A trend is appearing among several apartment towers and hotels around the globe where residents and guests are complaining of loud creaking and groaning noises emanating from the internal wall structure during high wind events.
Over the last two years, research partners Deakin University, Multiplex, PKA Acoustics and Studco Building Systems have conducted world-first research into eliminating creaking in buildings.
This study included detailed research of several buildings with known problems, in order to establish common attributes among the problematic buildings and to investigate the root cause. Many crucial factors of building designs were examined during the research including building shape, wind aspects, wind speeds, vortex shedding, geographical location, structure-borne noise transfer, concrete technology, construction methodologies, curtain wall designs, internal partitioning and ceiling systems and traditional acoustic treatments.
Conclusive evidence suggests that although building infrastructure has changed dramatically over the last 50 years, the way we build our internal wall structures has not and it’s to the detriment of the building’s inhabitants. Notably, generally accepted acoustic treatments failed to rectify the noise annoyance in these buildings.
The research includes a case study of a recently completed, 250m tall building that experienced significant noise inside the wall cavity and ceiling plenum during high wind events. A variety of remedial treatments were administered to the internal cold-formed steel structures, including demolishing walls and rebuilding them with entirely new, never seen before building systems.
One of these systems, developed by Studco, eliminates the noise-causing tension across the internal wall structure. The Studco Vortex system in a proprietary steel stud and track uses patented design to remove tension and deformation from steel building elements, ensuring complete isolation of metal-to-metal friction.
To benchmark the performance of this innovative system, finite element analysis was conducted by Deakin University on wall systems currently available in the market. The stimulation was based on a wall installation fixed to a concrete soffit that had an undulating surface of +/-5mm. Traditional systems showed extensive elastic deformation and large areas of plastic defamation resulting in a damaged track that was under a huge amount of stress, therefore creating creaking sounds.
By comparison, the Vortex wall system when installed on the same substrate displayed 95% less deformation than the conventional system. Plastic deformation only occurred in a controlled manner and was limited to the pre-stressed fixing tabs as intended by the initial design.
Initial trial installations in 2017 in two different 70 storey apartment towers has conclusively proven the performance of the new Vortex system from Studco.
Studco Building Systems are proud to be solution partners to the construction of commercial and residential buildings and encourage architects, engineers and specifiers to speak with our Technical Team to understand how our systems can greatly improve the comfort of these structures.