Planning aids for the acoustic design of offices

Project No. IFA 4178


completed 07/2010


The noise situation in offices shared by several people can be improved considerably by effective acoustic fittings. In order to provide its member companies with assistance in the planning of office areas, the VBG (the German Social Accident Insurance Institution for the administrative sector) is planning to produce a brochure describing the different effects of acoustic measures, individually and in combination. The descriptions will make reference to selected examples.

To support this project, the Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance (IFA) has used an existing software application to calculate detailed distributions in sound-pressure level for model office types. These are to be included in the brochure in the form of images.
In addition, descriptions have been produced of acoustic design measures, together with explanations of technical terms.


The acoustic values for the selected materials and office components were determined from the manufacturers' data and from databases of values. Defined office configurations were adapted for input into the software. The existing software was used for calculation of approximately 16 acoustic variants for each configuration, in accordance with VDI guideline 3760 concerning the calculation and measurement of sound dissipation in working areas, in order to present the effect of the individual measure and various combinations of it in visual form.


The sound-level distributions calculated for the various office types show that sound-absorbent ceiling and wall facings in particular and also sound-absorbent front cupboard panels can bring about major reductions in sound levels; conversely, sound-absorbent vertical louvre blinds or pictures are suitable only as supplementary measures, owing to their comparatively low effect. The maximum attainable reduction in the sound level (without the use of sound screens) ranges from approximately nine dB(A) in a small office for two persons to approximately six dB(A) in a large office for several people. If sound screens are taken into account, a further reduction in the sound level of approximately two to five dB(A) can be attained; the effect in this case depends heavily upon the acoustic environment and the location of the screens.
Selected results and accompanying descriptions are being compiled in a brochure by the VBG.

Last Update:

31 Oct 2011


Financed by:
  • Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung e. V. (DGUV)
Research institution(s):
  • Institut für Arbeitsschutz der Deutschen Gesetzlichen Unfallversicherung (IFA)

-cross sectoral-

Type of hazard:




Description, key words:

office acoustics, room acoustics, noise exposure, noise-abatement measures, reductions in sound levels