Dr. Robert Barti
Director of Acoustic Department of INTERNATIONAL NIGHTLIFE ASSOCIATION
Legislative changes produces fear among the owners about the economic cost of the activity improvements. In many cases these businesses with few years of existence when conditions were different. In general the new legislation requirements were added in some cases either raise the bar for others. The case of the acoustic conditions that have to meet the establishments is particularly sensitive. The new legislation is in some aspects more restrictive for activities. Usually the activity does not cause discomfort among the nearest neighbors, but sometimes new tenants reveal their complaint. If anyone complained before and the activity is exactly the same, these people are right? Except some cases where other aspects are mixed, the general absence of complaints does not mean that the activity does not pollute. Note that over time the population is demanding more qualitative aspects of noise, and the jurisprudence about this is higher. The adjustment can be simple, cheap and fast, but becomes complex, expensive and interminable when hiring the services of unqualified staff. In noise bussness there are not “duros (five pesetas coin) at four pesetas”. The investments are "for life" in the sense that not changes if they are well made.
But despite having a perfect activity, there is a very important factor when making the assessment of noise impact: the level of background noise. The background noise is strictly when no activity near the point of measurement is active. Sometimes we confuse the term "background noise" for "residual noise" that the existing noise, without our activity, but other active. The measurement of the background noise is do stopping activity, usually in the early morning. At this time the noise level is lower, as there are no people on the street, little traffic, etc., aspects that sometimes "harm" the activity. What happens if the background noise exceeds the maximum allowed? For example in a bedroom measuring a background noise of 26 dB(A) when the limit is 25 dB(A). Firstly we can say that the background noise itself violates the law, but how does this affect the emission levels generated by the activity? If the emission (i.e. 28 dB(A)) fails in 3 dB(A) the background noise, the noise level provided by the activity is below the background noise and therefore strictly does not pollute. However, make sure that the measurement is made by a suitably qualified and experienced professional staff. In general the “real” assessment says that activity pollutes because 28 dB(A) is higher than 25 dB(A). To avoid problems and to work 100% it is advisable to seek a solution that allows compatible land where the activity is located, in orther to not contaminate. Only in this way, although new tenants arrive in the vicinity, we are confident that our work not only complies with legislation, but it also does not pollute.