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  • Publisher
  • Product CodeGVB4/16
  • Number of pages
  • Publication DateJun 2016
  • ISBN9781906846794

GVB4/16 CIBSE Guide B4: Noise and Vibration Control for Building Services System

CIBSE Members

PDF Format







PDF Format






GVB4/16 CIBSE Guide B4: Noise and Vibration Control for Building Services System

Guide B provides guidance on the practical design of heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. It represents a consensus on what constitutes relevant good practice guidance. This has developed over more than 70 years, with the Steering Groups for each edition of the Guide expanding and pruning the content to reflect the evolution of technology and priorities.

Since the last edition of Guide B in 2005, the European Energy Performance of Buildings Directive has been introduced. This requires national building energy regulations to be based on calculations that integrate the impact of the building envelope and the building services systems, formalising what was already recognised as good design practice. In addition, the use of voluntary energy efficiency and sustainability indicators has increased. 

These changes have influenced the content of Guide B, but the emphasis remains on system design. 

Structure of the Guide

Guide B deals with systems to provide heating, ventilation and air conditioning services, and is divided into several chapters which are published separately. It will usually be necessary to refer to several – perhaps all – chapters since decisions based on one service will commonly affect the provision of others.

These are, with links as appropriate:
Chapter B0: Applications and activities focuses on how different types of building and different activities within buildings influence the choice of system. This chapter is not available in printed form, but can be downloaded from the CIBSE website. For many activities and types of building, more detailed design information is available in specialist guidance.

Chapters B1 to B4 address issues relating to specific services. There are usually several possible design solutions to any situation, and the Guide does not attempt to be prescriptive but rather to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of different options.

Another Section of Guide B, designated as Guide B0:  Applications and Activities:HVAC Strategies for Building is available in pdf format only but as a free download from here.
In addition, a Combined Index to Parts B1 to B4 can be found and freely downloaded here.

The 4 hard copy volumes of Guide B are available to purchase as a set at a discounted price here.

Guide B4 Noise and vibration control for building services systems

This document, which forms chapter 4 of CIBSE Guide B, provides guidance to building services engineers and others involved in the design of building services on the generation, prediction, assessment and control of noise and vibration from building services, so that designers may produce systems which meet acceptable noise limits. Noise reduction procedures are always much more effective and economic when introduced at the design stage than when applied retrospectively. Therefore it is important that the issue of noise is taken into account at an early stage of the design process, involving advice from an acoustics expert in particularly noise sensitive situations.

Although this chapter is selfcontained it is also intended to provide support to users of other chapters of Guide B in matters relating to noise and vibration. The aim of this chapter is to provide guidance to enable building services systems to be designed to achieve acceptable levels of noise in addition to meeting requirements relating to aerodynamics, energy usage and economics.

This chapter cannot and is not intended to be a comprehensive textbook on the subject and an extensive reference list has been provided for those needing more detailed information.

More information on noise is provided in CIBSE Guide A, sections 1.9 and 1.10, which discuss the subjective effects of noise and vibration and its assessment. Table 1.5 in Guide A suggests limits for noise from building services in various spaces. Useful information is also contained in CIBSE TM40: Health issues in building services, TM42: Fan application guide and TM43: Fan coil units.

Contents of Guide B4

4.1 Introduction
4.1.1 Preamble
4.1.2 Mechanisms of noise generation, noise sources and transmission paths
4.1.3 Overview and structure of the Guide

4.2 Summary of noise and vibration problems from hvac
4.2.1 Typical sources of hvac noise and their characteristics
4.2.2 Transmission paths
4.2.3 Control of the transmission paths

4.3 Noise sources in building services
4.3.1 Introduction
4.3.2 Fans
4.3.3 High velocity/high pressure terminal units
4.3.4 Grilles and diffusers
4.3.5 Fan coil units
4.3.6 Induction units
4.3.7 Air conditioning units
4.3.8 Fan-assisted terminal units
4.3.9 Rooftop units/air handling units
4.3.10 Acoustic louvres
4.3.11 Chillers and compressors
4.3.12 Pumps
4.3.13 Boilers
4.3.14 Heat rejection and cooling towers
4.3.15 Chilled ceilings
4.3.16 Lifts
4.3.17 Escalators
4.3.18 Electric motors
4.3.19 Noise from water flow systems

4.4 Noise control in plant rooms
4.4.1 Risk of noise induced hearing loss
4.4.2 Breakout noise from plant rooms
4.4.3 Break-in noise in plant rooms
4.4.4 Estimation of noise levels in plant rooms

4.5 Airflow noise – regeneration of noise in ducts
4.5.1 Flow rate guidance
4.5.2 Prediction techniques
4.5.3 Damper noise
4.5.4 Turbulence-induced noise in and from ductwork

4.6 Control of noise transmission in ducts
4.6.1 Duct components
4.6.2 Unlined straight ducts
4.6.3 Lined straight ducts
4.6.4 Duct bends
4.6.5 Duct take-offs
4.6.6 End reflection loss
4.6.7 Passive attenuators and plenums
4.6.8 Active attenuators
4.6.9 Use of fibrous sound absorbing materials in ducts
4.6.10 Duct breakout noise
4.6.11 Duct break-in noise
4.6.12 Attenuator noise break-in

4.7 Room sound levels
4.7.1 Behaviour of sound in rooms
4.7.2 Determination of sound level at a receiver point
4.7.3 Source directivity
4.7.4 Sound transmission between rooms
4.7.5 Privacy and cross talk

4.8 Transmission of noise to and from the outside
4.8.1 Transmission of noise to the outside and to other rooms
4.8.2 Transmission of external noise to the inside
4.8.3 Naturally ventilated buildings

4.9 Criteria for noise from building services systems
4.9.1 Objective
4.9.2 Choosing noise criteria parameters
4.9.3 Design criteria
4.9.4 Using dBA, dBC, NR and NC levels

4.10 Noise prediction of sound pressure levels from building services
4.10.1 Room effect
4.10.2 System noise
4.10.3 Breakout/break-in noise
4.10.4 Noise propagation to outdoors

4.11 Vibration problems and control
4.11.1 Introduction
4.11.2 Fundamentals of vibration and vibration control
4.11.3 Rating equipment for vibration emission
4.11.4 Vibration isolation criteria
4.11.5 Common types of vibration isolator
4.11.6 Practical examples of vibration isolation

4.12 Summary
4.12.1 Noise in HVAC systems
4.12.2 Vibration in HVAC systems

Appendix 4.A1: Explanation of some basic acoustic concepts
Appendix 4.A2: Regeneration of noise by duct components and terminations
Appendix 4.A3: Interpreting manufacturers’ noise data
Appendix 4.A4: Noise instrumentation
Appendix 4.A5: Vibration instrumentation
Appendix 4.A6: Uncertainty in measurement and prediction of sound levels and sound power levels
Appendix 4.A7: Application of noise prediction software and integrated building design processes
Appendix 4.A8: Glossary


Guide B4 Steering Committee

Bob Peters (Chair), Alan Fry Salex, Richard Galbraith, Peter Henson, Alex Krasnic, 
John Lloyd, John Shelton, Peter Tucker


Richard Cowell, Mark Saunders, Keith Shenstone