Wind-Induced Noise from Developments

Posted on December 16, 2015


Wind-induced noise associated with buildings is not only a nuisance for the occupants and neighbours, but can also cost valuable time and money to rectify if not identified early. This issue is something that occurs irrespective of the height of the building.

A recent example of this is Beetham Tower located in Manchester, England, which has been generating strange noises since its completion in 2006. Ranging from a low-pitched humming noise to a shrieking sound, the Beetham Tower makes noise when winds exceed approximately 48 km/hr (30 mph) during easterly or westerly wind events. It is reported that the noise can be heard from over 11 km (7 miles) away. The noise is caused by wind passing over the blade feature at the top of the tower.

The owners have approached other consultants who made numerous attempts to try and rectify this issue since its completion but with little to no success.

Windtech Consultants have been involved in successfully resolving these types of wind-induced noise issues on many projects. We have also helped identify potential wind noise sources during the design process, which has helped avoid this situation from occurring in the first place. Windtech Consultants recommend an initial desktop assessment to evaluate the potential for wind-induced noise generation from various façade elements on the exterior of the building prior to construction. If the potential for wind noise is unclear due to complex form of the element, full scale testing is undertaken where a sample of the building element in question is subjected to winds from varying angles of attack. Measurements of sound pressure levels and spectra are measured to quantify the extent of wind noise where it occurs.

An example of a project where a wind noise issue was identified prior to construction is the Carins Harbour Lights Hotel development. Windtech Consultants identified a particular slatted screen formed from a series of RHS profiles as being capable of generating significant noise and vibration. Windtech recommended changing the sharp corners with 5mm radiused corners, which eliminated that problem.

Windtech Consultants recently undertook a remedial wind-induced noise study for the Workzone Building in Perth, Australia. Post construction, the external sunshade louvres illustrated, began to generate significant wind noise and vibration, an issue that identified as an area of concern or resolved by the incumbent consultant. An initial desktop assessment by Windtech Consultants highlighted the susceptibility of the sunshade structure to generate wind-induced noise effects due to vortex shedding. This was confirmed in the tunnel using a full scale sample. A number of solutions were presented and tested as part of the wind tunnel study with workable solutions which could be retro-fitted with minimal cost to the client.

fig1Figure 1: Wind Tunnel Testing for Workzone Building, Perth

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