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Construction and Demolition Work

Construction and demolition works are usually noisy and can take place in areas, which are normally quiet. Although the work may not last long, the disturbance caused by noise and dust and other issues may lead to problems for people who live and work near the site. The Council often receives complaints from people about this disturbance.

We try to ensure that noisy building work is restricted to these hours:

  • Monday to Friday: 8am - 6pm
  • Saturday: 8am - 1pm
  • Sunday: No work 

It is in everyone’s interest to try to foresee any problems, which could arise and plan ways to avoid them. Contractors should obtain a copy of British Standard 5228 which is a Code of Practice containing information and procedures for noise control on construction and open sites. Copies can be obtained from HMSO or via any good bookshop.

If you require our help please contact us.

Tell us:

  • Your Name, Address, and a contact telephone number
  • Details of the construction or demolition working being undertaken
  • Details of how they are affecting you
  • Is the work already underway

We will advise you of the reference number of your report, which you should quote if you contact us again about this matter.

The Law

Contractors and Sub-Contractors should bear in mind that the Council has extensive powers to control noise and other nuisance from building sites under the Control of Pollution Act 1974 and the Environmental Protection Act 1990 if informal action fails to solve any problems. This can involve prescribing working hours and methods.

Sections 60 and 61 of The Control of Pollution Act 1974 enable the Council to impose conditions on the way in which work is carried out on construction sites in order to limit the noise impact on surrounding dwellings.

If, however, operators fail to adhere to the agreed times then enforcement powers may be used to enforce the necessary restrictions.  A failure to comply can lead to prosecution and a fine of up to £20,000.

Site operators can apply to the Borough Council to obtain consent to operate such equipment outside these hours. Consent will not normally be given without good reason and it is the responsibility of the contractors to organise their work accordingly.

All sites are different but there are some guidelines below that may be adapted to suit most conditions and cover the main issues that from experience often lead to complaints.

Our Advice

For major construction programmes or if you would like further advice please contact us.

  • Give neighbours who may be affected by particular operations at least 48 hours notice.
  • Keep normal working hours between 8.00am to 6.00 pm Monday to Friday and 8.00am to 1.00pm on Saturdays. There should be no Sunday or Bank Holiday working, as far as possible.
  • Select the quietest suitable plant and equipment and keep it properly maintained and observe safe working practices.
  • Make sure that all sub-contractors are told to carry out their work in compliance with agreed guidelines on noise and dust and other matters.
  • For long term and complex projects, arrange for detailed liaison with the local community, through structured meetings with residents.
  • Avoid the need to park on the street by providing on-site parking wherever possible.
  • Inform the Environmental Health Department where your activities might be expected to cause disturbance. Care must be taken to avoid damage to neighbour property. Detailed laws exists on this.
  • Sites should be surveyed for the presence of asbestos-containing materials by a competent person. Detailed laws exists on working with and disposal of such material.
  • Keep the public footpaths and highways in a clean and tidy state.
  • DO NOT light bonfires; the penalties are severe and the exemptions are very restricted.
  • Take all reasonably practicable steps to prevent noise and dust from causing nuisance.
  • Ensure that any particularly noisy operations are carried out within the above times.
  • Do not allow the use of radios on the site in circumstances where it could cause disturbance.

In addition this Authority wishes to draw developers/contractors  attention to the Considerate Contactors Scheme. This is a voluntary Code of Practice, driven by the construction industry, which seeks to:-

  • Minimise any disturbance or negative impact (in terms of noise, dirt and inconvenience) sometimes caused by construction sites to the immediate neighbourhood
  • Eradicate offensive behaviour and language from construction sites
  • Recognise and reward the contractor’s commitment to raise standards of site management, safety and environmental awareness beyond statutory duties

For further information contact:-

Considerate Constructors Scheme, PO Box 75, Ware. SG12 9LN Tel 0800 783 1423

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if the construction site next to my home works on Sundays or in the evenings?
If you are adversely effected by noise you can make a complaint about the working hours, this can be investigated to determine whether the cause of your complaint is causing a statutory nuisance, if determined an abatement notice can be served to remedy the situation. Alternatively, the Borough can serve notice under the Control Of Pollution Act setting restrictions for the development site. Should either of these notices be breached, formal legal action may be taken.

What happens if I find the noise disturbing during the daytime period?
Construction and demolition works can be inherently noisy activities and it is acknowledged that some works have to be completed, however the Environmental Protection Team will asses their work methods and equipment on site to ensure that the work is being completed in an appropriate manner.

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