Case Studies

The Harry Hays Building, Calgary, Alberta

Harry Hays Building Calgary Alberta Noise Assessment

Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Owner Operator: Government of Canada
Interior Design Consultant: IDEALAB

The Harry Hays Building is an 8-story federal office building in downtown Calgary located at 220 4 Avenue S.E. It covers an entire 5.6 acre city block. Its original construction was completed in 1979. It is named after a former City of Calgary Mayor, Federal Cabinet Minister and Senator. Today the building houses Government of Canada programs and services including a Passport Office, Service Canada, Citizenship and Immigration, Canada Revenue Agency, and Parks Canada.

Assessment of Speech Intelligibility Issues

HGC Engineering was first contracted by IDEALAB to provide acoustical engineering services for the addition of two new courtroom/hearing room spaces and the assessment of eight existing hearing rooms that are part of Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Federal building. There were concerns about the acoustical quality of the hearing rooms with regards to speech intelligibility when amplified sound was being used.
We undertook measurements of reverberation and background sound in representative spaces. We also reviewed room dimensions, finishes and furnishings and noted any acoustical defects such as sound focusing or echo issues. HGC also inspected the sound systems currently in use. We analyzed the measurement results and compared them to acceptability criteria for speech intelligibility. We also reviewed drawings for the two new spaces. The results of our measurements and modelling was used to develop recommendations for acoustical treatments for those spaces.

Assessment of Speech Privacy Concerns

At a later date HGC Engineering was asked to investigate the seventh floor offices of Parks Canada at the Harry Hays Building to investigate sound transmission and lack of speech privacy concerns between ten locations of concern between Parks Canada offices and adjacent public corridors and spaces. Sound insulation measurements were conducted to quantify the extent of airborne sound insulation between adjoining spaces and to note any dominant transmission paths. The background sound levels due to the HVAC systems, sound masking and computer equipment were also measured at the time. An assessment of the current levels of perceived acoustical privacy were presented and where warranted, conceptual recommendations to increase the levels of acoustical privacy was provided.


Acoustical Engineering Services Completed :

  • Speech intelligibility assessments
  • Speech privacy assessments between
  • Acoustical measurements of reverberation and background sound
  • Sound insulation measurements to quantify the extent of airborne sound separation between adjoining rooms
  • Conceptual recommendations to increase the levels of acoustical privacy between offices and public spaces
  • Recommendations for acoustical treatments to improve speech intelligibility in hearing rooms



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