Construction Industry Today

Armstrong helps the hearing impaired with the wow factor

Young hearing-impaired students in Kent are benefitting from Armstrong Ceilings' acoustic systems.
Published 29 November 2012

Acoustic ceilings from Armstrong are helping hearing impaired children at a newly amalgamated school. What is now Twydall Primary School in Gillingham, Kent, features 18 of Armstrong Ceilings' new, easily relocatable modular Axiom circular canopies with highly light reflective Ultima OP (Open Plan) mineral tiles.

These were developed with an optimum balance between sound absorption and sound attenuation to allow improved intelligibility in rooms such as classrooms. Armstrong's OP portfolio provides the highest level (Class A) of sound absorption (αw = 1.00) for areas where fine concentration is needed.

In the six classrooms at Twydall which needed to cater for children with cochlear implants, the Axiom canopy trim was painted grey to reflect the school's corporate colours. These canopies are complemented by eight smaller circular Optima mineral canopies and all contain lighting elements. In other classrooms, the nursery and the school halls, more than 160 of Armstrong's concave and convex Ultima mineral canopies are suspended from the soffit, while Ultima OP tiles and fine fissured tiles were installed in a new administration block by approved Omega specialist sub-contractor GTCI Building Interiors for main contractor BW May & Sons.

GTCI had a team of eight on site for five weeks installing a total of 1,000m² of Armstrong ceilings. The £1million new-build and £500,000 refurbishment of what were Twydall infant and junior schools into one amalgamated school means the children with impaired hearing no longer have to go to Maidstone for part of their education. Two of the three classrooms in each year, from nursery to Year 6, are now acoustically treated. Nick Mumby, director of architectural design consultants Design Quarter UK who had not used Armstrong canopies before, said: "An acoustician advised we needed to concentrate on absorption but we also specified the Armstrong ceilings to create quite a stunning wow factor.

They are the market leader and their portfolio and service were better. "The school thought they were just going to get some standard ceilings but when they came back from the holidays it was a very pleasant surprise, especially for the hearing impaired students."

Graham Turner, senior partner at GTCI, said: "The project was very challenging as the main areas of work in the main school building had to be completed during the summer holidays. "As we are an Omega contractor, we were asked by the contractor for whom we have carried out works for some 15 years, to sit in on a meeting with the architect who had produced some designs and wanted to use canopies. "We only had two weeks lead time to secure 172 of the required canopies. With the help and co-operation of the contractor, client, CCF distributors in Ashford and Armstrong we managed to get all of the canopies to site and installed in time for the school to return from summer break.

"This project shows what can be achieved when you have a progressive architect along with a contractor, sub-contractor, distributor and manufacturer who all have the will and determination to work together as a team to achieve a common goal "

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