Picture by: Soft dB

Choosing an acoustical consultant: It’s all about due diligence

In crafting this opening paragraph, the most salient observation I’m inclined to share is that—just as anyone can call themselves a writer—anyone can call themselves an acoustical consultant. That doesn’t mean highly qualified acoustical consultants aren’t out there, but it does suggest you’ll need to take some time and care to find the right one for you. Hint: While anyone can indeed call themselves an acoustical consultant, acoustical engineers earn their titles through rigorous academic study and credentials.

Acoustical engineers earn their titles through rigorous academic study and credentials.

So how do you find that formally trained and accredited consultant? A fast peruse through Google or the Yellow Pages will yield dozens of listed “acoustical consultants”, but be aware that many of them are contractors or material suppliers as opposed to qualified and experienced engineers. The former may build or sell products; the latter will provide expert, unbiased advice, and that’s indispensable. To secure the best possible acoustic conditions for your project—no matter its scope—you’ll want to do a little digging. Beyond visiting and reading company websites, we suggest the following measures.

1. Outline your specific needs

To the greatest extent possible, know what you need at the outset. Certainly a consultant can guide you in clarifying your acoustic requirements. But the more you can define how you’d like the space to look, feel, sound, and function, the better they can help you achieve those desired results.

2. Determine the scope of your project

Your consultant’s involvement level can vary considerably. Are you looking for comprehensive service, from space analysis, design advice and material sourcing through to compliance testing? Or do you need more basic help and general recommendations? Establish this early to avoid confusion later.

3. Ask around

One day, I’d love to buy a camper van and travel around the continent in it. But seeing as I know very little about these vehicles, the first thing I’d do before shopping is ask my online community members to share their knowledge and recommendations. Before randomly choosing an acoustical consultant, seek out the experiences of others who have worked with these professionals. Approach civic planners, mechanical services engineers, architects and developers for their advice. Or ask your online colleagues and friends, who may well have more to offer than cat videos or Netflix series spoilers.

4. Establish a shortlist of candidates

Having done your homework, you’re now ready to narrow down options before picking up the phone or writing those emails.

5. Contact your initial choices.

Communicate your needs and scope as clearly as possible, making sure to request a proposal and capability statement from each firm.

Request a proposal and capability statement from each firm.

6. Review proposals and statements to further narrow your choices.

At this stage, you’ll want to look for:

  • Qualifications, experience and resources.
    • Gather all relevant information about individuals who will potentially work on your project.
    • Remember, even if someone works for a large, copiously staffed organization, they may not personally have a great deal of experience. You probably don’t want a project manager learning on your dime.
  • Recent, relevant project experience and references or testimonials.
    • Of all considerations, experience stands out as perhaps the most important.
    • The ideal choice will have worked on projects as similar to yours as possible. Acoustical requirements of a yoga studio, as an example, differ substantially from those of a house.
  • Insurance.
    • BAP Acoustics carries $2M Professional Liability Insurance coverage and $5M General Liability Insurance coverage.
    • A copy of BAP Acoustics’ Professional Liability certificate is available to potential clients upon request.

Determine the scope of your project.

Key takeaway here? Compare apples with apples—i.e. fees with fees—only after you’ve compared exactly what it is you’ll receive for your money.

Of all considerations, experience stands out as perhaps the most important.

7. Talk to the firms you’ve selected as suitable candidates and hire the one best meeting your criteria.

In negotiating conditions of engagement, ensure your budget allows the consultant to properly undertake your project. Again, overall fees and hourly rates should comprise only one component of your decision. “You get what you pay for” may be a cliché, but like all the best clichés, it holds some water. (What? “Holds water” is an idiom, not a cliché.)

So why choose BAP?

TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE:
As a team of professional engineers, we conduct research and develop software tools to better understand and solve your acoustic problems.

CUSTOMER VALUE:
Through this better understanding, we recommend cost-effective solutions without over-engineering.

TEAMWORK:
We integrate with your team to deliver acoustic performance.

INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS:
Our technical knowledge and extensive experience allows us to offer innovative solutions.

INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE:
We support additional market sectors through our extended team including our UK partners.

FLEXIBILITY:
Our flexible and efficient team meets your unique requirements and delivers on time.

Still unclear as to whether you need an acoustical consultant and how choose one? We encourage you to contact us with any questions you may have.

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Denny Ng, M.A.Sc. P.Eng.

Senior Acoustic Consultant

Denny is a locally trained and licensed Professional Engineer specializing in environmental noise modelling, architectural acoustics and mechanical noise control. His career as a consultant began with an internship at BAP Acoustics in 2016 while completing his graduate studies in acoustics at the University of British Columbia. Working closely with Eric and Mark, Denny has had the privilege of working on numerous post-secondary education and infrastructure projects including Emily Carr University of Art and Design, UBC Gateway and Brock Commons Phase 2, Stuart Lake Hospital Replacement Project and Nanaimo Correctional Center. His approach to consulting is communicating acoustical concerns as they arise in order to reach cost effective solutions. 

 

Qualifications

B.A.Sc. Mechanical Engineering – Thermofluids Option (with distinction), University of British Columbia, 2014

M.A.Sc. Mechanical Engineering – Acoustics Group, University of British Columbia, 2019

P.Eng. BC

Leanne Farmer, B.Eng.

Acoustic Consultant

Leanne Farmer began her career in Adelaide, where she gained four years of experience providing acoustic design advice across Australia. She possesses extensive technical knowledge in both building acoustics and complex environmental noise assessments. Demonstrating her capabilities in multi-disciplinary coordination and project management, Leanne effectively managed large-scale measurement campaigns and contributed to major infrastructure projects. After re-locating back to Victoria, BC in 2023, Leanne joined BAP Acoustics. She is excited to be working on local projects, applying the experiences and insights gained from her diverse international work.

 

Qualifications

B.Eng. Mechanical Engineering, University of Victoria, 2018

EIT, BC

Alex Mendes, B.Eng. EIT

Acoustic Engineer

A graduate of the University of Victoria, Alex has contributed to an array of computerized acoustic modelling projects during his tenure with BAP Acoustics. His passion for music lends itself to a particular focus in room acoustics modelling, where he has applied creative approaches to navigate the unique challenges posed by varied architectural designs. His expertise extends to outdoor sound modelling, where he has lent his skillset to initiatives ranging from shooting noise control studies to public alert system performance evaluations. Alex’s ardent curiosity and his analytical, pragmatic approach to consultation have served him well in providing sensible, practical solutions to a host of acoustic challenges.

 

Qualifications

B.Eng. Mechanical Engineering, University of Victoria, 2018

EIT, BC

Kathryn Gulewich, B.Eng. EIT

Acoustic Engineer

Kathryn is a Mechanical Engineer who graduated from the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) with a Bachelor of Engineering degree. She pivoted to the field of acoustical consulting upon joining BAP Acoustics in 2022, embracing a transition marked by rapid expertise accrual—particularly in outdoor noise monitoring and HVAC noise control. Kathryn’s solid engineering background supports her technical approach to acoustic challenges, blending mechanical engineering principles with the specialized demands of acoustic consultancy.

 

Qualifications

B.Eng. Mechanical Engineering, BCIT, 2011

Nicole Yeung, M.Eng. EIT.

Acoustic Engineer

An Honours graduate, Nicole earned her M.Eng. degree in Acoustical Engineering at the globally renowned Institute of Sound and Vibration Research founded 60 years ago by the UK-based University of Southampton. Nicole’s project experience encompasses acoustic design, implementation and testing at all stages of work. Her project contributions include examining and optimizing: sound insulation between spaces; room reverberation time; and mechanical noise emissions. She is also experienced in outdoor noise propagation simulation and environmental noise study for: new residential developments; fitness facilities; office buildings; and industrial developments. Nicole has a strong foundation in outdoor noise propagation software Cadna/A. In addition, she is experienced in using programs such as Insul for sound insulation prediction and ODEON for room acoustics. 

 

Qualifications

M.Eng. Acoustical Engineering (Honours), Institute of Sound & Vibration Research, University of Southampton, UK.

EIT, BC