Guidance

Notes on acoustics, lighting and ventilation in schools

Advice for building professionals involved in school building projects.

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, 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 that normally take place therein.

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

2. Lighting design for schools

In 2013, Education Funding Agency (EFA) published the baseline design lighting strategy. More recently, we have published the Output Specification 2017 and the ESFA 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 ESFA facilities output specification.

ESFA 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.

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

Building Bulletin 101: Guidelines on ventilation, thermal comfort and indoor air quality in schools (BB101) and the associated BB101: calculation tools contain the department’s guidance on ventilation, thermal comfort and indoor air quality in schools.

The guidance is 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.

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

BB101 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.

BB101: calculation tools can be used at the early stages of a project to help to design a ventilation solution.

The ESFA output specification (2017) and baseline design ventilation strategy (2013) are aligned with BB101: 2018.

Published 20 July 2018
Last updated 23 August 2018 + show all updates
  1. Updated Section 3: Ventilation, thermal comfort and indoor air quality in schools
  2. First published.