Children 1st Bairns Hoose

Date Complete 2023
Location UK Scotland
Client Children 1st
Architect Lee Boyd Architects

Project summary

The Children 1st Bairns Hoose, located in the West of Scotland, is a purpose-built facility that provides justice, health, social work and recovery support for children who have been a victim or a witness of serious crime.

The building offers a child-friendly, safe and welcoming place for children to be interviewed by police and social workers, give evidence to the courts and receive the necessary care and support to recover from trauma.

The facility, based on the internationally renowned Barnahus model, is the first of its kind in Scotland. Children 1st developed the Bairns Hoose in partnership with Victim Support Scotland, The University of Edinburgh, and Children England, thanks to funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Detailed design

Sandy Brown provided acoustic design advice for the project, including an appraisal of the existing building’s fabric and setting, and advice on the internal acoustics.

The two key acoustic issues on the project were the provision of high standards of acoustic privacy, and the control of reverberation, particularly in the main interview rooms.

The building was required to have a domestic feel to help provide a welcoming environment. This meant that high-performance acoustic doors, as might be seen in more typical institutional environments, were not appropriate. We therefore assisted the architect in reviewing and revising the layout to help aid in the provision of sound insulation to the key rooms. We also provided guidance on the specification of internal partitions, and the control of flanking sound, particularly via the solum space below, and the attic space above.

The control of reverberation, particularly in the main interview rooms, was also very important as these spaces were to be used for video calls to the courts, and recordings to be used as evidence. We provided guidance on reverberation time criteria and advice on sound absorbing room finishes. This includes sound absorbing timber wall panels, sound absorbing drapes, and soft furnishings.

We also reviewed the building services systems and provided advice on measures to help minimise noise levels in the critical spaces.

Additional comments

Children 1st had the following to say:

“Having experienced the trauma of abuse and the ongoing repercussions that this can have on their lives as they seek justice and recovery, it is of paramount importance that the children and young people who come to the Children 1st Bairns Hoose feel safe, secure and supported. Soundproofing was of the upmost importance in the design of the Children 1st Bairns Hoose to ensure that the privacy of children and young people is protected as they share their experiences with police, social workers, lawyers, courts and recovery workers. In addition to this, the ability to record high quality evidence from children and young people within Bairns Hoose is integral to ensuring that they do not need to face the retraumatisation of appearing in court. The high standard of products and service provided by Sandy Brown has enabled the provision of acoustic privacy and the control of reverberation within the Children 1st Bairns Hoose, meeting the needs of the children, young people and professionals who use the facility and contributing to the pursuit of justice and recovery.” –
Shirley Ireland, Head of Property at Children 1st