What Is My Floor’s Impact Insulation Class (IIC)?

What Is My Floor’s Impact Insulation Class (IIC)?

Impact Insulation Class, or IIC, is a rating of impact sound insulation. Impact sound is the sound of impact on a floor surface, like the sound of footsteps on the floor above. It only applies to sound transmitted down through a floor and ceiling. It does not apply to walls.  The International Building Code (IBC) requires that a floor-ceiling separating condominiums, apartments, hotel rooms, or other dwelling units be designed for an IIC of 50 or higher.  If the floor-ceiling is tested in the field, a field IIC, or FIIC is allowed to be 45 or higher. I’m often asked “What product will achieve an IIC 50?”  IIC ratings can be confusing.  Information published by floor product manufacturers can be even more confusing. One way to increase a floor-ceiling assembly’s IIC rating is to put a “soft” underlayment under a hard floor.  For example, there are many resilient mats that are designed to be placed under ceramic tile, under wood laminate, or under vinyl flooring. The most important thing to remember is that none of these products have an IIC rating by themselves.  The IIC rating is a rating of the entire assembly.  If you are considering the IIC rating of a tile floor on a resilient mat underlayment with a gypsum board ceiling below, the rating is dependent on all of these components.   What is the subfloor?  …plywood (one layer or two)? …gypsum concrete (how thick)? … concrete?  These things make a big difference.  How is the gypsum board ceiling mounted? …directly on joists? …on resilient channels? …on resilient clips?  This makes a big difference too. A common mistake is...
What does HIPAA mean by “reasonable privacy safeguards” in oral communication?

What does HIPAA mean by “reasonable privacy safeguards” in oral communication?

For almost 10 years after HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) went into effect, architects, engineers and healthcare planners had little guidance on speech privacy.  HIPAA requires “reasonable safeguards” to protect private information, but there were no industry standards that defined what this meant. Professionals used their best judgment to determine what constituted appropriate privacy for information transmitted orally between doctors and nurses, nurses and patients, pharmacists and customers, but they had no assurance that this would be acceptable if challenged in litigation. In 2006, the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) Joint Subcommittee on Speech Privacy published the Interim Sound and Vibration Design Guidelines for Hospital and Healthcare Facilities (2006).  The guidelines were soon incorporated into the Green Guide for Health Care (GGHC) and then then into LEED for Healthcare by USGBC.  Finally, the 2010 revision of the Facilities Guidelines Institute (FGI) Guidelines for Design And Construction of Healthcare Facilities added the criteria for speech privacy.  The FGI Guidelines for Design And Construction of Healthcare Facilities provide an industry standard and strong basis for what is required to provide reasonable safeguards of private medical information. The FGI Guidelines give objective design criteria.  Speech privacy can be predicted during design or measured in place.  For more detail, see Sound & Vibration Design Guidelines for Health Care Facilities (January 10, 2010), which is the sole Reference Standard for the FGI Guidelines and LEED for Healthcare.  The 2014 FGI Guidelines will further improve the acoustic guidelines....