Noise Complaints for Crossfit Gyms

soundproofing for gyms

As health is becoming more of a concern for Americans, trends in working out and training have increased.  Training programs, like Crossfit, are spreading like wildfire.  According to, there are over 7000 Crossfit locations around the world. Not only are individuals becoming more fit, but the gyms themselves are becoming more fit for help from soundproofing experts.

Crossfit is catching a bad rep due to noise complaints from residents nearby to its gyms.  Located in residential and business areas, Crossfit provides a convenient place where health-conscious individuals can focus on training in the midst of their busy lives.   Although the athletes are focused on gains through heavy lifting and pump up tunes, they may often forget about the disturbance they bring to business owners and loss of sleep they bring to locals through loud music, clanking weights, and excessive grunting.

Owner of NRG Recording Studios in Hollywood, California, Jay Baumgarder, is facing an ongoing case against Crossfit due to constant noise disturbances.  Baumgarder notes that after almost 40 years of recording music in the same location, the newly established Crossfit nextdoor disrupts recordings almost everyday.   

NRG Recording Studios produces with pronounced artists like Kanye West and Linkin Park.  Baumgarder finds it frustrating that oftentimes songs produced at his studio are the very songs causing disturbances to his work. However, music is not the only thing bringing issues to Crossfit.

A Chicago resident, Ms. Caston, shared an apartment wall with a Crossfit gym that woke her up at 5:30 in the morning and created a “Jurassic Park” like living experience on a daily basis. She reported disturbances to the police. However, no action was able to be taken because the gym was not violating any laws.  Fortunately, the landlord of her building was a member of the Crossfit nextdoor and allowed Ms. Caston to prematurely end her lease which forced her to move into a more expensive apartment.  

With some cases still in progress, and others resulting in hefty expenses, it is clear Crossfit is causing commotion all around the nation. Russel Berger, a spokesman for CrossFit Inc., says, “The process for training in a way that gets results requires some noise and some sweat.”

Although this is true, gyms like Crossfit can avoid complaints through seeking help from soundproofing professionals that may be able to solve their problems.

If this may be an issue for you, don’t sweat anymore than you already do at the gym.  Call Commercial Acoustics at (888) 815-9691 to set up a free consultation.

ABCs of Acoustical Consulting

Acoustical Consulting

Every acoustical consultation is unique, and should be treated as such. Applying a blanket solution on to acoustical problems rarely results in a happy ending. However, the approach should be methodical and systematic, allowing a clear set of principles to guide a cost-effective solution that is likely to yield an acceptable acoustical design. Our team applies heuristics that save our clients time and money, and ultimately lands them with a solution that meets their expectations.

When deciding on a consultant, ensure they are certified with one of the major Acoustical bodies in the US, and that they have experience in at least the areas mentioned below. If you find solution providers focused in Sound Masking, then you’ll receive a Sound Masking answer, even if the problem doesn’t require it. By finding a diverse acoustical solutions provider, you’ll ensure a good chance of finding the most cost-effective solution for your noise issue.

When approaching any new problem, the following areas should be considered:

A – Absorption: This applies to areas with large volumes and parallel, hard surfaces. There are a number of products that can resolve unwanted echo and reverberation, including fiberglass panels and recycled cotton panels, baffles, and clouds. Furthermore, there are numerous perforated products that specialize in low-frequency absorption. Ultimately, absorption is most needed in large spaces such as gyms, auditoriums, and large classrooms. (See our Acoustical Calculator to understand how much absorption your space may need). Absorption requires a soft, plush material to capture the sound waves and turn them into heat.

B – Blocking: Includes soundproofing for transmission from one area to another, including noise passing through floors and walls to adjacent dwellings. To block unwanted sound, it is important to add mass to the barriers, as well as vibrational decouplers for structure-borne noise. We most often use sound-blocking techniques for hotels, multi-family housing, and mixed-use commercial-residential developments.

C – Cover: Also known as sound masking, this solution is ideal for open offices when a uniform background ambient noise allows further focus, privacy, and productivity. It can also be beneficial for doctor’s offices or military applications when privacy is a baseline requirement.

C – Consulting: Our team of experts combines 25 years of soundproofing and acoustical consulting experience to bring a blended knowledge-base. While many consultants focus on expert witness testimony, environmental noise surveys, and long-term studies, we focus our expertise on serving the commercial and residential markets in construction, architecture, and development.

Acoustical Consultants should have the skills, expertise, and equipment to clearly frame the problem and then provide an insightful solution. Our team at Commercial Acoustics is well-versed in each of these areas and is dedicated to providing a cost-effective solution to your concerns.

See our Acoustical Case Studies for recent soundproofing and acoustical projects.


Louder Music, Louder Complaints

soundproofing amphitheater

According to Nielsen Music, over 32 million Americans attended a music festival in 2014. As the popularity of music festivals increases, the demand for outdoor music venues does as well. MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater was built in Tampa Bay, FL as a way to provide outdoor musical experiences for its residents and tourists.

The venue was designed and approved to have its roof built 89 feet above the stage. However, the roof was actually built 40% higher than its original plan, giving it the garage door effect: the wider the door is opened, the more the sound is amplified to the audience. The higher roof naturally resulted in a higher level of sound.

Although attending concerts held at Tampa’s newest amphitheater was voluntary, neighbors being disturbed by them was not.

Just after a year of operations, the venue had already received over 300 noise complaints from residents nearby. Individuals reported that even when they closed their windows and doors they could still hear both the music and the crowd.

MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater responded by requiring bands to obey a decibel limit and built a wall as an attempt to reduce sound travel.

Since then, noise complaints have significantly decreased and several hundred concerts and events have been held, including music festivals.

However, problems involving noise complaints at concert venues spread throughout both the state of Florida and the country. Amphitheaters in the hearts of Tallahassee, FL and Nashville, TN have raised multiple noise complaints and concerns from surrounding businesses and residents in their cities. Councils of both cities have taken action to create sound regulation policies that are in effect today.

Properly siting and designing outdoor music venues can be a huge challenge regardless of the city codes and regulations one must consider. When problems arise from loud noises in conflict with touchy ordinances, it is best to consult with professionals in the acoustics industry.


Architectural Soundproofing

acoustical lab test

Architects, developers and builders work in tandem to create ideal living and working environments and to do so, sound mitigation options need to be taken into consideration. STC and IIC requirements on a project are common. The best part is that there are cost-effective ways to achieve or exceed the requirements, many of which don ‘t require intensive installation or extra inches of living space.

How to Spec Soundproofing on Your Project

Step 1. Determine the target STC and IIC requirements for the space. As a barometer, per the Florida Building Code and International Building code, apartments and condo’s require at least a minimum of 50 STC between adjacent living spaces, while classrooms can be 45 – 60 and some patient rooms in healthcare facilities are 60+. STCs are dependent on the level of privacy the tenants may reasonably expect as well as use-case of the rooms.

Step 2. Consider the building materials being used, potential spatial restraints and traditional building configurations to reduce noise. Oftentimes staggered stud, double drywall or resilient channels aren’t practical in areas with limited space. Our soundproofing calculator will help you determine the configuration that works best for your project.

Step 3. Review technical data and lab tests of product options. With all building configurations, it’s crucial to ensure the entire configuration of the wall, floor and ceiling assembly is designed to achieve the STC needed. Small changes such as layering the products in a new order may negatively affect the STC and IIC value achieved. Independent lab tests and comparisons should be readily available.

acoustical lab test report

Since it’s not practical to have all testing configurations, it may sometimes be required to extrapolate data based on accepted industry standards. For example, hollow-core plank is a common architectural assembly in many developments, but test data is limited. Instead, you may determine the expected STC/IIC by starting at the hollow-core plank baseline, then adding in the delta-STC/delta-IIC of the various elements.

Step 4. Take into account real-world installation challenges. A product is only effective when installed correctly and as intended per the installation manual. Time restraints or an inexperienced installation team can lead to careless errors and expensive mistakes. This happens particularly often with Resilient Channel installation errors.

Step 5. During the Design Development of a project, after steps 1 – 4 are completed, a product is chosen and is referenced in the drawings by the architect. Oftentimes if it’s not a hard spec a contractor can choose to use that product or it’s equivalent. If testing and validation of the solution have been done, it’s important to hard spec a product into the building design to avoid value engineering.



Negative Effects of Background Noise in the Workplace

background noise in workplace

We all want a little quiet time.

It helps us get our work done, problem solve, relax and overall just reflect on the things that matter the most. Major companies and organizations such as Google are investing in creative ways to give their employees more privacy to help their focus and overall mental state. One of the biggest entrepreneurship centers in the country, located at the University of Tampa has even purchased soundproof quiet pods where entrepreneurs can gather by themselves or with others to get away from the bustling noise just outside the pod.

Some of us like to listen to music in the background while we work but is that actually beneficial? It depends. A recent study in Glasgow, UK looked at how background music effects introverts and extroverts. Turns out background music on all levels affected task performance on both groups to some extent. Extroverts were affected less than introverts while performing cognitive tasks such as reading and writing, paying attention and working with numbers, while introverts performed much better when the background music was LA (low arousal) or there was complete silence.

So if background music doesn’t help with cognitive tasks on the workplace, can you use a white noise machine instead? Perhaps not, according to one study on school children in a middle-school setting. The study showed that children with no attention problems had more difficulty paying attention during class than with a white noise machine. Interestingly enough though, children with attention problems actually performed better with the white noise machine.white noise stat

Silence might be the one tried and true way to improve attention and cognitive performance for everyone in the workplace. However, there are some exceptions to this. A recent study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign looked at how different noise levels affected creativity. Participants were asked to brainstorm unique uses for a brick while listening to different levels of noise. Surprisingly, participants performed worse when listening to low noise (50 decibels – the equivalent of a large office) than when listening to high noise (70 decibels – a little quieter than a noisy urban area during the day). When the noise level increased, participants had more difficulty thinking, leading to more abstract and “big picture” ideas. However, when the noise level increased to 85 decibels (the sound of a garbage disposal), thinking became so difficult that the creativity boost they had went away.

So it seems that when it comes to dealing with noise in the workplace, like most things, isn’t as easy or black and white as one would like it to be. As it may be, it’s not about getting rid of any noise but having control over it. Implementing absorption panels or putting that white noise in the right place can quickly turn the office environment around.