Services for Architects
How often have you been asked...
"Do I really need an architect?"
"Won't using an architect cost me more money?"
Nothing costs more than building a project twice.
An architect's expertise and experience can help prevent that.
The same goes for noise and acoustic issues.
Let us help you plan ahead


Plan Review
It's much easier to change things on the plan than on site after the project is built. Have us review your plans to prevent sound problems, especially for projects that are likely to make noise. An experienced consultant can actually save your clients money in the long run.
STC Testing

STC or Sound Transmission Class testing rates partitions for transmission of airborne sound. The test involves producing a test signal in one room and measuring that sound in both the transmitting room and the receiving room. The Building Code requirement is a bare minimum. High-quality buildings should aim to perform better.

See: Residential Noise

IIC Testing

IIC or Impact Insulation Class testing rates partitions (usually floor/ceiling combinations) for transmission of structure-borne sound. The test uses a "tapping machine". The Building Code requirement is a bare minimum. High-quality buildings should aim to perform better.

See: Residential Noise

Sound System Design

Sound systems in Clubs, Restaurants, Bars, Exercise Studios and Retail Stores are a common source of noise complaints. Proper attention in the design phase can yield better sound for patrons and less leakage to the neighbors.

See: Bars, Restaurants & Clubs

See: Club Acoustics

Site Selection - Commercial

For a business that is inherently noisy, like an exercise studio, effective noise control begins with site selection. The construction of the building, the proximity and type of neighbors and other factors make some locations practical and others very costly (or nearly impossible) to soundproof. Have us inspect the proposed site first. This is also advisable for businesses with a special need for quiet, such as a recording or broadcast studio.

See: Before You Sign a Lease

See: Recording & Broadcast Studios

Site Selection - Residential

We frequently get calls from residents who did not know about a chronic noise problem until after they bought the property and moved in. Our Calibrated Long-Term Recording System can be left in the space for several days at a time, catching noise that your client would likely miss in a few brief visits.

See: Long-Term Calibrated Recordings

See: Before You Sign a Lease

Board Approvals

When a project requires the approval of a Community Board, the State Liquor Authority or a Board of Standards and Appeals, you may need an expert to appear before the body on your behalf to explain your noise-control plan. Our consultant, Alan Fierstein, has made many successful appearances an has a knack for explaining technical concepts in simple and persuasive language.

See: Boards

E Designation/Special Purpose Districts

NYC Zoning Code: Special Purpose Districts

The City Department of Environmental Protection requires stringent window and wall construction in certain E Designation districts as per NYC Zoning Resolution 123-32. We have recently worked successfully with DEP to relax these requirements by demonstrating that a particular site was not as noisy as previously assumed. This can save hundreds of thousands of dollars in building costs

See: Developers & Contractors

Noise & Building Codes
A thorough knowledge of the NYC Noise Code and Building Code is essential in the planning stage of new construction and renovations in order to prevent costly rebuilding later on. This is especially true of projects that mix commercial and residential uses in the same building, and renovations that combine apartments or change the original layout of a residence.

Who wants quiet?

Everyone, of course. But people who hire architects to design their homes have high expectations, and not only for the decor. The greater the investment in one's "castle", the less one wants to hear footsteps, children playing or an action-movie soundtrack from the castle next-door.

Residential buildings are typically designed with similar floor plans on each floor. Loud areas tend to be over loud areas, and quiet areas over quiet. Renovations that combine apartments and rearrange rooms change that. Now a kitchen or a home theatre might be over (or adjacent to) the neighbor's Master Bedroom.

Many people now prefer hard floors to carpet and open plans over separate rooms. Some like to expose brick walls and ceiling beams. All of these factors can affect noise transmission betweeen apartments and between different areas of the same apartment.

See Residential

Building Requirements

Building managers increasingly require an acoustic consultant to evaluate plans for any apartment renovations which could affect the neighbors. The architect should not be responsible for acoustic details.

Office Privacy

In addition to quiet, many kinds of offices have a special need for privacy. Conversations between a doctor and patient, an attorney and client or a CEO and a Vice President need to be confidential. But many common types of construction allow sound to travel easily between rooms.

See Professional Offices

Who makes noise, and needs quiet?

Recording and Broadcast Studios, Music Practice Rooms, Project Studios.etc. Such uses need good isolation from the outside, good isolation between rooms in the facility and good-sounding acoustics in the rooms themselves. Exacting requirements like these are unlikely to be met without expertise, experience and careful planning.

See Studios

Who makes noise?

Bars, Nightclubs and Restaurants

They play music, host parties and often have loud clientele as well. In New York, these businesses are most often located in mixed-use buildings with residents above. But even though this is the first "noise problem" most people think of, most such establishments are built with little effective soundproofing. And soundproofing measures that might have been simple to implement in the original construction can cause tremendous disruption if they need to be added afterwards, perhaps after DEP violations threaten to close the place down.

See Bars, Restaurants & Clubs

Sound Systems

Sound systems are all too often haphazardly designed, yielding poor and uneven sound for the patrons and too much sound leakage to neighboring residences.


Pots and pans bang. Machines hum and whirr. Exhaust fans blow continuously and their ducts often extend all the way up the side of the building.

Interior Acoustics

We get call like this all the time. "My restaurant is too noisy". The noise source? The patrons themselves. In a vicious cycle, poor interior acoustics allow sound to build up inside, which encourages the patrons to shout even louder. This is most easily addressed in the design phase.

HVAC Equipment Whether on rooftops, in courtyards or even in individual residential units, HVAC equipment is the source of many noise complaints. And the noise they produce is the type that people find especially annoying. There are Noise Code and Building Code provisions that specify the amount of noise these units can produce in nearby residences as well as methods of installation. Ductwork can also transmit noise between rooms.
Top-Floor & Penthouse Apartments

These residences are the ones most likely to be affected by rooftop equipment, although the sound frequently travels to other units as well.

Elevators, Pumps, Boilers, Etc.

While there are effective measures to reduce the transmission of these sounds through a building, in our experience they are frequently not employed. Many of these methods are relatively simple to install during the initial construction, but much more costly and difficult to retrofit afterwards.