Acoustic curtains combat major construction-related noise
Acoustic Blinds and Curtains is among a select group of companies chosen to provide acoustic treatments for homes affected by Sydney’s WestConnex project.
Acoustic Blinds and Curtains (ABC) has partnered with Tier 1 builders in Sydney to reduce the effects of noise created by Australia’s largest road infrastructure project.
The WestConnex project is a continuous 33km-long road network that will connect Sydney’s southwest and west with the CBD and airport once it opens in 2023. The Rozelle Interchange project forms an important part of that network and will link the M4 and M5 motorways.
ABC was approached by the main contractors on the project JHCPB (John Holland CPB Contractors Joint Venture) to install acoustic curtains as part of an integrated acoustic treatment solution designed to reduce construction noise.
ABC co-founder Cameron West says acoustic engineers consulting to the project identified acoustic curtains as being one of the primary ways homes could counteract noise emanating from tunnelling work sites.
“We took John Holland through our range of products and also showed them the results of our recent acoustic test results, which proved beyond doubt that acoustic curtains installed in the bedroom, living room and other habitable spaces can substantially reduce the amount of noise being heard,” he says.
ABC has treated approximately 150 homes since coming onboard as a supplier to the project.
“The project kicked off in January 2020, which was roughly the time we started doing check measures at affected homes, and it has run for most of the remainder of the year,” Cameron says.
“We were very excited to partner with a Tier 1 builder on such a large project, particularly after the success we’ve had working with individual customers on noise issues affecting their homes,” he adds. “It’s been great to see the product being used so successfully in a large-scale setting.”
Noise reduction products available
Several hundred homes in Annandale, Lilyfield, Leichhardt and Rozelle have been impacted by the effects of round-the-clock airborne and groundborne construction noise caused by tunnelling.
Noise from tunnelling works can affect homes differently and is influenced by a number of factors. According to WestConnex’s M4–M5 Link Environmental Impact Statement, these factors can include (but aren’t limited to) tunnel depths and location, ground conditions, the materials used to build the home and existing background noise levels.
All of these factors were taken into consideration by the acoustic engineers who assessed homes for noise (and vibration) impacts.
“Essentially, the engineers assign ratings to each home depending on their level of impact and then they specify the noise reduction products that are available to them,” explains Cameron. “These could be secondary windows, door jamb fixes, mechanical ventilation – or, in our case, acoustic curtains.”
ABC has offered two main fabrics to homes affected by the WestConnex tunnelling works. Lachlan Wool, ABC’s most popular acoustic curtain fabric, is a 100 per cent wool product that offers sound improvements up to 8.9dB when used with a blockout lining. A second fabric, Wellington Texture, is a more affordable acoustic solution that offers a sound improvement up to 8.3dB when used with a lining. Both fabrics are available in a range of colours.
Acoustic curtains – part of an integrated solution
Acoustics is a science – and a complex one at that. It’s not often that a single treatment can solve a noise issue, but acoustic curtains can play just as important a role in noise mitigation efforts as traditional solutions such as installing double-glazed windows.
“Our acoustic product can be used in conjunction with other acoustic treatments to help home-owners who are struggling with noise issues,” Cameron says.
“We look forward to working on future phases of the WestConnex project. But we’re just as keen to help other home-owners affected by roadworks or other unwanted noise.
“If you’re on a busy road, I encourage you to reach out to your local roads authority – or to us directly – to find out what can be done to help.”
Acoustic Blinds and Curtains is a provider of quality sound-absorbent products that can reduce noise levels and improve acoustics in classrooms and other open-plan spaces.