Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

Executive summary

Assessing Vibration: A technical guideline is based on guidelines contained in BS 6472-1992, Evaluation of human exposure to vibration in buildings (1-80 Hz). BS 6472 (current and former versions) has guided the Department of Environment and Conservation's (DEC) evaluation of vibration since the mid-1980s. Thus, this technical guideline does not represent a change in policy approach.

This guideline presents preferred and maximum vibration values for use in assessing human responses to vibration and provides recommendations for measurement and evaluation techniques. It does not address motion sickness, occupational vibration, blasting vibration effects or vibration-induced damage to buildings or structures.

Section 1: Introduction provides information on how the guideline was developed, what extra features have been included since the previous guideline (Environmental noise control manual, Chapter 174) and who the guideline is for.

Section 2: Vibration criteria provides preferred and maximum values for continuous, impulsive and intermittent vibration. Intermittent vibration is assessed using the vibration dose concept which relates vibration magnitude to exposure time. Relevant multiplying factors are used to derive acceptable magnitudes of vibration on the basis of the receiver type and the nature of the vibration.

The criteria are non-mandatory: they are goals that should be sought to be achieved through the application of all feasible and reasonable mitigation measures. Where all feasible and reasonable measures have been applied and vibration values are still beyond the maximum value, the operator would need to negotiate directly with the affected community.

This guideline presents vibration criteria that use the parameter of acceleration root mean square (rms), measured in metres per second per second (m/s2).

The assessment of vibration requires the use of an overall frequency-weighted value for each axis (x, y and z directions). This overall value is assessed against the preferred value for the relevant axis. An alternative to using frequency-weighted values is presented as a simplified screening technique in Appendix A.

When predicted or measured vibration values exceed the preferred values, then mitigation measures to meet the preferred values should be considered. The degree of vibration impact quantifies the extent of mitigation required and the mix of vibration control measures to be adopted as a mitigation strategy.

Section 3: Mitigation provides generic information on mitigation measures to reduce vibration effects induced by various activities, but these are not prescribed measures. This section of the guideline is not meant to be exhaustive or to replace the need for specialist advice. Where the preferred values cannot be met, alternative management approaches are presented.

Section 4: Vibration measurement and prediction provides information on measurement and prediction requirements.


Page last updated: 12 June 2013