People News

Our People: Tom Hills.


Enabling acoustic excellence in schools.

I joined Hoare Lea…

…in 2010 as a Graduate Acoustic Engineer. I’m now an Associate and I lead day-to-day technical designs on projects all across the UK. While I’m based in Bournemouth, I also cover the majority of the acoustic work we do in the Middle East.

My work is incredibly varied – one day I can be out on-site measuring the noise levels of a Porsche or a high-speed roller coaster and the next I can be back at by desk doing complex calculations.

I’m interested in school acoustics…

… because these are the environments where the next generation are nurtured and inspired. A building’s ability to keep children engaged is too often underplayed.

While the educational experience is impacted by pupils and teachers, the building itself can also be instrumental.

A successful learning environment can be created…

…by using good acoustic design as a key component. A bad design will be easy to spot; teachers may have to shout; children may not be able to concentrate.

My team and I work closely with architects and engineers to ensure that the acoustic environment in a classroom delivers a good experience for all, increasing productivity and a sense of well being for teachers and students alike.

Some of the most interesting schools…

…I’ve worked on during my career range from primary schools, SEN schools, to secondary schools and sixth form colleges. I have enjoyed seeing the transition from the traditional four-walled classrooms to the modern, interactive spaces of today.

This has also created new and exciting challenges, such as delivering open-plan learning spaces, traditional classroom ceilings needing to be replaced with acoustic baffles, and an increase in specialised music and drama facilities.

Schools should always be…

…designed with the pupil in mind and help them create happy memories.

Too often the fundamental reason for schools is forgotten. The focus is being placed on cost and the holistic experience of pupils is being compromised as a consequence.

In my spare time…

…I love to play sports and I play far too many musical instruments. Alongside seeing friends, you can find me working on my rather unusual camper van conversion, a 1954 German Fire Engine! As the vehicle is so old there is a never-ending list of jobs to be done.