Case Studies

Bridge St. & Northfield Drive Plaza

Waterloo Ontario Commercial Plaza Environmental Noise Study

Location: Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Developer: North American Development Group
Planner: MHBC Planning

HGC Engineering was retained by North American to conduct a noise feasibility study for a proposed mixed use residential/commercial development to be located at the southeast corner of Northfield Drive and Bridge Street, in Waterloo, Ontario. A noise study was required by the municipality as part of the planning and approvals process.

The site plan featured a 6-storey residential building with ground floor retail uses, one 1-storey retail building and one 1-storey medium sized grocery store. The surrounding area includes residential to the south and industrial/commercial land uses to the North West, North East and South West.

Site visits were conducted to identify significant transportation and industrial noise sources in the vicinity of the proposed development. The predicted sound levels were compared to the guidelines of the Ministry of Environment (MOE) Guidelines for Noise Control in Land Use Planning and Municipal Noise Policies.

The primary noise sources assessed were:

  • Road traffic – on both Bridge Street and Northfield Drive. The impact of road noise was determined and their potential impact on the proposed 6-storey residential building
  • Existing industrial/commercial uses – to the north west of Northfield Drive. There are numerous existing industrial/commercial uses. Their potential impact on the proposed residential building was also determined
  • Proposed on-site commercial facilities – Any noise sources associated with the proposed commercial facilities on the subject site, such as trucks at loading bays and rooftop mechanical equipment, and their potential impact on the proposed residential building and the existing residential receptors was determined

Current and ultimate road traffic information was used to predict future traffic sound levels at the locations of the proposed residential dwelling facades.

Assessment Findings and Recommendations
The results of the road traffic noise assessment indicated that the proposed residential building would require a central air conditioning system, noise warning clauses, noise mitigating building constructions (exterior walls and windows) and detailed noise studies when building elevations, floor plans and detailed equipment specifications for both the commercial and the residential buildings were available to confirm that the sound level limits would be met.

Sound levels from existing commercial and industrial sources to the north of Northfield Drive were found to comply with the applicable sound level limits at the proposed residential units.

The results of the study indicated that with mitigation measures incorporated into the design of the grocery store, the sound levels from the proposed development site would meet the MOE guideline limits at both the existing and proposed residential receptors. The mitigation measures recommended included rooftop barriers/screens for the closest mechanical equipment on the roof of the grocery store, rooftop parapets on the buildings and appropriate mitigation for the loading area.

Acoustical Engineering Services Included:
  • Conducted detailed acoustical assessment reports and audits in accordance with Ontario Ministry of the Environment procedures
  • Specified noise controls
  • Developed noise control plan

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