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Applicable Standards and Regulations

The moment a space is accessible to the public there probably is a regulation somewhere that will define a few points, such as the number of emergency exits, and an acoustic requirement, such as an absorptive area. In France, this requirement [1] is applicable to all potential waiting areas, and their equivalent absorptive area must be at least 25% of the floor area.

In Europe there usually is a requirement based on a European standard regarding the emergency sound system whose common intelligibility scale (CIS) must be at least 0.7 [2].

While there usually is no specific standard for such lowly places, there are standards applying to the so-called associated spaces of offices. One can find some inspiration in there. Such standards will typically give some recommendations pertaining to the background noise levels and to the reverberation time (RT) or the minimum absorption needed in such spaces. Sometimes when the spaces are similar to those used in educational facilities, some basic indications regarding sound insulation, reverberation, and noise from mechanical services can be found in the relevant texts.

A Few Points Worth Considering

As low as they may appear, other spaces receiving the public serve a utilitarian aspect and must not be neglected. Just think for a second of the entrance hall: This will probably be the first visual and acoustic impression of an institution for a visitor. Can one really afford to have bad acoustics in there?

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