Acoustics are key to creating comfortable, effective and productive commercial environments that foster clear communication, productivity and focus. These factors are especially vital in spaces like conference rooms where the ability to clearly express and understand ideas is of high importance - and crucial to a success of the meeting or event. With inadequate acoustic fit-out, it may be hard to properly hear the speaker or other attendees, the ability to focus may be reduced - and the level of productivity can drop significantly.

This is an especially important consideration for hotels, which are common destinations for important meetings, corporate exercises and even getaways. Ensuring hotel conference spaces have an acceptable acoustic performance (particularly when it comes to minimising noise transfer between rooms) is essential to protecting confidentiality as well as providing a positive experience for any businesses who have hired the space. Failure to do so can result in lost income not only from the conference rooms themselves, but from hotel accommodation, bars and restaurants as people may opt not to stay at, or return to the venue.

There is a significant and real need to provide optimum conditions to ensure the space is designed to provide the right listening experience. And yet, as obvious as it seems, acoustics are sometimes overlooked - causing many modern conference spaces to struggle with excessive noise, lack of audibility within the rooms, and an uncomfortable acoustic experience overall.

In addition to that, in accordance with Association of Australasian Acoustical Consultants Guideline for Commercial Building Acoustics v 2.0., office spaces qualify as Class 5 buildings in the Building Code of Australia (BCA), Part F5 Sound Transmission and Insulation is only applicable to Class 2, 3 and 9. That means there’s no minimum standards for commercial spaces such as conference rooms, which - in turn - means that it is even more important to take into consideration acoustic requirements of the space and ensure that high-quality, effective and appropriate acoustic solutions are given appropriate priority in order to create productive spaces.

So what are some of the biggest challenges when it comes to acoustic experience in conference space? And what are the best ways to improve the acoustic experience in order to foster the best customer experience and a thriving business?

Reverberation is the biggest cause of unfavourable acoustic experience. Spaces like conference rooms, meeting rooms and boardrooms tend to feature a variety of hard surfaces that bounce the sound around the room, causing reduced speech intelligibility. The high presence of glass, plasterboard walls and in some cases high-end stone or glass table tops, do not absorb sound - and all too often the only absorbent material in a space like this is the carpeted floor - which will frequently absorb high frequency sounds only.

However, there are products designed specifically to address acoustic challenges. Acoustic treatments like panelling and acoustic wall and ceiling systems are extremely effective in controlling reverberation and reducing sound levels which can in turn improve the ability to exchange ideas, focus and be productive in any meeting room or conference centre.

For instance, Autex’s Quietspace® Panel, is a high-performance acoustic product that is suitable for both wall and ceiling applications. It can be fixed onto the surface directly, and is a fantastic choice for bigger spaces, the panel will reduce reverberated noise in larger conference spaces when installed on the ceiling. Engineered to absorb a minimum of 85% of the sound energy, Quietspace® Panel is the acoustic solution for spaces with high noise levels.

For more flexibility, Autex’s Cube™is a lightweight acoustic solution that offers not only excellent acoustic performance but can truly elevate the decorative appeal of the room. The panels soak up excess reverberation and lower the noise levels, while the wide range of contemporary colour and design options makes it easy to specify a solution for any space, without compromising on the overall design. Made from polyester, they are easy to cut to size and shape offering a myriad of spatial configurations and decorative options - even in smaller spaces.

Autex is a leading designer and manufacturer of acoustic treatment solutions in Australia. They offer a wide range of products that can successfully improve acoustic conditions of any conference room or business centre - and increase the productivity of the attendants, the outcomes of the meetings, and the commercial returns of the venues.