The Hagley Oval and Pavilion

Monday, June 29th, 2015

The Resource Consent process for The Hagley Oval was referred directly to the Environment Court.

AES provided expert acoustic advice to help Canterbury Cricket, and the Court, understand the likely impact of noise from events held at the venue. As illustrated in the image below, sound was expected to propagate over large areas of the surrounding Hagley Park, and key concerns were any potential impact on adjoining residential neighbourhoods, and Christchurch Hospital.

hagley in textAES then played a key role in formulating noise management strategies for the venue, to ensure that any noise effects were adequately controlled. The project was subject to significant time pressures (as the venue was to host the opening game of the 2014 Cricket World Cup) and garnered a high level of public input.

Jeremy Trevathan appeared at the Hearing to present expert evidence, and the Court ultimately concluded that they were “satisfied that the cumulative effects of noise from Hagley Oval cricket fixtures and from traffic exiting the Polo Grounds car park will be no more than minor given the constraints on the production and level of noise and the proposed conditions of consent”.

Subsequently, AES were also engaged to review the design of the Pavilion building to ensure that noise breaking out during functions would be adequately controlled. This was a unique challenge in itself, due to the stretched membrane roof and lack of ceiling in the main function area – a combination which provides low levels of sound insulation. The final design solution involved a two layer stretched membrane system, which retained the desired aesthetic, whilst providing improved thermal and acoustic performance.

UCSA Events Centre

Monday, June 29th, 2015

The new home of the iconic Foundary and Bentleys bars at the University of Canterbury underwent an accelerated Consenting process.

Student facilities at the University of Canterbury were significantly affected by the 2010 / 2011 earthquakes. The ‘Student Union’ building which housed the Ballroom, Ngaio Marsh Theatre and a number of bars was amongst the buildings which could no longer be used.

A fast tracked, lightweight, temporary building (10 years) was proposed as a replacement, designed by Warren and Mahoney Architects; however, a Resource Consent for the project was needed before work could get underway.

In order to limit noise exposure to the neighbours, AES were involved from an early stage to help determine the best location for the building on the extensive campus site. Jeremy Trevathan explains – “While it was a lightweight structure, it was going to be home to some very high levels of noise. The arrangement and layout of the building were critical to helping to contain the noise. All doors and windows open inwards toward the campus and we used sound lobbies to isolate noise when people were entering and leaving the performance space. Inside the building acoustic absorption treatments more commonly used in industrial applications were employed to create an internal environment suitable for a wide range of uses”.

The location eventually selected was in close proximity to a shared boundary with a primary school. Through the use of noise contour images, and by providing straight forward explanations, AES were able to assist the School and University in reaching agreement as to how the situation should be managed.  Through liaising with Council noise experts, AES then also helped ensure the consenting process went as smoothly as possible, with the Consent processed on a non-notified basis.

Open by April 2012, the UCSA Events Centre is now playing a key role in maintaining and enhancing vibrant student life on campus.

Chatham Islands Wind Farm

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

In 2008 the Chatham Islands Enterprise Trust embarked on an ambitious project to reduce the islands dependency on expensive fossil fuels.

AES were engaged at an early stage to undertake an assessment of environmental noise effects in relation to the wind farm proposal. While the majority of the island’s residents were strongly in favour of the proposal (as the only other electricity supply was via diesel generation at a cost 5 to 10 times that for the rest of New Zealand) a rigorous consenting process was followed to ensure any adverse environmental effects were identified and managed.

wind farm in textA unique feature of the proposal was the use of demountable turbines, which could be lowered in the event of extreme weather conditions – as shown in the image on the left.  However such turbines are also more likely generate unusual sounds from time to time.

The initial assessment undertaken by AES concluded that any associated noise would comply with the limits outlined in the relevant New Zealand Standard. However before the wind turbines were operational the Conditions of the Consent required measurements of the existing noise environment to be undertaken. While a site visit was therefore required for initial installation of the equipment, by thinking outside the box AES were able to arrange to retrieve the equipment remotely, and also conduct subsequent verification testing while minimising further expensive travel to the island. Analysis confirmed that the wind farm complied with the noise limits by some margin.

The Chatham Islands Wind Farm has now been supplying 260 residential and commercial customers with more affordable electricity for over 5 years.

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