-Site Checks
Part 1: Wall Construction Specifications Architect
Part 2: Doorway Specifications Architect & Contractor
Part 3: Wall Construction Methodology Contractor
Part 4: Noise Intrusion Mitigation Architect and Contractor Spot Check
Part 5: Residential Acoustic Privacy Architect
Part 6: Wall Construction Specifications for Schools Architect
90

U.S. General Services Administration Center for Workplace Strategy Public Buildings Service. Sound Matters: How to Achieve Acoustic Comfort in the Contemporary Office. Washington, D.C.: 2012: 11, 29, 32, 33, 36.

81.1.a

The General Services Administration's Sound Matters recommends this NIC value for private offices.

81.1.b

The General Services Administration's Sound Matters recommends this NIC value for teleconference rooms.

81.2.c

The General Services Administration's Sound Matters advises that as it relates to acoustics, hollow core doors are only good to poor.

81.2.a

The General Services Administration's Sound Matters recommends door gaskets to help prevent noise intrusion into offices.

81.2.b

The General Services Administration's Sound Matters recommends that the undercut should be shielded in some fashion such as a sweep or drop seal gasket.

81.3.a

The General Services Administration's Sound Matters recommends caulking gypsum partition slabs as an effective sound blocking technique.

81.3.c

The General Services Administration's Sound Matters recommends plugging holes as an effective sound blocking technique.

81.3.b

The General Services Administration's Sound Matters recommends staggering gypsum partition slabs as an effective sound blocking technique.

131

U.S. Green Building Council. Pilot Credit: Acoustic Comfort. http://www.usgbc.org/node/4631859?return=/credits. Published 2013. Accessed December 10, 2014.

81.4.b

The LEED v4 credit for Acoustic Comfort for homes sets 2 options for the LEED point, one of which requires that exterior walls are sealed or otherwise treated for sound control, for buildings less than 0.5 mi away from a significant noise source.

81.4.a

The LEED v4 credit for Acoustic Comfort for homes sets 2 options for the LEED point, one of which requires that exterior windows and doors have a min. STC rating of 35 for buildings less than 0.5 mi away from a significant noise source.

81.5.a

The LEED v4 credit for Acoustic Comfort for homes sets 2 options for the LEED point, one of which requires that party walls and floor/ceiling assemblies have a min. STC rating of 55.

81.5.b

The LEED v4 credit for Acoustic Comfort for homes sets 2 options for the LEED point, one of which requires a min. IIC rating of 55 for floor/ceiling assemblies.

133

Accredited Standards Committee, S12 Noise. ANSI/ASA S12.60-2010/Part 1 American National Standard Acoustical Performance Criteria, Design Requirements, and Guidelines for Schools, Part 1: Permanent Schools. Melville, NY: Acoustical Society of America; 2010:8-10.

81.6.b

ANSI/ASA S12-2010 Part 1 writes that for learning spaces that are less than 9 m from a playground, the STC rating of the exterior wall shall have a rating of at least STC 50.

81.6.a

ANSI/ASA S12.60-2010 Part 1 notes that if a learning space is within 3 m of an exterior walkway, the exterior wall "shall have an STC rating of at least 45".

81.6.c

ANSI/ASA S12.60-2010 Part 1 notes that if a learning space is within 9 to 15 m of a playground, the exterior wall "shall have an STC rating of at least 45".

81.6.d

ANSI/ASA S12.60-2010 Part 1 sets a minimum STC rating of 60 for rooms adjacent to music rooms, music performance spaces, auditoriums, mechnical equipment rooms, cafeterias, gymnasiums or indoor swimming pools.