In my experience, good acoustics in schools are still viewed as a nice-to-have rather than a must-have (“Can you hear me at the back?”, 15 May, page 40)

The effective requirement to meet BB93 standards has definitely improved matters. A requirement for testing on completion may also make an improvement but is far more stick than carrot. If schools fail then, it is largely too late to rectify the situation.

One myth that needs busting is that acoustics are expensive. If designed in early, products and solutions can be selected achieve the required performance at little or no extra cost. It is when the design is almost complete and no consideration has been given to acoustics that problems are more likely to occur, and solving them becomes more difficult and more expensive.

Having well-informed clients definitely helps us as acousticians. This typically comes from their experiences of teaching (or trying to) in spaces with poor acoustics. When clients see acoustics as important, this is passed onto design teams and contractors.

I think it’s fair to say that acoustics in schools are definitely getting better but, as was written on many of my school reports, there is still plenty of room for improvement.

Nigel Burton, associate director – acoustics, Aecom