Blog post updated November 22nd, 2016 11:54:00 am
Resolving Noise and Vibration Problems in Gyms
As the fitness industry continues to evolve, diversify and grow, we are witnessing a phenomenon within the property market that has not been seen since the cataclysmic decline of the public house.
Buildings that were never intended for gym use being converted to add to the global fitness portfolio. Whether it is out of town industrial units, first floor retail, hotel room conversion or sports centre squash courts, there needs to be wider consideration to the fit out than just the AV and fitness equipment.
I am referring really, to the problems caused by sound and noise. There is a difference. Sound is caused by pressure variations that the human ear can detect. Noise is unwanted sound.
A well-known client I dealt with several years ago had to move his gym, at great expense, due to the nuisance caused by free weights dropping and treadmills pounding in the first-floor facility above a legal practice who, incidentally, were having none of it!
Another client I have worked with in London recently, built a gym in an apartment block and the acoustics in the floor were that bad you could stand in the resident’s kitchen and feel gym users doing burpees…. The fruit bowl actually moved!
As I later explained to a rather worried looking developer, “best case scenario? We cure the problem, worst case scenario? You will be buying that guys £900,000 apartment back!”. Needless to say, we came up with a solution to resolve the issues in that scheme.
Acoustic test taking place in a gym with a level access floor (subsequently removed).
These expensive, worrying issues should be tackled much earlier in the project. Before the lease is signed, get an acoustic test done or subjective drop test report for heavy weights areas. These reports clearly provide current sound levels and details how these levels can be upon in the gym and surrounding properties prior to any equipment being ordered or the AV system has been designed.
There is a tremendous amount of expertise and experience within the fitness industry. Talent, enthusiasm, innovative ‘can do!’ attitude. Sometimes I feel the ‘Can do!’ should be more ‘Can Do?’ and ask the questions before pushing the button.
I guess you get this culmination of attributes in any young industry. After all, fitness, like social media and coffee shops is still in its infancy. Then again, when it comes to gym fit out, I would say the industry has hit that irrational adolescence phase of growing up..........
This got me thinking. How is it that brilliant people, who can be so enthusiastic, innovative and switched on make such random decisions about the fit out of their health and fitness clubs? Surely, there should be some form of cognitive process in the decision making.
Other sectors, retail for example, base specification decisions on technical requirement and / or design image. High footfall may be a technical criterion in deciding on a product. Reflecting the brand image in colour may be a design criteria. Easy eh? It appears not.
Requirements vary from space to space and indeed, from facility to facility. There is certainly a lot to consider with the right flooring specification and my advice is to follow the process as detailed, then challenge it and if in doubt, get an expert in to help. Above all else, get it right first time!