UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering


Bartlett BSEER MSc student publishes dissertation in international journal

17 February 2023

UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering postgraduate Sofia Felipe Contin de Oliveira has published her MSc dissertation in the peer-reviewed, international academic journal Building Acoustics (SAGE Open).

Call centre office

A graduate of the Health, Wellbeing and Sustainable Buildings MSc, Sofia Felipe Contin de Oliveira's dissertation explored the relation between noise and health problems in offices with an open floor plan.

The study consists of the review of 11 subjective questionnaires conducted in the past few years all over the world in order to understand how workers perceive noise in the work environment and its impacts related to their health and wellbeing. Moreover, the research evaluated the interventions proposed to overcome the noise-related issues by the past studies by analysing their effectiveness considering different design and individual behaviour contexts.

The review showed that noise is a recurrent problem in in this type of office setting, caused mainly by irrelevant speech, chatting, and telephone ringing, which are responsible for causing productivity loss, stress, and low comfort rates due to distraction and lack of privacy. The interventions proposed by researchers indicated the use of acoustic absorbers, separated zones for different tasks and headphones, although the implementation of these measures should be analysed with user conduct and their cost-effectiveness.

Therefore, the evidence found demonstrated the recurrence of noise-related issues in open-plan offices and the importance of appropriate acoustic design in the workplace, as well as indicating the need of new studies after the COVID-19 pandemic and the new health and safety standards.

Dr Francesco Aletta (dissertation supervisor), noted:

Prof Jian Kang and I were very happy to supervise Sofia's work. Having a clear idea of what the MSc dissertation would cover at an early stage of the process allowed Sofia to focus on developing the content in detail, and in one of the final meeting s all together we agreed it was worth going the extra mile, and working the dissertation into a publishable journal paper. Overall it was a very rewarding experience, and the acceptance letter from the Editor of an established journal like Building Acoustics (SAGE), was the cherry on the cake!

Building Acoustics is a peer-reviewed international academic journal relate to acoustics and the built environment included in the SAGE Open mega-journal, which encompasses the disciplines of humanities, social science and behavioural science. 


  • To read the article, go here.
  • To explore the Building Acoustics journal, go here.
  • To learn more about the MSc Health, Wellbeing and Sustainable Buildings programme, go here.


Image credit: Tima Miroshnichenko / pexels.com