Noise is all around us. In fact, total silence is a very rare occurrence on Earth. On a daily basis, we are bombarded with noise from different sources. The noises can be disruptive and annoying. Fortunately, if you try hard enough, you can phase out the noises.
These noises can, however, cause vibrations. So, the noises and vibrations can harm both your mental and physical health. This is one of the main reasons the Government carefully monitors and regulates noise emissions. And they use noise mapping to monitor noise emissions.
What Is Noise Mapping?
A noise map is a graphical representation of a specific area that is coloured according to the noise levels in that specific area.
The graphical representation looks like a contour map, which is spread over the map of the area being surveyed. The contour map shows the sound levels and noise sources. The colours of the contours show the distance travelled, low or high frequencies and the noise intensity.
So, you can use a noise map to know the sources of the noises and how these noises affect multiple receptors. You can also use noise maps for testing control measures, including alternative site layouts, bunds and even screens or fences.
It is, however, not easy and simple to use noise mapping. Why? It is difficult to get a reliable and accurate reading of sounds due to the changes in the environment. The environment can change daily. And the noise sources in dynamic environments can be varied, unpredictable and intermittent. So, you will need to account for all these within your noise map.
You will have to take different measurements at different times and use specialist software and noise prediction techniques to gather your data. You can, then, use the data to generate an accurate graphical representation.
What Are the Advantages of A Noise Map?
A noise map is a useful tool for many projects. It is specifically essential for renovation work and modern construction. Local authorities, for example, can use noise maps in their approval process. They can use noise maps in the approval of renovations or new builds, airports, railways and motorways.
Developers can use noise maps to know the noise impact of their construction work and the impact of the noise on the local area. They will also know how the noise will affect the people living in the building. They must focus on preventing harm.
It is helpful to use noise maps to identify and asses noise hazards and risks. So, you will know industries and buildings that might be more harmful than others. For instance, a building operating machine room needs a noise map. A noise map is needed to ensure the vibrations and sounds of the machine do not affect the occupants of the building.
If a builder is planning a housing development near an airport, they can use noise maps to determine the impact of the presence of the airport on the area. So, the builder can be able to make better decisions on soundproofing solutions.
For industrial or commercial developments, developers can use noise maps to predict noise emissions from AC units and other activities. In addition, noise maps are useful in testing noise control measures.
How to Make a Noise Map?
You will take measurements at several positions around and in the existing or proposed development site. You will use specialist equipment to take these measurements. You will have to take these measurements over a long period of time to get as much data as possible. You will, then, select the data carefully to get the full coverage of that specific area. If necessary, you may have to adjust your data throughout the measurement period.