Acoustics, lighting and ventilation in schools

Updated 18 December 2014

1. Acoustic design of schools

The Department for Education’s acoustic performance standards for schools are given in Building Bulletin 93 (BB93), published December 2014. This supersedes the 2003 BB93 edition, and the document ‘Acoustic Performance Standards for the Priority School Building Programme (PSBP)’, 2013.

You can also find the baseline designs acoustics strategy on GOV.UK.

1.1 ‘Building Bulletin 93: Acoustic Design of Schools - Performance Standards’

‘Building Bulletin 93: Acoustic Design of Schools - Performance Standards’ (BB93), 2014 is intended for designers and building control bodies. It gives the performance targets for compliance with Requirement E4 of the Building Regulations on School Acoustics that:

Each room or other space in a school building shall be designed and constructed in such a way that it has the acoustic conditions and the insulation against disturbance by noise appropriate to its intended use.

All school buildings are subject to detailed design checks and on-site inspections by building control bodies.

BB93 also gives guidance on how to meet the acoustic requirement of the School Premises Regulations and the Independent School Standards that:

The acoustic conditions and sound insulation of each room or other space must be suitable, having regard to the nature of the activities which normally take place therein.

Supporting guidance on how to achieve the performance standards in BB93 will be published in 2015 by the Institute of Acoustics (IoA) and the Association of Noise Consultants (ANC) in ‘Acoustics of Schools: a Design Guide’.

1.2 Public consultation in 2014

The Department for Education conducted a public consultation on the revised BB93 in early 2014 and published the government response in December 2014.

2. Lighting design for schools

In 2013, Education Funding Agency (EFA) published the facilities output specification for the EFA contractors framework, and the baseline design lighting strategy. More recently, we have published the EFA daylight design guide. These documents contain the most up-to-date guidance on lighting design and daylight modelling for schools.

The daylight design guide gives detailed guidance on how to carry out climate-based daylight modelling to comply with the EFA facilities output specification.

EFA lighting design standards are in line with the latest industry guidance from the Society of Light and Lighting (SLL) and the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE).

‘Lighting Guide 5: Lighting for Education’ (LG5) gives a comprehensive guide to lighting for building services engineers.

LG5 was preceded by ‘Building Bulletin 90: Lighting Design for Schools’ (BB90). BB90 contains some more general lighting design advice suitable for architects and clients. It is available as a publication from the Stationery Office.

3. Ventilation, thermal comfort and indoor air quality in schools

In 2013, EFA published the facilities output specification and the baseline design ventilation strategy. Together with ‘Building Bulletin 101: Ventilation of School Buildings’ (BB101) and the calculation tools ClassVent and ClassCool these documents contain the department’s guidance on ventilation, thermal comfort and indoor air quality in schools.

EFA ventilation design standards are in line with the latest industry guidance from CIBSE on prevention of summertime overheating contained in its publications ‘TM52: the Limits of Thermal Comfort’ and ‘KS16: How to Manage Overheating in Buildings’.

EFA plans to publish new guidelines for ventilation, thermal comfort and indoor air quality to replace BB101 with guidance based on the standards in the current facilities output specification.

BB101 gives guidance on providing ventilation and avoiding overheating in school buildings and Approved Documents (AD) F and L of the Building Regulations.

It also includes the ventilation performance standards required in teaching spaces. It is the document quoted in AD F as the main supporting document, and indicates how compliance with the Building Regulations may be achieved for schools.

BB101 is also quoted in AD L as giving guidance on how to prevent summertime overheating in schools.

ClassVent and ClassCool tools can be used at the early stages of design to help to select a ventilation strategy.

ClassVent produces preliminary sizes for ventilation openings for a variety of ventilation strategies. ClassCool can be used at the early stages of design to consider ways to prevent summertime overheating.

ClassVent and ClassCool are now only considered to be suitable for early design calculations and not for use in building control submissions.