Double Agent

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By: Kate Couch

Solving audio problems in commercial buildings with multiple uses.

In last week’s article, we focused on solving audio problems in a residential home. However, AV Bend works primarily with commercial buildings. Though there are a lot of the same principles, working and solving commercial problems looks drastically different than solving problems in a home. There are also other things that people forget to consider when it comes to residential versus commercial clients. One big factor is budget — when it comes to commercial clients, the budget is extraordinarily tight. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s more or less than a residential budget, but rather there is no room for spilling over. Companies have to meet their quotas and stay within the budget. When working with a residential client, something that they want might be out of budget but it can become accessible if they decide it’s valuable enough to them. That instance rarely happens with a commercial client.

Something else to consider when working to solve audio problems in a commercial building is that when you go inspect an area, a client may have forgotten to mention that certain rooms have noises and other things going on. In our last article about solving audio problems, we talked about the importance of listening to a room. Whether you have a residential or commercial client, this is still an important practice. When going to a commercial client’s building you need to consider and ask the client what all goes on there. Make sure to double check with the client that there are no monthly meetings they may be forgetting about. Other things may include international calls, occasional Zoom meetings, classes or renting out the space to others. These are all things that can fly under the radar but could be contributing to their noise problems. When going to inspect a commercial area, take all these things into account before solving the noise problems.

One thing that commercial clients will frequently call AV companies for is to prepare a gymnasium to hold multiple events. It’s pretty common that a gymnasium also doubles as an auditorium, or is rented out to places like churches or AA meetings and other gatherings of similar fashion. There is instantly a whole lot of noise problems to solve when a gymnasium is going to double as another space. The classic squeaking of your shoes on the floor seems to emanate from every corner of the room. This can be extraordinarily disruptive if someone was to come in late to a meeting. Just like it is in a residential area, it’s important to consider the height of the walls, the different angles in the room and the ceiling structure. However, commercial spaces tend to differ from residential areas because of noise blockers. In a residential space there are things like pillows, furniture curtains and carpeting — sometimes even more carpeting on top of carpeting — these things naturally dampen and soften sound in the home.

When working with commercial spaces, there tends to be a lot more problems to solve because the spaces are larger, they have less furniture in the room to dampen sound and the spaces tend to have multiple uses. However, the nice thing about commercial is you don’t have to get as creative with your acoustical treatment plans. Aesthetics and multifunction acoustical treatment plans aren’t as important since the spaces tend to be larger — and having products that are more clean-cut and single-purpose is totally tolerable.

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