Acoustics,Ventilation & Overheating - A Joined-up Approach to Indoor Comfort

By Anthony Chilton

24 April 2020

Over the past four years, I have been involved in the production of the Acoustics Ventilation and Overheating (AVO) Residential Design Guide. 

The official launch event for the guide was held in London at the end of January; it was oversubscribed, reflecting the demand for information on this subject. The guide is now available here.

The AVO guide sets out a method to consider acoustic comfort together with other aspects of environmental design, specifically the provision of ventilation and the control of overheating. 

Prior to the guidance, it was common for different aspects of the design to be considered in isolation with a lack of coherency between disciplines. This is exemplified by the fact that, in the vast majority of cases, residential noise assessments have been made with windows assumed closed but overheating assessments for the same development have been undertaken assuming that windows are open. This leaves residents in a situation where they need to open their windows for significant periods to prevent uncomfortable temperatures with no consideration of the resulting noise exposure.         

To address this, the guide promotes a holistic design approach and gives clear guidance on noise levels that might be acceptable in the situation where windows are open to control overheating. A key aspect of the guide is that it allows a quantified uplift in noise levels for the overheating situation with a view to enabling low-energy passive ventilation solutions wherever possible. 

The Max Fordham Acoustics team’s residential project experience includes:

You can read more about my thoughts on this topic on the PBC Today website here.

Anthony Chilton is the Head of Acoustics in our London office and can be contacted via email at


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