Lead Story West Edition

Inglewood celebrates sound insulation milestone

INGLEWOOD — Los Angeles International Airport officials, along with people from City Hall here, celebrated a milestone Dec. 8.

Joined by representatives of sound insulation contractor CSDA Design Group, the group visited the home of an Inglewood man to celebrate the 2,000th sound insulation installation of 2015 in the city.

William Lee Miller Jr., the homeowner whose home was toured welcomed guests to his home and was extremely satisfied with the sound mitigation program ran jointly by Los Angeles World Airports, which operates the airport, and the city of Inglewood.

“They did a phenomenal job; they did it in just a few days,” Miller said. “Our house is worth a lot more now than it was before. Noise reduction really works. The whole neighborhood is happy. It would have cost me around $65,000 to pay for this work myself.”

The airport sound mitigation program seeks to improve the quality of life for local homeowners by mitigating the noise stemming from airplanes headed to and from LAX.

“The contractor had a crew that specialized in doing windows,” Miller said. “Eight or nine guys came in to measure our windows. They actually measured the windows a couple of times on separate occasions to make sure it was a precise fit. They put one window in then moved on to the next window. All were nice guys who didn’t make a lot of noise and cleaned up after themselves.”

Mayor James Butts was proud of the program for exceeding its original goal of mitigating 1,000 homes this year. Instead, the city doubled that number. 2000 homes have been sound mitigated because of the program. He said no other city has been able to perform at this level.

“The city [hired] contractors with the capacity to do the work in high volume as opposed to rotating among four vendors,” Butts said. “I convinced the FAA and LAWA to release years worth of grants simultaneously so the contractors could forego other jobs and concentrate on Inglewood residences.”

Mayor Butts explained that all Inglewood homes do not qualify for participation in the program.

“The homes that receive sound insulation must be located within LAX’s 65 [decibel] noise contour. Only those homes where the noise threshold exceeds the certain reading were eligible. If a home is not in the 65 dB contour, the FAA views it as a ‘compatible’ land use, meaning sound insulation is not necessary.

“The settlement cannot be contested without returning all of the money previously awarded by the FAA to the city. This is in the area over $300 million. Residents outside the FAA established contours can pay for insulation themselves.” Butts said.

As owner of the 2,000th home finished this year, Miller was more than pleased.

“What impressed me the most is when they went into our attic and pulled out all the old insulation,” he said. “It was very hot that day. However, they pulled out bags and bags of insulation, they were covered with sweat but they kept doing their jobs. They replaced all the old insulation. They worked with the heating and cooling system in our backyard. After that, they worked with the electricity. They did a great, great job.”

And Miller says he can tell the difference.

“It has changed our quality of life for the better,” he said. “I used to hear jets in my sleep. All the time when I’d watch TV, I’d hear jets fly over. I’d lose my focus on what I was watching on my television, the jet would go by, and then I’d return to watching TV.

“But since these windows have been put in, I’ve forgotten about how loud it was before. Now, the only time I can hear a jet fly by is when I go outside and then I remember how loud it used to be. So, really, the sound insulation mitigation has completely dissipated the noise we used to hear from the jets.”

CSDA Design Group, the contractor who performs the acoustical sound mitigating work for Inglewood’s program was present for the tour, also. They spoke about how they became involved with the program and what happens once they begin working in someone’s home.

Randy Waldeck, a principal for CSDA Design Group, served as a spokesperson for the Dec. 8 tour.

He said his company submitted a request for proposal for the program in late 2011 and was selected in early 2012 to provide design services for the program.

“We have been providing design services since 2012,” he said. “The program will continue until all homes within the noise contours have been offered treatment.”

The company provides design services, generating drawings and specifications for the sound insulation treatment. It also provide construction administration support, observing the construction and contractor’s work quality.

He said if a homeowner is not satisfied, they first speak with the contractor’s foreperson. If the contractor is unresponsive, then they would call the city’s Residential Sound Insulation Department or speak to one of the city’s on-site inspectors.”

“As a side benefit to sound insulation, the homeowner’s utility bills often are significantly reduced,” Waldeck said. “The new windows and doors are typically much more energy efficient than what is being replaced and attic insulation is added (if none is currently there) to further reduce plane noise. This reduced utility bill is a benefit to the homeowner and to the environment.

Waldeck spoke in scientific terms of how the project reduced noise before summing it up in terms everyone can understand.

“Practically speaking, after sound insulation, residents no longer have to pause their telephone or dinner table conversations when a plane flies over,” he said.

Participation in the Residential Sound Insulation Program is voluntary, and is offered at no cost to the property owner.

The program was funded by grant monies and established as a legal settlement between FAA and LAWA.