Half of architects’ clients (42 per cent) are not interested in ‘end-user health’ when refurbishing offices, according to a survey.
Research by UK acoustics specialist Oscar Acoustics into office-space reconfiguration, which surveyed more than 200 architects on the challenges faced when transforming workspaces, found this attitude was widespread despite the clients being offered guidance and expertise.
The survey delivered “a damning snapshot of the level of consideration being given to Covid-19 safety measures and acoustic health, which also has the potential to damage the physical and physiological wellbeing of returning workers”.
Architects are facing further trials – two in five respondents (40 per cent) highlighted that “inadequate budget for the necessary works” and “inflexible existing finishes” were the main challenges when working on office fit-outs.
This also extended to excessive noise within offices, an area that can cause adverse health effects, with over two-thirds of architects (67 per cent) citing small design budgets as their biggest design challenge to noise reduction. And just 9 per cent of architects felt that acoustic design is given the attention it deserves by their clients.
Smaller workplaces are also proving problematic, as nearly a third of architects (29 per cent) placed limited space as a main preventative to ensuring adequate levels of social distancing.
Ben Hancock, managing director at Oscar Acoustics, said: “In the wake of the pandemic and with the surge of returning office workers, it’s disappointing to see that some companies are unaware of their responsibility to the health and safety of staff.
“The effects of excessive noise can be a silent killer and it's clear that its impact is still being underestimated. Studies have proven that excessive noise can increase the risk of hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, heart attacks and strokes and the rise in office re-fits and refurbishments has given companies a chance to overcome these issues head-on. If businesses are to come back stronger than ever, then it starts with creating the right environment for staff to thrive and feel at ease.”