CMS Danskin Acoustics has worked with acoustic consultants Atelier Crescendo to arrive at a floor build-up which has contributed to achieving acoustic performance significantly exceeding Approved Document E ‘Resistance to the passage of sound’ 2003 standards at new student accommodation for St Catharine’s College in Cambridge.

The accommodation provides two new houses (comprising 23 bedrooms) and improved communal spaces for students to work and socialise at St Catharine’s satellite site on the west of the city centre.  It was opened to students in October.  The project was designed by Cottrell & Vermeulen Architecture, and the main contractor was Conamar Building Services.

Designed with sustainability in mind, the student accommodation has mass timber frames (mostly Cross Laminated Timber), triple-glazed windows and air-source heat pumps.

Internal base floors are cross laminated timber (CLT), which supports the sustainable ethos behind the design.  CLT is increasingly used as it helps in locking away carbon by using it as a long-term construction base and it reduces the use of concrete in floors.  However, because CLT is around one third of the mass of concrete, it presents challenges acoustically.  Its sound reduction index is poorer and its damping properties from impacts are also lower than concrete, therefore it requires an acoustic strategy to limit impact and airborne sound travelling through.

After taking into account the BREEAM® requirements, the criteria to be met for St Catharine’s was that the airborne noise reduction must be over 48dB DnTw and the impact noise must be measured as under 59dB LnTw.

CMS Danskin Acoustics designed and supplied a floor/ceiling build-up using recycled materials to help improve the floor mass and enhance its impact absorbing properties.  The strategy involved double REGUPOL impact isolation layers.  Layers of 3mm REGUPOL sonus eco, 18mm Versapanel® from Euroform and 15mm REGUPOL sonus core were used to isolate impact sound, followed by a 32mm Smartspan, which is finished with a timber floorboard or plywood underlay with vinyl.

CMS Danskin Acoustics also specified and supplied Kinetics IsoGrid hangers, a high performance hanger used for suspending ceilings where the maximum noise reduction performance is required.

Site completion measurements undertaken by Atelier Crescendo indicated airborne noise 51-57 dB DnTw + Ctr, depending on location, and for impact it was 49-52dB LnTw, depending on location, so significantly surpassing Document E standards and significantly exceeding the more demanding project acoustic performance targets that had been set.


Paul Absolon, CMS Danskin Acoustics’ technical director, said,

“Working with CLT does present acoustics challenges, but we devised a floor/ceiling specification to counter that, which has achieved acoustic performance that exceeds regulations.”


Marc Fuzellier, director of Atelier Crescendo Ltd and Acouwood UK LLP, adds,

“We are very happy about the outcomes of the project, especially in terms of airborne and impact sound insulation performances.

“We worked hard to develop the right wall and floor build-ups, detail how they had to be connected and minimise the sound flanking transmissions. This was particularly the case when CLT elements had to be exposed.

“In the end, high sound insulation performances have been achieved so that more BREEAM® credits could be obtained.”





ATELIER CRESCENDO                                   CONAMAR                              COTTRELL & VERMEULEN




CMS Danskin Acoustics’ SuperPhon panels are contributing to reverberation control at a newly built school in East Hertfordshire, helping to ensure standards for acoustics in new school buildings are met.


Buntingford First School is a school for around 330 children between the ages of three and nine, which opened for the 2023 autumn term.  Built to Passivhaus standards by Morgan Sindall Construction for Hertfordshire County Council, the 1,643 sqm school includes a nursery and ten classrooms.

During construction 175 SuperPhon panels of varying sizes and colours were installed by SCL Interiors, mainly on classroom walls, to absorb sound and provide reverberation control.

SuperPhon provides up to Class ‘A’ acoustic performance and has a Noise Reduction Coefficient from 0.80 to 1.15 – an NRC of 0 indicating perfect reflection and an NRC of 1 indicating perfect absorption.  The sound absorption coefficient is tested to BS EN ISO 354:2003.

New school buildings must satisfy the requirements of Section 1 of Building Bulletin 93 (BB93) – setting out the constructional standard for acoustics in new school buildings.

SuperPhon is available in standard sizes, thicknesses and finishes, including wipe clean and art panels, but also as bespoke panels in terms of size, thickness, shape or fabric facing.  Designed for use in applications, including recording/rehearsal studios, audiology rooms, cinemas and theatres, schools, call centres and conference rooms, SuperPhon has been installed at the Liverpool Academy, Edinburgh Observatory, Jodrell Bank and the Hydro Arena in Glasgow.

CMS Danskin Acoustics, part of SIG plc, provides a free reverberation calculation service as well as full technical and on-site support.  The panels are manufactured at their Warrington site.

SCL Interiors are a leading suspended ceiling and partitioning contractor, providing services including SFS, dry lining, suspended ceilings, glazed screens and acoustic rafts/wall panels throughout the East Anglia region.




In conjunction with International Noise Awareness Day this week, manufacturer ROCKWOOL UK published a report on the impact of noise in London. Entitled, ‘Good Growth, Quiet Buildings: Exploring the impact of noise in a growing city and solutions in the built environment’, the report draws together information on health impacts, costs and government policy and highlights how growth in high density living coupled with the move towards a 24-hour economy means that London will continue to face challenges in achieving good growth and a good night’s sleep.

Key points:

  • Trends such as urbanisation, high density living and the 24-hour economy result in more noise – London has more noise complaints than anywhere else in the UK
  • 48% of people across the UK say their home life is spoilt by noise, whilst 41% of Londoners cite noise as a main reason for leaving the city
  • Noise is costing the UK £7-10 billion a year due to ill health consequences, loss of amenity and loss of productivity
  • Good design can and should create buildings that support health and well-being

Noise is already the number one complaint in hotels in London, whilst it’s also one of the main reasons given by Londoners for moving out of the city – with 41% citing it as a reason for leaving. Meanwhile, a World Health Organization (WHO) study found that at least 1 million healthy life years are lost every year in Western Europe as result of exposure to environmental noise. That makes noise the second largest environmental cause of ill health after air pollution, with the social cost of environmental noise placed at £7-10bn a year in the UK alone.

So, despite the pressure to rapidly deliver many more homes, hotels and commercial premises in London, noise mitigation must not be forgotten. Research also shows that quiet sells. For example, Premier Inn’s sound conscious hotel in Leicester Square is one of the best-performing hotels in London, with occupancy rates of 95%.

Managing Director of ROCKWOOL UK, Rory Moss, said “Building in noise considerations from the outset of a project is the most straightforward and cost effective route to achieving quiet buildings. By considering noise as an integral part of the design process, alongside factors such as aesthetics, lighting and layout, materials can be carefully selected to meet real life performance needs. With so many developments in the pipeline for London, now is the time to ensure we’re building to support our health and well-being. ”

Good Growth, Quiet Buildings: Exploring the impact of noise in a growing city and solutions in the built environment is available to download via the ROCKWOOL website. Visit for more information.