A garden office blog from Extra Rooms

“Huge Clanger dropped on sound-proofed studio”

Hello again Extraroom bloggers! A couple of ‘soundproofed’ stories for you… Listen up!

About 10 years ago we had a customer who wanted a soundproofed drum practice room. They asked whether they should have one of our garden offices made to their design, but then have it soundproofed by a specialist soundproofing company, or whether we could build it from scratch to a soundproof specification they would give us.

I told them that if two companies are involved in the construction of a building there is always the danger of misunderstandings, ambiguities, lack of communication and/or clarity between the two, and that one company being entirely responsible was likely to be far better for the customer. 

“Just give us a spec and we will quote and build accordingly”- we suggested.

That is exactly what happened; history was made as we supplied and delivered our very first soundproofed room.

These kinds of rooms are a very different kettle of fish from normal garden rooms, they can’t be made in advance and delivered and installed quickly in a day or two as normal. The very heavy sound blocking boards alone weigh many tonnes for each building, so a large proportion of building is done on-site, taking up to two weeks for the double-skinned spec.


A decade on, whilst we still build many more garden offices and garden studios than we do sound-proofed music studios, we do still build quite a few every year and we now have three specs, each guaranteed to achieve different levels of decibel reduction. I believe we are the only company making soundproofed garden rooms who give a guaranteed result, measured by a decibel meter, from 30db reduction for the single skinned, 40d reduction for the enhanced single skin and a HUGE 60 db for the double skinned version.

We introduced the enhanced single skinned version as a halfway-house after about 5 years, since in many cases a full double skin was unnecessary. (What I mean by this is that most people are concerned with not disturbing the neighbours and it became apparent after a few years that a drummer making a crescendo inside with virtually no sound escaping at all, in a single skinned room, meant that a double skin really wasn’t necessary.

The enhanced single skinned spec, delivering a guaranteed decibel reduction of 40 db, due to the fact that the decibel scale is exponential, meaning that 40db is twice the power of 30 decibels and is more than sufficient for most people, since what escapes after that is normally well within tolerances of proximity to neighbours. Obviously the layout of surrounding buildings does play a part, but generally this is perfectly adequate.


So, recently we started building another enhanced single skinned studio, the customer having visited a previous customer’s room, so they could us and the building out. They even looked at another customer’s room nearby. (This seemed more diligent customer research than normal, but when I found out that the customers were a music teacher and a judge, I was not longer as surprised!)

But we, or to be fair I, dropped a big clanger. All the quoting previously had been for a single pitched building, with integral small storage area, so the customer could also to get rid of a decrepit old shed, after a site meeting the customers specification document was altered accordingly.

So we started building it and after a few days we sent same progress photos as we always do, but got no reply. A few days later I called to find they had not looked at their emails and then came the horrible realisation. – The customer had changed the roof they wanted, from a single pitch to a double pitch with the gable facing the house. I checked the spec doc and indeed they had changed it, it was there in black and white. They had not sent another drawing showing the new roof design, they had only mentioned it in passing on the new spec sheet, but there it was, we were nearly a week into costruction, with the wrong building!

What a clanger!

The floor was still right and the roof had not been started so it was not a total disaster but I had to admit it was me who got it wrong and my team were none too pleased when they had to redo some of the work!

However, all’s well that ends well and it was only a 4 day glitch in total, worse things happen at sea, but doing everything bespoke does have some disadvantages.

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Once everything was completed (and the client very happy with the look and feel) we did our decibel check. 

Our guarantee states the decibel levels are to be measured 30 metres from the building, which is the average distance from a studio to the boundary of the closest neighbours house, but we usually under promise and over-deliver, and whilst the readings inside the building were 85-90db, immediately outside, they were 45-50db. This means that even standing immediately outside the building, our guarantee had been met, so with the customer absolutely delighted, we tidied up and left. No more clangers!

So as you can see, there another level of work that has to be done in these soundproofed buildings. With our normal garden offices and studios we know we’ve have done a good job when we leave site and looking over our shoulders the building looks like it has been there for years, fitting in perfectly.  With soundproofed rooms, all this is true but additionally you can actually press a button and find out how well you have done the soundproofing work and when we’ve achieved even more than expected, it does gives us a lot of satisfaction, and our hard work is rewarded.

You know you cannot cheat the laws of physics.

If you would like to discuss garden rooms in more detail or the types of garden rooms we have designed and installed then please send us an email or give us a ring on 01159 899 555 in the day and 01949 813 813 in the evening! Alternatively check out our garden room case studies page.

Written by David Fowler at 14:40
david fowler extra rooms garden office blog

David Fowler, Founder of Extra Rooms