Have questions about SoundComply?
SoundComply is an easy to use online tool that provides energy and resource companies insight into noise-related risk and a pathway to achieve regulatory compliance for facilities located in Alberta, Canada. The tool provides a quick picture of facility noise compliance with Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) Directive 038: Noise Control and provides a starting point to choose different noise assessment options.
SoundComply leverages the AER database and other publicly sourced information, in combination with an extensive database of measured sound accumulated over thousands of field studies and decades of acoustical engineering practice, to analyze facility noise sources in relation to adjacent facilities and residences to determine compliance with regulations and provide guidance on the best type of noise assessment.
SoundComply is backed by Patching Associates Acoustical Engineering, an independent consultancy with over 30 years of experience in advanced acoustical engineering, noise simulation, modelling, assessment, monitoring, regulatory advice and counsel. The firm created SoundComply to help clients determine which projects are likely to be straight forward and those with increased risk in the energy and resource segment. SoundComply provides this support in an easy to use online tool that allows for early planning and overall noise management cost reduction.
SoundComply is currently built for facility owners and designers planning projects in Alberta, Canada that will require compliance with Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) Directive 038: Noise Control. The tool can also be applied in other jurisdictions once public data sets are incorporated or on a custom basis for producers planning multiple sites in another jurisdiction.
SoundComply is designed to be used at any project stage, regardless if specifics have been confirmed, or if it’s still early in the planning stages. While it does help to have certain confirmations, the tool is designed to be interactive and flexible where worse case assumptions can be inputted throughout, and results can still be produced.
SoundComply consists of 3 stages – an initial risk assessment followed by a more detailed equipment specification and a Screening Noise Impact Assessment. All projects must start with the initial risk assessment step, as this will determine eligibility to continue to stages 2 and 3. Based on information entered about a subject facility, SoundComply uses public Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) databases and decades of field data gathered in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin to assess noise-related risk for a planned facility or modifications to an existing one.
The tool determines whether a facility falls within the recommended AER Directive 038 Permissible Sound Levels (PSL) and whether a Screening Noise Impact Assessment, or more detailed NIA is appropriate for a particular facility based on its location, type of equipment and proximity of neighbouring facilities and residences.
SoundComply is the first step in a best practice noise management, typically resulting in smoother projects with lower risk for resident complaints or regulatory delays. SoundComply provides more insight into noise risk earlier in project planning and provides guidance on the type of NIA best suited for each facility. Clients that use SoundComply also avoid overspending on noise studies and noise control measures for projects that are low risk. Clients can also determine higher risk projects earlier on without incurring costs for a full NIA, this avoids surprises, allows for better budgeting, and saves time during planning.
SoundComply is free to use as a planning tool, and to identify what type of study is best for a subject facility. It can be used multiple times as project plans change or to test different facility locations or types of equipment.
If a subject facility successfully passes each step of SoundComply, it may be eligible for a Screening Noise Impact Assessment, an approved document by the Alberta Energy Regulator as sufficient to demonstrate compliance with Directive 038: Noise Control regulations. If your project was determined to be eligible for a Screening Noise Impact Assessment based on the information entered, you will be given options on how to obtain a P.Eng.-stamped report for a fee of $1,200 CDN that can be paid online (or by invoice if requested).
The risk assessment report generated at the end of stage 1 of SoundComply is a planning tool only and cannot be submitted as part of a regulatory application or to replace an official Noise Impact Assessment. Regulatory compliance requires a formal Noise Impact Assessment, which is not free to produce. If your project was determined to be eligible for a Screening Noise Impact Assessment based on the information entered, you will be given options on how to obtain a report for a fee that can be provided to the AER to demonstrate Directive 038 compliance. If your project is in a higher risk area SoundComply is the first best step to clearly define a scope for a full NIA and Noise Mitigation Plan to support your regulatory application.
In Alberta, energy and resource facilities are required to complete a Noise Impact Assessment (NIA) when planning a new facility or expanding an existing one to comply with the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) Directive 038: Noise Control requirements. Directive 038: Noise Control states the requirements for environmental noise control as they apply to all operations and facilities under the jurisdiction of the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER). Click here to view the current Directive 038.
A Noise Impact Assessment (NIA) is a technical report that predicts and identifies major facility noise sources and impacts to surrounding residences or communities. An NIA can be completed for new projects, expansions of existing facilities or in response to a resident complaint. Although the term NIA is used universally, in reality, each assessment is different and depends on site-specific characteristics. NIA’s can range from simple, inexpensive online assessments, such as SoundComply, or complex 3D models and noise control specifications to support design and procurement. Since every facility is unique in its location and operations, the scope of a noise assessment can vary substantially and the type of noise assessment employed should align with site-specific criteria. SoundComply allows users to identify the type of NIA best suited for a specific project, without incurring the costs of a full NIA for every project.
A Noise Risk Assessment is an online assessment completed theoretically using an extensive database of equipment measurements, supported by publicly-sourced information. Using high level information entered about a subject facility, noise-generating equipment and details on nearby residences, the Screening NIA determines whether a facility falls within the recommended Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) Directive 038: Noise Control Permissible Sound Levels (PSL) and qualifies for a Screening Noise Impact Assessment to demonstrate compliance, or if a more detailed assessment is advised in order to manage project noise risk.
A Screening Noise Impact Assessment (NIA) is a low-cost theoretical NIA for facilities that are typically smaller, with less noise-related risk or situated in remote areas without adjacent facilities or nearby dwellings. Facilities in such circumstances can complete an online Screening Noise Impact Assessment and receive an application-ready report for a minimal investment. The Screening NIA summarizes the information entered into the Screening NIA, is analyzed by experienced acousticians and stamped by an Acoustical Engineer to validate authenticity. This report can be submitted to the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) to demonstrate compliance with Directive 038: Noise Control regulations.
As projects increase in complexity, more robust noise assessments involving detailed measurements and noise modelling are required. Projects involving multiple stakeholders or those located in sensitive areas where there’s a chance that a complaint may be filed, typically fall into this category. These NIAs are best completed using high-detailed measurements to confirm the scope of work, the unique surroundings of the location, the stakeholders involved and to capture operating scenarios. This process significantly increases model accuracy and assists in predicting long term facility planning and cost-effective noise mitigation design.
Completion of an NIA in early development stages has been shown to support better equipment procurement decisions, provide direction on facility location, and typically results in less regulatory and financial risk once a project is operational, as uncertainties are established at the start, minimizing or avoiding future surprises.
By using SoundComply early in a project, energy and resource companies can tailor their investment in noise mitigation to the project rather than using a one size fits all approach. SoundComply allows for the testing of proposed facility locations, and equipment types and quantities to determine optimal project scenarios, without having to invest in a full NIA during the preliminary planning process. Noise Impact Assessments are part of a Best Practice approach to noise emission management and SoundComply is the best first step in the Best Practice approach.