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

Sound reducing surfaces

Proper design and construction are not always enough to achieve acoustic comfort in buildings. Sources that contribute to acoustic dissatisfaction such as sound transmission from internal and external sources, footfall noise and voices from adjacent spaces are difficult to control. However, sound reduction treatments that incorporate absorptive surfaces, such as wall panels, ceiling baffles and surface enhancements can help with reverberation management and improve acoustic comfort. The noise reduction coefficient (NRC) of a material is an average value that determines its absorptive properties. The larger the NRC value, the better the material is at absorbing sound under standardized conditions.

Part 1: Ceilings

The following spaces, if present, have ceilings that meet the specifications described:

a.90 Open workspaces: minimum NRC of 0.9 for the entire surface area of the ceiling (excluding lights, skylights, diffusers and grilles).
b.90 Conference and teleconference rooms: minimum NRC of 0.8 on at least 50% of the surface area of the ceiling (excluding lights, skylights, diffusers and grilles).
Part 2: Walls

The following spaces, if present, have walls that meet the NRC specifications described:

a.90 Enclosed offices, conference and teleconference rooms: minimum NRC of 0.8 on at least 25% of the surface area of interior surrounding walls.
b.90 Open workspaces: minimum NRC of 0.8 on at least 25% of the surface area of the surrounding walls.
c.90 Partitioned office spaces: partitions reach at least 1.2 m [48 inches] and have a minimum NRC of 0.8.
Part 3: School Ceilings

The following spaces have ceilings that meet the specifications described:

a. Spaces less than 6,000 m³ [20,000 ft³]: NRC of at least 0.7 for the entire surface area of the ceiling (excluding lights, skylights, diffusers and grilles).
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Applicability Matrix

Core & Shell New & Existing Buildings New & Existing Interiors
Part 1: Ceilings - O O
Part 2: Walls - O O
Commercial Kitchen Education Multifamily Residential Restaurant Retail
Part 3: School Ceilings - O - - -

Verification Methods Matrix

Letters of Assurance Annotated Documents On-Site Checks
Part 1: Ceilings Architect
Part 2: Walls Architect
Part 3: School Ceilings 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.

80.1.b

The General Services Administration's Sound Matters recommends this NRC value for meeting rooms and teleconference rooms.

80.1.a

The General Services Administration's Sound Matters recommends this NRC value for open plan workspaces.

80.2.b

The General Services Administration's Sound Matters recommends this NRC value for open plan workspaces.

80.2.c

The General Services Administration's Sound Matters recommends this NRC value for quiet open offices which have head-height walls.

80.2.a

The General Services Administration's Sound Matters recommends a minimum NRC of 0.8 on at least 25% of two adjacent walls for enclosed workspaces.