Two sides of the Acoustifence barrier are being used to protect the neighborhood and the other portion protects the school. Temporary chain link construction fencing is commonly used at construction sites to help prevent theft and damage to machinery, equipment, and property, as well as provide security for the construction crew.
Construction noise may negatively impact those around a construction site. The SAMOHI construction project Acoustifence ranges in height from 14-20 feet at different parts of the construction site and zigzags around the perimeter near the street and the existing school building. In addition to the construction fence, Acoustifence soundproofing material was draped over the side of the top portion of the school building to help make the second floor quieter for students during construction.“Our heavy equipment machines emit between 90-100 decibels of noise while operating depending on the machine itself. Throughout the day, these machines are sometimes located 250-300 feet away from the school building making it virtually impossible to contain all the noise,” Nadalet said.Heavy equipment machines are needed to build large buildings and rebuild a large area like at Santa Monica High School. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, noise from various construction machines can range from 70-95 decibels at 50 feet. One front loader can reach approximately 83 decibels; scrapers, graders and backhoes approximately 92 decibels; concrete mixers and cranes approximately 88 decibels, earth moving tractors can reach approximately 95 decibels. A single jackhammer can reach nearly 100 decibels and a pile driver reaches approximately 105 decibels. So a 10-decibel decrease in construction noise significantly helps to keep it within a more tolerable range.“The Acoustifence noise barrier wall is located about 10 feet from the school building so our machines are not always located within close proximity to the noise barrier fence. We work hard to keep construction noise as minimal as possible while moving the project forward to meet our deadlines,” Nadalet said.
Noise intensity is measured in decibel units. The decibel scale is logarithmic; each 10-decibel increase represents a tenfold increase in noise intensity. Human perception of loudness also conforms to a logarithmic scale; a 10-decibel increase is perceived as roughly a doubling of loudness and a 10-decibel decrease is perceived as half as loud. A typical conversation occurs at 60 decibels – not loud enough to cause damage. If a sound reaches 85 decibels or stronger, it can cause permanent damage to a person’s hearing with prolonged exposure. The amount of time a person listens to a sound affects how much damage it will cause.
“The Acoustifence is psychologically positive for the students, teachers and administrators at the school. It gives them confidence that we are taking care of their noise concerns. We believe we get about a 10 decibel decrease in construction-related noise for the neighbors and school with the Acoustifence barrier,” Nadalet said.
Acoustiblok now also produces beautiful landscape covers for its fences. Since the covers are an actual photograph of different scenery, such as foliage, flowers, brick, or stones, it is virtually indistinguishable and many say better than real life.
Marilyn Myers is Acoustiblok’s Chief Operating Officer who worked on the Santa Monica Fence project. “All our noise barrier products are affected by where they are positioned in reference to the noise source, the distance between the noise source and the noise receiver, the height of the barrier, and the type of environment they are in. The amount of noise Acoustifence reduces is also much related to other reflective structures in the area,” she said.
The Public Works Division of FenceCorp, a leading California fencing company based in Riverside, Calif., won the bid to install the large temporary acoustic fence for the project. Acoustiblok’s Acoustifence material was considered to be the best choice for its proven performance and ease of installation.
Ira Schechtel, Manager of FenceCorp’s Temporary Rental Fence Division at the Oceanside, Calif. Branch, helped oversee the work. He was heavily involved in the bidding and administrative aspects of the project. Schechtel is an experienced fence professional with 30 years experience in the fence industry. He is also the former president of the California Chapter of the American Fence Association.
“Because the cost and human effort associated with the acoustical fence is higher than a typical chain link fence, it was important that we not make mistakes when we built it. We have to do things right the first time to avoid costly mistakes with these types of fences. A mistake on an acoustical fence is much more substantial in terms of dollars per section than typical chain link fences.”
A fence of this magnitude would be a significant financial loss if it failed to adequately reduce noise. To ensure results, Acoustiblok Corporation’s engineering department uses acoustical outdoor modeling software to accurately predict the acoustical results in advance. The software, called Cadna A, was developed in Germany to create cities with reduced noise levels and is considered the most advanced of its kind.
Schechtel and vice presidents Perry Massie and Alan Kay, and Superintendent Kenny Kocek helped oversee the bidding and installation of the Santa Monica Construction Fence project. “The bidding and installation process for a large specialized fence like this takes more time and effort than people may think. Due to the height of the barrier walls, we engineered the large posts and cables to specifically hold the dense and flexible acoustical fence. Even the barriers on the existing building were specifically designed for Acoustifence. It truly takes a team effort to do these things right and be successful in the fencing business.”
“As we do more Acoustifence projects, we are learning what to look for in advance. Each Acoustifence project has its own unique set of environmental, noise and design challenges with our customers. This is not a one size fits all fencing application. There’s more science to them and to be effective, they have to be positioned in the right places around the noise sources. This just adds to our capabilities,” Schechtel added.
Acoustifence is an effective soundproofing solution because it’s a thin outdoor noise blocking material which acoustically performs precisely as lead does, but without the environmental hazard of lead said Myers. Acoustifence comes in 6 X 30 foot sections considered the most effective first step in reducing noise. It’s now being widely used in construction and building environments, at industrial facilities to quiet generator and motor noises, for mass transit rail lines, residential, and in many other outdoor applications where noise has been an unresolved problem she said.
Lahnie Johnson is President and founder of Acoustiblok, Inc. He drives new product development at Acoustiblok. “Acoustical soundproofing materials and products like Acoustifence, Acoustiblok, QuietFiber, and our indoor and outdoor All Weather Sound Panels compete in specialized niche markets,” he said.
“People are becoming more aware of noise problems and the stress it causes them. Santa Monica High School is just one example. With greater population density and increasing noise pollution and noise control regulations being passed by local, state and federal governments, the soundproofing products and services market is continually on the rise and we’re here to help meet their needs.”
Acoustiblok Corporation, a NASA Spin-off listed company headquartered in Tampa, FL, provides acoustical soundproofing solutions for noise related issues. The company develops, manufactures, and markets acoustical products, earning the industry’s highest ratings from architects, builders, and consumers. Acoustiblok ships soundproofing products to 60 countries around the world.