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Wistaston Scout Group Get the Hush Treatment

Client:Wistaston Scout Group
Duration:1 day
Location:Wistaston

We visited 35th South West Cheshire Scouts which is situated within the civil parish village of Wistaston and around 2 miles west of Crewe town centre to investigate the acoustics problems that they were experiencing.

After completing a five-year, £285,000 project in which they demolished the old run-down Scout hut and replaced it with a brand new state of the art Scout Centre, they immediately noticed that the echoes in the main hall were extreme.

Used by over 120 Beavers, Cubs and Scouts weekly and with intentions of wider community use it was imperative that the acoustic issues were resolved as quickly as possible.

The building itself was purpose built and is a conventional brick construction lined with Thermalite blocks. The main activity area measures 11 x 11 metres and around this are toilets, a kitchen, large equipment store and a small meeting room. The store area remains with the painted Thermalite blocks, but the remainder of the building has been rendered and skimmed with plasterboard. The decision was made by the Scout leaders that it was inappropriate to use plasterboard in the main activity hall fearing it would not stand up to the rigorous activities of the scouts and would soon get damaged, therefore opting for render and plaster. The ceiling is skimmed plasterboard.

After immediate recognition of the acoustic problems within the building, the scout leaders started researching soundproofing options available to them and contacted Hush for advice and guidance. David Holder, Hush’s Technical Manager, visited the centre to carry out tests, calculating the overall existing reverberation time to be 3.9 seconds with a peak at 500 Hz of 5.39 seconds. Subjectively the reverberation time seemed longer, around 6-8 seconds, which is surprising in a hall of these dimensions & construction.

After carrying out the tests on the centre, David identified a solution and found in order to treat the hall (aiming for a reverberation time of 1.5 seconds over the wider frequency spectrum) that 40 of the Hush Absorber 50 panels were required.

The Hush Absorber 50 is a Class A Absorber that works using a specially formulated 50mm thick acoustic foam and is hand finished with interior fabric that is applied to the face, edges and back. These absorber panels come in a variety of styles and finishes. In this instance, we worked with the scout leaders and decided on white, square absorber panels to suit the aesthetics of the building.

Recently, David set aside a Sunday morning along with five of the Wistaston Scout leaders to fit the absorber panels to the ceiling of the main hall. The transformation was instantaneous, with immediate feedback that they could hear the room recovering.

John Bennett, Group Scout Leader gave us his feedback and said

“David has been brilliant, he helped us mark the ceiling having worked out the spacings so that the finished article would not only have the desired acoustic effect but would look good as well. We ended up with four rows each with ten panels, neatly spaced and giving the maximum
acoustic benefit”

“The result has exceeded our hopes, it is now possible to have a quiet conversation whilst 20+ six to eight year olds are having fun! Not only that, it looks good as well”

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