“Love thy (Gym) Neighbour – A Case Study on Noise Mitigation for Specialty Fitness Centres”

 

Brigette Martin – martin@bkl.ca

BKL Consultants Ltd.

#308-1200 Lynn Valley Road

North Vancouver, BC V7J 2A2

 

Paul Marks – marks@bkl.ca

BKL Consultants Ltd.

#308-1200 Lynn Valley Road

North Vancouver, BC V7J 2A2

 

Popular version of paper “Specialty fitness centres – a case study”

Presented November 5, 2018

176th ASA Meeting, Victoria, BC, Canada

 

The sudden rise of group fitness rooms, CrossFit, and spin cycling studios in the community over the last decade is undeniable.  These specialty fitness centres can be located in mixed-use buildings (adjacent to either residential areas or retail stores), emitting a level of noise that can be obtrusive to their neighbours. Many specialty fitness centres have been proactive in ensuring they meet the appropriate noise standards by seeking support from acousticians. This exploratory paper considers the noise levels for various popular specialty fitness centres and outlines noise mitigation options for each one.

 

Multi-purpose group fitness rooms are versatile in the activities they host, including weight classes that use regular high-impact activities to improve anaerobic fitness. Often, these sounds are accompanied by music blasting through loudspeakers suspended from the ceiling. In one circumstance, a building landlord engaged our team to conduct sound level measurements at their group fitness room to determine noise transmission to adjacent residential apartments. After simulating impact activities (e.g. people jumping, the dropping of 20-lb kettle bells and sandbags) on seven different potential floor build-ups and quantifying sound levels played in group fitness rooms, we were able to determine noise mitigation options that achieved the landlord’s level of acceptability. This included the implementation of isolated flooring and maintaining music levels within an acceptable threshold.

 

Combining aspects of running, weightlifting and gymnastics, CrossFit spaces are unquestionably noisy. In order to lessen the audibility of noise to adjoining office spaces, our team was asked by a CrossFit space’s landlord to undertake measurements and a noise assessment. Together, we worked on a noise management plan for the CrossFit gym, employing a number of measures to control noise impacts including the use of additional cushioned matting, dedicated lifting platforms, and an outline of noise control measures. Mitigation included a combination of installing acoustical treatments and management procedures limiting the types of activities in the gym.

 

With amplified music and enthusiastic instructors constantly cheering on rows of avid cyclists, spin classes have sound levels that are comparable to nightclubs. These can be adjacent to general offices, retail spaces or even residential apartments. Solutions for these types of spaces have including limiting the noise level or “bassbeat” in the studio, providing masking noise in the adjacent space, or increasing the sound isolation of the demising wall or shared floor/ceiling assemblies.

 

In an effort to address numerous noise complaints, we left an unattended sound analyzer to capture noise levels in an adjacent retail space during spin classes and times without classes. We determined that it is ultimately the bass noise level content that is the most audible part to the retail unit occupants during spin classes and recommended that spin studio additionally control bass sounds to ameliorate the intrusive effects.

 

While a “one-size-fits-all” solution does not necessarily exist for all specialty fitness centres, it is clear that by being proactive, fitness centres can better control noise emitted to adjacencies by including measures to mitigate the effects within their original studio designs.

 

 

 

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