Specifier Review
Acoustic floor, Chetham's School of Music, Manchester

Acoustic floor, Chetham's School of Music, Manchester


Chetham’s is the largest specialist music school in the UK and the only music school based in the North of England.

A new building was commissioned to modernise and expand the school. The layout of the old building meant that practise and rehearsal rooms were cellular. The rooms were falling into disrepair and there was a lack of sound insulation.


The design for the new building required very high levels of sound insulation. ‘Rooms within rooms’ were created to provide near-perfect sound-proofing, which is important for musicians because Chetham’s is situated in a city centre location next to a train station and a bus route.

Most of the internal rooms were designed as independent ‘floating boxes’. The concert hall was also designed to sit on springs, with an internal structure that is entirely independent of the rest of the building.


Total Vibration Solutions was selected by main contractor Sir Robert McAlpine to design, install and commission 2,169m2 of concrete- and steel-reinforced acoustic jack-up floors over five levels of the building, for 58 individual teaching and practice rooms, and a 100-seat recital hall.

TVS made the teaching and practice rooms sound-proof by installing two concrete floors, separated by rubber jacks.

The acoustic floors, constructed of 110mm deep steel-reinforced concrete, were subsequently jacked-up by 50mm to allow acoustic separation between the finished room floor and the original building sub-slab.Concrete Pour Pic

The concert hall required the most stringent acoustic performance levels. It has a 150mm steel-reinforced concrete floor supported by 366 individual jack-up mounts and is designed as a ‘box within a box’ structure. These support the weight and high point loadings of steel columns supporting the roof beams, the mezzanine floor and the walls.

“We’re problem- solvers, so we relish a challenge and the opportunity to deliver bespoke solutions that meet the demanding requirements of architects, acoustic consultants and structural engineers. New materials and techniques that isolate vibration and suppress noise are not just solving existing problems but also opening up a wealth of new opportunities.”


It is thought to be the largest acoustic jack-up floor project of its kind undertaken in the UK.

“The projects demanded design and materials at the very cutting edge of the acoustics industry, so we were delighted to be selected,” explained TVS Managing Director Paul Lafone.

Michael Oglesby, Executive Project Leader and Feoffee of Chetham’s said “We have, today, built a new school of the highest quality and standards that the 21st century can provide, which is only right for our truly outstanding students to allow them to grow and develop.”

The project is part of the ongoing regeneration of central Manchester.

Total Vibration Solutions Ltd

Tel: +44(0) 1706 260 220

Fax: +44(0) 1706 260 240

Web Site: www.totalvibrationsolutions.com