Commercial & Retail Plazas

From shopping plazas to big box retail zones. From grocery and pharmacy chains to car washes and restaurants with drive-throughs, HGC Engineering offers noise assessments in support of municipal site plan and land-use rezoning approvals for developers, land-owners, architects and planners. The noise studies HGC Engineering conducts in the province of Ontario are in conformance with the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) Guidelines for Noise Control in Land Use Planning.

Typically these types of noise studies investigate the potential noise impact of commercial and retail plazas activities and operations on residences in the direct vicinity of these kind of developments. For low-rise commercial, retail and mixed-use buildings and plazas, this requires investigating noise emanating from rooftop heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) systems, as well as loading areas/docks and drive through zones.

Acoustical Engineering Services Provided

During Planning Phase
For site plan and land-use rezoning approval by municipality and impacted transit/transportation authorities:

  • Noise Assessment for Feasibility Studies
  • Traffic Noise and Vibration Studies
  • Noise Mitigation Support
  • Site Plan Approval support
  • Building Permit/Detailed plan support
  • Expert Witness Testimony
  • Peer Review


  • Noise audits and letters of certification for occupancy permit approval
  • Occupant noise complaint forensics and troubleshooting

Commercial and Retail Plazas Related Noise Studies Involves

  • Information Gathering
    We gather information on planned rooftop mechanical equipment (roof plan, model numbers, tonnages and specifications), trucking information and tenancies, if any and if known. If the type of rooftop mechanical equipment has not yet been selected, we make reasonable assumptions based on the floor area of the buildings and past experience with similar projects. We also gather information on the hours of operation of any proposed drive-throughs, gas stations and typical truck deliveries in a worst case hour, if any.
  • Site Sound Level Measurements
    We then visit the site and conduct sound level measurements to determine the existing ambient sound levels at the existing or future residences, identify the acoustical environment, significant noise sources and become acquainted with the topography of the site.
    Ministry of the Environment acceptability criteria are based on the ambient noise levels at the proposed or existing neighbouring residences in the quietest hour the sources will operate. To develop criteria, we use predictions of sound levels from the nearby roadway from traffic data obtained from the municipality, or site measurements, as appropriate.

Case Studies

HGC has contributed knowledge, skills and experience to the education of young architects at Waterloo for two decades and made repeated contributions of technical expertise to institutions in the local area. Both the generosity and ability as teachers are extraordinary.”

Rick Haldenby, O'Donovan Director

University of Waterloo, School of Architecture

We have worked with HGC Engineering on multiple projects in which the acoustics of a space has been critical.  This includes two performance theatres, university teaching environments, and multiple churches.  In all instances, we have been very pleased with the results.”

Lawrie Carter, Principal

Architecture Incorporated

Over the years we have worked HGC on numerous projects ranging from 1300 seat performance auditoriums to 300 seat churches and in all cases we have been impressed with the high level of service and the excellent results. Our clients have all been very complimentary on the excellent acoustic results in their buildings.”

David Parker, President

Parker Architects

I first used HGC expertise some 17 years ago to solve a very tricky problem with commercial exhaust fan noise on a hotel project. HGC’s solution was so effective in reducing the fan noise level that it quelled all complaints from neighbors. Since that time I have used HGC expertise on a variety of Independent School projects with the primary emphasis on sound attenuation within the buildings and help with theatre acoustics. They are consummate professionals.”

Les Andrew, Principal

Andrew Incorporated Architect

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