Bethanie Waters innovative noise wall

  • 5 minutes
  • 10 February 2023

This innovative mounted noise wall, designed and supplied by ModularWalls, has effectively resolved security and noise concerns for residents at a Bethanie Waters retirement village in WA.

Bethanie Waters - Noise Wall

Bethanie Waters Retirement Village noise complaints & security concerns

Bethanie Waters Retirement Village is located close to a dual-carriageway road in Port Kennedy, WA. Over the past few years, increasing traffic meant more and more residents were impacted by excessive noise. Security within the village was also an issue, with several units broken into.

It became clear that the property’s existing rear boundary fence – a limestone retaining wall mounted with metal fencing needed upgrading. At only 1.8 metres high with a stone ledge, it was easy to climb over and offered no acoustic benefits to combat noise from the adjacent road.

Paul Sinclair, project manager/developer at Bethanie Waters, says that while sound attenuation and security were priorities for the mounted noise wall project, other considerations included:

  • Budget
  • Taking the fence to 2.4 metres high without blocking light into residents’ homes
  • Installing a new fence along the 300 metre boundary line with minimum disruption to residents
  • Meeting Main Roads WA (MRWA) standards, as the fence backs onto the road.

A smart solution with AcoustiMax

After researching various options, Bethanie Waters engaged ModularWalls for a mounted noise wall. Paul was impressed with the quality of ModularWalls, the team’s solutions-focused approach, and their personalised approach to design, preconstruction development and installation.

Working collaboratively with Bethanie Waters, the ModularWalls sales and design experts devised a solution to fix 75mm AcoustiMax insulated wall panels to the rear side of the existing fence. This eliminated the need for demolition, saving time and money.

‘This system was ideal comparing with a concrete solid wall. We also were able to retain the existing fence, which avoided disruption to residents. The new fence was installed on the outside, a great option offered by ModularWalls,’ says Paul.

AcoustiMax is an ideal choice for architects and developers seeking an effective noise barrier that’s aesthetically versatile, lightweight and economical. In this instance, it gave the design team the flexibility to incorporate clear acrylic infills to allow sunlight into the Village while maximising security.

Noise Wall

Streamlining preconstruction

Commercial projects generally require coordination between several decision-making stakeholders, and this was no exception.

‘It was a tricky project, organising an acoustic consultant. Getting Main Roads WA approval, updating residents and Village colleagues. And it took some planning and time from inception to completion,’ Paul says. 

As part of their end-to-end service, ModularWalls assisted at every stage of design and pre-construction for the mounted noise wall. This included requesting a feature survey to assist with accurate pricing and design; collaborating with the structural engineer (WA Structural) and MRWA; ensuring the design met all relevant compliance requirements; and obtaining the building permit.

They were helpful throughout the duration of the project,’ Paul says.

Technical requirements:

  • Because the mounted noise wall backed onto an MWRA reserve, the external finish had to meet WA’s anti-graffiti Specification 908.
  • Based on an assessment of the existing fence, acoustic consultants Stantec (WGE) recommended a 2.4 metre high acoustic fence with the aim of reducing noise levels by 5dB. ModularWalls’ AcoustiMax 75 panel has a Weighted Sound Reduction Index (RW) of 28dB exceeding this requirement.
  • 2 x 900mm high panels plus 600mm acrylic to meet the mounted noise wall height requirements.
Bethanie Waters - Noise Wall

Customised mounted noise wall installation

As several elements of the project differed significantly from a standard ModularWalls installation, the design required some pre-planning and innovative thinking. Then, with the design finalised, ModularWalls coordinated the installation of the 300 metre long mounted noise wall with Eline Fencing.

To attain the required height, create a seamless aesthetic, and eliminate footholds, steel posts were face-mounted directly onto the retaining wall (rather than into the ground). With a 50–75mm gap between the AcoustiMax panels and the existing fence. Because the rear side of the panels were inaccessible after installation, they were pre-painted to meet warranty requirements and ensure durability (painting is usually the final step in a ModularWalls install).

A pre-install site inspection revealed that the entire length of the limestone retaining wall had a slight backslope. So, to achieve a straight vertical wall, Eline Fencing and ModularWalls developed a simple solution: HDPE packers. These were set over the in-wall bolts so the posts could be tightened onto a square fixing before sliding the panels into place.

Eline Fencing contractor Chris, who oversaw the installation of the mounted noise wall, described it as smooth sailing.’ Largely because no heavy earthworks were involved.

Rather than huge, big, heavy UBs that we need machinery to lift. Things were sped up a little because it’s quite easy to get the posts up and move them around by hand. So easy access, lightweight materials, makes it a pretty quick process, really.’

As a fencing professional, Chris says he enjoys working with ModularWalls. ‘I do recommend [ModularWalls] a lot because it’s a good product. It’s lightweight. You don’t have huge issues with weight-bearing and things like that, so you can put it in a lot more locations.’

Noise Barrier Wall

A positive outcome for Bethanie Waters

Installation of the mounted noise wall took four weeks to complete. Painting the road-facing side of the panels took a further ten days. Finally, acoustic testing carried out by MRWA confirmed that AcoustiMax 75 meets the required sound attenuation requirements. As a result, it effectively shields Bethanie Waters Retirement Village from the road without impacting the residents’ access to sunlight.

Most importantly, the streamlined design of the mounted noise wall also prevents unauthorised access from the rear of the village. The residents are delighted with the improved security aspect,’ Paul says. ‘CCTV along the boundary was also being considered; this was cancelled as no longer necessary with the new wall.’

‘Overall, the project was a success, and residents and Village satisfied, no complaints since.’

Project: AcoustiMax® mounted noise wall for Bethanie Waters
ModularWalls Products: AcoustiMax®
Location: Bethanie Waters, WA
Developer: Bethanie Waters Retirement Village
Commercial Installer: Eline Fencing

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