Every so often you’ll bump into someone you’ve not seen in a few years, or you’ll meet someone new and they’ll ask “what is it you do?”. It’s a question some of us dread and others relish, for us as Acoustics Consultants its likely to be the former.
Most jobs people easily recognise, and whilst they maybe don’t know the ins and outs of what you do, they will probably have at least heard of your vocation, but an Acoustics Consultant is often met with “oooh that sounds interesting”.
Sounds interesting….yes it does…but in reality what we do is a lot less interesting to the lay-person than they expect an Acoustics Consultant to do. And this is why “what is it you do?” is usually followed up with “yes it does sound interesting doesn’t it…. but it’s not as interesting as you might think!”
I’m sure what’s rattling through their heads is, ‘ooohh sounds interesting, maybe an Acoustics Consultant selects guitars for Ed Sheeran’, or ‘oooh sounds interesting, maybe they know the DJ at my favourite club’ in Manchester or London, but the reality is much much less popular.
We do occasionally rub shoulders with musicians, by monitoring noise levels, designing their venues. We do occasionally rub shoulders with the famous, designing their houses and cinema rooms. But our day to day bread and butter is more spreadsheets and report writing than schmoozing and boozing.
We do get opportunities to get out and meet clients, and visit sites for meetings and inspections. We do quite often find ourselves in interesting places measuring noise levels of animals at 3am in the morning. It’s never boring. But it’s never as interesting as ‘Acoustics Consultant’ sounds. Just do a google search and listed in the top 10 weirdest jobs is ‘Acoustics Consultant’ – wedged between a ‘Pro Car Watcher’ and a ‘Roof-Snow Cleared’, Acoustics Consultant is right up there at number eight.
So to help all the Acoustics Consultants out there, we’ve written this blog, a day in the life of an Acoustics Consultant so that whenever your asked ‘What is it you do’ you can save yourself the self depreciating ‘not as interesting as you think’ and just show them this…..this is my day…..
7:30 am – arrive at the office and trudge through my task notes for yesterday and transfer most to today.
8:00 am – download noise meter from yesterdays noise measurements. We took measurements of a new chiller that was installed on a rooftop of a site in Soho London.
8:30 am – analyze noise meter results and average the noise levels to calculate a sound power noise level for the new chiller. We then compare these levels with the previous manufacturers noise level to understand if the chiller is operating as it should. A quick check to the previous report to see if the levels are correct and yes, noise levels are measured lower than we predict so the client will be happy!
9:00 am – start writing noise report for the chiller noise survey and prediction. Whilst reviewing the old one we realise that one of the chillers was not measured onsite last night! PANIC…..or maybe just a little panic.
9:30 am – a conversation with the client to inform them that we need to return to the Soho site to gain access again today to measure the ‘missed’ chiller – annoying as we travelled down from Manchester last night to take measurements which only took 10 minutes. If we would have realised there was another Chiller we could have measured that in another 10 minutes without going through all this faff.
10:30 am – mobilise noise equipment and colleague (Rich who is London based) to visit the site for this evening.
11:00 am – client requesting that our surveyor has a CSCS card which is a ‘Construction Skills Certification Card’ and not something we are generally asked for. Most acoustics consultants would have had a CSCS card at one point in their career however we quite often fall behind renewing them as we only seem to need them once or twice a year on-site. Usually, we are escorted around sites so a CSCS card is not usually needed.
11:30 am – typically Rich, our London surveyors CSCS card has expired, so there is much toing and froing between us, the mechanical contractor (our client) and the Sony team (ultimate client) to understand if they will allow Rich onto the site without a valid CSCS card.
12:00 am – meeting with our SEO team at WSEO on how the company profile is progressing on the internet. Building a presence on the internet is one of the ways we as an Acoustics company may find work. We’ve recently invested in a new website and so are actively trying to boost our profile on the web as organically as possible without using the money drain that is google. We’ve tried google for a few months and it seems to sap money without any jobs materializing. Things seem to be going in the right direction, the only way is up!
13:00 pm – pop out to grab some lunch. You’ve got to eat in acoustics, and a Friday treat of Sushi keeps my mind and body healthy!
13:30 pm – back at the desk writing quotes for jobs. There seems to be a few about today, on average we probably get one a day to quote for but we probably win around 80% of the jobs. We have a lot of repeat clients and have specific prices for those clients as well as first-time offers for new clients. Today I have a quote to do for a new acoustic enclosure in Brighton, wall and floor design report for a number of commercial units by Hyde Park, and a plant noise survey for a new AC unit in central London. Proposals like this don’t take long, maybe 30 mins per proposal. These then get sent directly to the client to hopefully win the work.
15:00 pm – deal with some address changes of various invoices that have been sent to architects instead of direct to clients. Since moving all our accounts to online software this now is much easier as we can do this real-time instead of marking up changes to send to the accountant.
15:30 pm – client confirms Rich can attend the Chiller measurements this evening. I call Rich and mark up a drawing letting him know exactly where to measure and for how long. I give him the contacts for the building manager who he will meet onsite. Rich has done noise measurements for years so knows exactly what to do and how to measure the equipment and how to adapt to things onsite are not quite what he expects.
16:00 pm – Jump back into writing the report for last nights survey and the assessment of the Chiller. Decide to use point source propagation instead of parallelepiped propagation methods – you’re all shocked by this I’m sure.
17:00 pm – leave work and jump on tram to go home.
17:30 pm – Rich calls to say he’s onsite and he’s measuring fine. Fingers crossed we’ll have all the data to finish the report in the morning!