Vipac Engineers & Scientists were engaged by Major Projects Victoria (MPV) to design and install acoustic equipment at the new Melbourne Markets.

Considered one of the largest infrastructure projects to be undertaken in Victoria this year, the Melbourne Markets redevelopment follows a decade of planning and research to relocate the city’s wholesale fruit, vegetable and flower market from Footscray to Epping.

Managed by Major Projects Victoria (MPV) on behalf of the Victorian State Government, the $600 million project will pave the way for more efficient trading and transport of fresh produce in Melbourne, benefitting 600 businesses who will directly utilise the facility with another 3,000 businesses indirectly involved. The largest roofed building in the Southern Hemisphere occupies a 70-hectare site.

MPV engaged Vipac in November 2014 to design and install acoustic equipment to monitor compliance with EPA noise limits. Vehicles represent one of the most pervasive sources of noise pollution in a vibrant, bustling location such as Melbourne Markets. To alleviate noise from trucks and forklifts, the new market provides for dedicated loading and unloading areas.

Vipac’s engineers have also installed three permanent noise loggers and five gate noise monitors at the market entrances with the recorded data to be used to warn loud trucks to reduce their noise emissions. Delineated forklift passageways have been provided to soften forklift noise. Additionally, Vipac’s engineers will design a noise test bay to routinely test forklifts and help develop rules around their maintenance. The technical data gained from this exercise will minimise forklift noise disturbance.

Since the site wasn’t operational at the time of the installation, a key challenge for Vipac’s engineers was to create suitable noise sources to mimic the anticipated sound. To resolve this, Vipac employed artificial sound sources. Installing the three permanent noise loggers presented another challenge since the noise levels needed to be recorded accurately to represent the noise generated from the market.

The results from Vipac’s acoustic testing have enabled developers to understand the noise impact on residents in the neighbourhood, while providing the assurance that noise emission problems would be mitigated through appropriate action. Vipac’s results demonstrate that simulated market noise levels at all assessable locations are compliant with noise limits of the State Environmental Protection Policy (control of noise from industry, commerce and trade) No. N-1 (SEPP N-1).

Vipac’s detailed Market Environmental Management Plan featuring strategies to control noise levels, will not only minimise the noise emitted into nearby areas but will also help meet the relevant design standards and regulatory requirements associated with noise during the market’s operation.

Vipac’s acoustic solutions will help Major Projects Victoria transform Melbourne Markets into a safe and comfortable place to do business.