• Pitch Perspectives

    Not Your Grandmother’s Church

    How Music is Challenging the Traditional Church Design For most people, their vision of an old church is a cathedral with stone halls and stained-glass windows. Early church design is typically large and rectangular in shape with a tall, gabled roof. The music, such as Gregorian chants, was created to suit the room’s acoustics and long reverberation times. To understand reverberation, we need to understand that sound reflects off nearly all surfaces in a space and arrives at a listener at different times. Reverberation is the collection of these reflections over time and impacts the sound that you hear. As music evolved, there were changes in church design to match. With the advent of classical music from composers such as Handel and Bach, we saw newer churches designed with wood and plaster rather than masonry. Reducing the mass of the building reduced reverberation in these rooms which was more conducive […]

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  • How to Keep Your Transit Project on Track

    Why Hiring a Specialist Can Help Avoid Unnecessary Features for Your Transit Project The growth of cities is increasing the demands on transit systems. Whether it is above ground or below, municipalities everywhere are facing increased pressure to enhance transit services and expedite their transit projects to alleviate the traffic on existing systems and busy roads. Transit Project Concerns Around Noise and Vibration Neighbours and stakeholders are always concerned about transit systems being built too close to their properties. Case in point: When Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) discovered the new Central Corridor Light Rail Transit (CCLRT) project in Minneapolis-Saint Paul would be running within 14 feet of their existing recording and broadcast studios, they were worried the noise and vibration from the track design would be disruptive to their daily operations. So they took the matter to court. Our team at Aercoustics was brought in as an expert witness to […]

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  • Pitch Perspectives

    Can You Repeat That? Optimizing Acoustics with Speech Intelligibility

    How the Science Developed for Speech Intelligibility in Performance Theatres Can Be Applied to Everyday Buildings Humans have used speech to communicate for thousands of years. Our brains and ears have evolved in tandem to optimize our ability to communicate via speech. When it comes to making different sounds, our vocal reproduction system is quite a marvel of versatility. For example, the Taa language spoken in parts of Botswana and Namibia is believed by most linguists to have the largest sound inventory with more than 100 consonants. The vocal cords are a marvel of engineering as shown through this video demonstrating how vocal cords work and this one showing that vibration is a key component. As our ears and brains adapt, it means we can take the complex acoustical field of our surroundings and extract useful sound information from it. The environment can introduce sounds that could help or hinder […]

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  • How Engineering Peer Reviews Can Help Reduce Risk

    What to Look for When Hiring an Independent Expert Mistakes happen. In the best-case scenario, we apologize and move on. But when it comes to mistakes on the job, whether it be in healthcare, education, law or engineering, a mistake can be costly. Various industries have long used peer reviews as a quality control measure to reduce the risk of errors. The process typically involves professionals reviewing each other’s work as a second check. It is meant to check accuracy and review all the requirements. In academia, a peer review helps prevent the publication of flawed research papers. In the medical profession, an independent autopsy serves as a second check to ensure nothing was overlooked. Keeping Accountable with Engineering Peer Reviews In environmental engineering, a peer review is often requested by a city or municipality. They are independent evaluations of project reports, such as reviewing noise assessment reports, performed by […]

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  • Starting a New Job in a Pandemic

    Finding Creative Ways to Train and Integrate New Team Members While Working Apart. As the end of my Mechanical Engineering program came, I eagerly awaited the “Iron Ring” ceremony, a ritual which is the calling of the engineer. My big day came on March 7th and was followed by several big parties. But one week later, the province was locked down.

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  • Drilling it Down: Borehole Vibration Testing to Minimize Transit Noise and Vibration

    If you live in a large city like Toronto, you have no doubt heard or felt the subway system running underground. It probably doesn’t bother you if you’re just passing by—but for people who work or live in the area, transit vibration is a much bigger concern. As municipalities build more transit systems through denser neighbourhoods, there is significant pressure to ensure there is minimal impact on the surrounding community. In fact, the noise and vibration impacts are elements that must be considered in any transit project, and often govern the ultimate layout and design. Predicting Transit Noise with Surface Vibration Testing For transit running at grade, engineers perform surface vibration propagation testing. We use these measurements to develop an accurate prediction of how loud a proposed transit line might be in a quiet theatre or whether you will feel rumbles in the basement of your home. Surface propagation testing […]

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  • You’re Building a Condo, WHERE?

    Acoustical Considerations When Building on Less-than-Ideal Land As the density in cities increase, so does the demand for housing. But developers need a suitable piece of land to build. Suitable or good land means it is away from industrial areas and noisy transportation. For years, parking lots in the city’s core were ideal. But they have become increasingly scarce and developers are having to be creative to make do with the land available. These less than ideal sites are usually close to railway lines, established industry, airports or busy highways – major sources of noise and vibration, which makes it difficult to secure permits and poses significant construction challenges. For years, the solution was urban sprawl. But many buyers want to stay in urban areas for a shorter commute to work or to minimize their carbon footprint. To meet the growing demand for city homes, developers need to build on […]

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  • Can Your Company Culture Thrive During COVID-19?

    Trying to contain the spread of COVID-19 has dramatically changed the way we live and work. It is affecting how teams work and communicate. Like others, at Aercoustics, we are respecting the government’s travel restrictions, moved to remote work, and increased physical sanitation in the office to minimize potential spread. Fortunately, we have had a flexible work culture for about four years. It has meant we could respond appropriately to the public health guidelines as team members are asked to work from home. The move to social distancing sped up our transition to go fully remote. We are completely production capable while being 100% remote. Hold onto Your Company Culture while Working Remotely But we have worked hard to build a community culture at our company and now we are trying to figure out how to keep our culture strong even if we are not physically together and interacting. We […]

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  • Top 3 Things the Building Industry Needs to Watch for in 2020

    A new year and a new decade have arrived bringing new hopes and expectations, both personally and professionally. It’s also a good time to reflect on the previous year. For our team, we experienced immense growth and development in 2019 and the same can be said about our industry. Looking Back: Last Year’s Key Changes to the Building Industry The past year was a big one for mass timber construction and we expect it will only get bigger in 2020 with the National Building Code changes allowing the construction of tall wood buildings up to 12-storeys from the current limit of six. The only exception is British Columbia which secured permission from the National Research Council (NRC) to adopt the rules right away. This industry has welcomed this new-ish construction capability as a more sustainable material. For us, it has created challenges, as there hasn’t been enough noise and vibration […]

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  • Top 5 Things You Should Know Before Building a Mass Timber Project

    National Building Code Changes Make Way for Wood Mass timber has been used widely for more than two decades in Europe but it wasn’t until 2012 when mass timber construction made its debut in North America. Since the first construction, interest and adoption has been swift. And now thanks to changes to the National Building Code (NBC), construction is likely to accelerate with the height restrictions set to double in the New Year. In 2020, the NBC will allow for the construction of tall wood buildings up to 12-storeys with the exception of British Columbia. The province secured permission from the National Research Council (NRC) to adopt the rules immediately in 2019. Growing Interest in Mass Timber Projects Mass timber buildings can be defined as one in which the primary load-bearing structure is made of either solid or engineered wood such as cross-laminated timber (CLT), nail-laminated timber (NLT) or glue-laminated […]

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