Rockfon ceilings have been specified as part of a major refurbishment to the Town Hall at Weston Super Mare. The £9.7million project for North Somerset Council has transformed the Town Hall into a modern public facility, bringing more council services into one space and improving disabled access. It also houses a new public library, internet cafe and payment kiosks for council services.

A primary goal of the refurbishment was to make the building more cost-effective to run and to reduce carbon emissions by 61%. This will be achieved in part by optimising the thermal mass of the building, allowing warm air to circulate freely over exposed concrete surfaces. Excess heat is absorbed then released as temperatures drop, helping to reduce heating and ventilation costs.

These hard, sound reflective surfaces must be left exposed, which often results in poor acoustics. Within the Town Hall, the open plan offices on all floors are also open to a central atria, which is the full height of the building. To help overcome these issues, 120 Rockfon Eclipse ceiling islands have been installed. These islands are ideal for thermal mass applications because they allow air to circulate whilst absorbing sound from both sides of the panel. They fully exploit the acoustic islands’ principle, whilst minimising the number of islands required to achieve the desired acoustic performance.

Acoustic testing was carried out to measure the reverberation time both prior to refurbishment, then again on completion of the project. Microphones and sound sources were used at different heights and locations to assess the acoustics in the office. Red Twin Ltd of Bristol undertook the measurements in accordance with the methods described in BS EN ISO 3382:2008, using the interrupted noise technique.

Ian Matthews, Director at Red Twin, confirmed the results: “The outcome of our testing before and after the installation of Rockfon’s Eclipse ceiling rafts has shown a considerable reduction in the reverberation time”

Rockfon’s ceiling islands can significantly improve levels of sound absorption, helping to create a more pleasant and productive working environment for staff and visitors. To hear the results for yourself, watch the YouTube video at acoustics.

Rockfon Eclipse is manufactured from stone wool resin bonded mineral wool and is available in square or rectangular formats to offer a solution to any kind of room configuration. The frameless island has a minimalistic sharp-looking edge underlined by a subtle and elegant bevel. The smooth, white surface is very long-lasting and ensures a perfect reflection of light and heat.

In addition, they offer exceptional dimensional stability, even in up to 100% humidity. Key performance features of fire resistance and hygiene are superior to any other comparable materials, with a non-hygroscopic surface that offers no sustenance to harmful micro-organisms.