Acoustics case study

Ditton Park Academy, Slough


Ditton Park Academy in Slough is a 1,100 student capacity new build secondary school and sixth form. Although predominantly a mainstream education school, it also included a SEN department to cater for students with special hearing and communication needs.


The site is situated under the Heathrow flight path, and is consequently exposed to high levels of aircraft noise throughout the day. The challenge was to meet the BB93 internal ambient noise level criteria (for both the mainstream and SEN areas within the building, whilst providing sufficient ventilation and cooling to meet the “Normal” and “Summertime” ventilation conditions.


We worked closely with the design team to develop suitable ventilation strategies which allowed the BB93 indoor ambient noise level criteria to be achieved in all areas of the building.

A hybrid ventilation strategy was used for the mainstream areas which utilised façade mounted heat recovery units and a single louvre with a volume control damper to provide fresh air. This strategy allowed the required ventilation rates to be provided using relatively small openings within the façade. The relatively small openings within the façade meant that a reasonable level of sound insulation could still be provided by the building enevlope.

Our analysis of the external noise levels showed that a hybrid strategy wasn’t capable of meeting the more onerous internal ambient noise level criterion for SEN rooms. Therefore we advised the design team to mechanically ventilate the SEN spaces using centrally located air handling units using a system which didn’t rely on open windows or other façade openings. We also provided the optimum acoustic specifications for the sound insulation performance of the external wall and glazing.

Our commissioning measurements of the completed building demonstrated that the BB93 internal ambient noise level criteria were achieved in all spaces including the SEN areas. All other acoustic criteria were also achieved in the new building.