Noise from construction sites

Construction noise covers inherently noisy operations such as building works, road works and demolition.

Works often take place in areas which were quiet before hand and are expected to be quiet again once the work is complete. Noise from construction sites often cause complaints when it occurs during unsocial hours or isn’t managed effectively.

Contractors that are carrying out works should be ensuring that they take measures to protect residents, users of buildings close by and passers by from nuisance or harm.

In general, where residential occupiers are likely to be affected by noise the hours of noisy works shall be normally be restricted to:

  • Monday to Friday – 8am to 6pm
  • Saturday – 8am to 1pm
  • Sunday, Bank Holidays and Public Holidays – No noisy activities on site

These hours should also generally cover material deliveries and multiple vehicle movements to and from sites.

There may be exceptions allowed to these hours in emergencies, where there are highway restrictions or other particular circumstances but it would be expected that contractors have contacted the Local Authority to discuss and agree any variation in advance.

In most instances, prior to works starting, the contractor will inform occupiers of all properties which may be effected by noise, dust or vibration arising from construction works of the nature of the works, proposed hours of work and their expected duration.

Most sites will provide information on who you can contact if you have a problem.

In certain cases when planning approval is granted for developments, a condition restricting the hours of operation may have been applied to minimise work at unsocial hours and times, such as weekends, Bank Holidays, Public Holidays, evenings and night time. Developers who belong to theĀ Considerate Constructors Scheme (external link) should be more considerate in their approach and you can complain to the scheme if you feel a developer is being unreasonable.

Under Section 60 of the Control of Pollution Act 1974, Local Authorities have powers to control noise and vibration from building sites by serving a notice on the person responsible for the construction operations. The notice can specify types of plants and machinery, permitted hours of operation, boundary noise levels and the use of ‘best practicable means’ to keep all noise to a minimum – for example, that plant and machinery used on the site shall be properly silenced and radios or other amplified music shall not be played.

Contractors planning to undertake construction and demolition work can advise us or formally apply for a Prior Consent under Section 61 of the Control of Pollution Act 1974, which covers all the issues described.