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Gym noise and meeting community exaptation

Ciaran Spillane

New Association of Australasian Acoustical Consultants (AAAC) acoustic guidelines to help gyms and exercise facilities understand and assess noise issues.

Noise critical issues face the expanding fitness market as it locates gyms in areas that were once considered conflicting from an acoustic perspective. To become more accessible, fitness clubs are locating immediately above, below, or adjacent to noise-sensitive commercial or residential spaces.

If noise issues are not considered in the design process, gym activity-related sound and vibration can end up transmitting through walls, floors, and ceilings within a structure and impact not just directly adjacent neighbours, but spaces across a common floor footprint, or even several floors or buildings away.

The AAAC in a bid to help the industry and establish some protocols to follow have introduced Guidelines for acoustic assessment of Gymnasiums and exercise facilities. The guideline offers a clear criterion for assessing the potential noise and vibration impacts that may be transmitted within a building. It is not a statutory document but endeavours to give guidance for the assessment and management of these types of facilities.

This guideline works to compliment local government or other regulatory authorities’ specific requirements and policies, where these requirements are non-specific or without detail, the guideline can assist in determining an appropriate assessment procedure.

The noise within a gym is addressed by the reference to the standard AS2107 Recommended design sound levels and reverberation times for building Interiors.

The guidelines set out some clear objectives of giving guidance as to the control of unwanted noise or vibration within the area of operation conflicting with, residential or other sensitive receivers. It goes further to giving guidance to operational consideration as part of noise control management.

The guidelines recommend consideration be given to the type of activity, as there is a variation of noise issues relating to activities, ranging from weight drop to pump classes with high audio.

The guidelines also further recommend:

  • The type of building and its location will also impact on the noise reduction requirements.
  • The key aspects in accessing noise need to consider vibration transmission, regenerated structure borne noise and airborne noise transmission.
  • A range of internal noise sources need to be considered as well as any external noise produced.
  • The internal acoustic environment is also important when considering comfort and the impact on communication or privacy.

The guidelines detail procedures and standards to measure and quantify noise levels, referencing standards for measurement equipment, and general guidance to completing a noise assessment within noise criteria parameters.

Vibration emission is also specifically considered with a range of additional guidelines referenced and advice offered when considering both structures borne vibration (Regenerated noise) and tactile vibration.

The importance of testing and verification is also highlighted as a crucial step in the noise mitigation process.

The final control of any facilities noise issues will require the consideration of a management plan. The plan needs to address the operational nature of the facilities, and how this impacts on the noise level emission of any facility. The guideline offers an information section on acoustic mitigation and management.

Working with an acoustic engineer early in the design phase, means gym and fitness centers can integrate cost effective, best practices in noise and vibration mitigation, which will allow these amenities to live and work in harmony near their residential and commercial neighbours. Existing facilities with little or inadequate acoustic design or treatment, can produce noise and vibration issues that can result in neighbour and body corporate complaints, and at worst litigation.

Embelton draws on many years of problem solving for these noise issues and offers a range of engineering support and products to assist in meeting your noise level requirements. Embelton offer a range of vibration mitigation floor designs to control the most extreme activity, specialised equipment treatment, floor coverings and wall paneling to improve building interiors. We don’t just sell product our experienced engineering team gives design support to make sure your product selection gives the best results.

A fully version and up to date copy of the AAAC guideline can be viewed at