Construction sites can be a major source of pollution such as noise, pollution, dust and smoke. They can have an adverse impact on health and the local environment if not managed and controlled properly.
We work with residents and developers to try to ensure this impact is minimised and controlled wherever possible.
It is important that construction personnel follow best practice to control pollution, comply with environmental legislation and prevent problems.
Compliance with BS 5228: Noise Control on Construction and Open Sites is expected as a minimum standard. Wherever alternative working methods exist, minimising noise and vibration must be a prime consideration when choosing techniques and equipment.
Contractors are responsible for ensuring that all machinery and equipment is well maintained. This includes hired machinery and equipment. It must be properly silenced and used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, as required by BS 5228.
Contractors and clients are advised to familiarise themselves with the terms and conditions of this guidance and to liaise as necessary with us.
Hours of operation
As a general rule, where residents are likely to be affected, demolition and construction work should only be carried out during normal working hours:
- Monday to Friday: 8am to 6pm
- Saturday: 8am to 1pm
No noisy working audible at the site boundary is permitted on Sundays or bank holidays.
Noise from construction sites is controlled by the Control of Pollution Act (COPA) 1974.
Construction companies and contractors are required to take all reasonable steps to control noise. They should be able to demonstrate that they are applying ‘best practicable means’.
Dust from construction sites is controlled by the Environmental Protection Act (EPA). It can often be minimised by:
- carefully siting transport routes
- providing hard-surfaced roadways
- imposing speed limits on site
- damping stockpiles of materials and roadways with water
- keeping roadways clear
- adjusting working methods, for example to minimise demolition or crushing dust
- storing fine material under cover
The environmental legislation controlling dust is for the protection of human health and the environment in general. If dust only affects your property or possessions, we will not be able to help.
Considerate contractor scheme
- Find out about our considerate contractor scheme
Planning consultations guidance
Factors to be considered in controlling pollution from construction sites include:
- on-site management
- handling public relations
- setting working hours and days
- controlling site traffic and setting up access routes
- monitoring of particles and vapour discharges
- noise and vibration monitoring, particularly where piling is being undertaken
- good housekeeping
- proximity to air quality management areas [PDF, 3.5MB]
Contact us for advice on which of these factors might be relevant to your proposed application.
A planning condition requiring the production of a method statement, which includes monitoring and control of emissions, might be recommended. We advise you contact us at an early stage to agree any requirements.
Any noise and vibration impact assessment report should include:
- An assessment of the significance of the noise impact of the demolition or construction work. Suitable methods for this are listed in annex E of BS 5228-1: Noise Control on Construction and Open Sites. We recommend using the ABC method detailed in E.3.2, or the 2-5 dB (A) change method in E.3.3.
- An assessment of the significance of the vibration impact of the demolition or construction work. Suitable methods for this are listed in annex B of BS 5228-2: Noise Control on Construction and Open Sites.
If piling is to be undertaken, full details of the proposed method to be used are required. This should be included in the noise and vibration reports detailed above.
Vibration levels within nearby properties are not to exceed 0.3mm s-1 in accordance with BS 5228-2, Noise Control on Construction and Open Sites. Predicted vibration levels at nearby properties are required. Complaints of vibration will require vibration monitoring at the complainant’s property in order to investigate, and mitigation must be implemented if required.
Monitoring and recording protocols
Guidance on noise monitoring is given in section 8.4 and annex G of BS 5228-1: Noise Control on Construction and Open Sites.
Full details of monitoring are required. Continuous noise and vibration monitoring might not be necessary, but agreement should be reached on when it will be undertaken. For example, spot noise checks could be undertaken on a regular basis at site boundary locations closest to sensitive receptors.
Longer-term continuous monitoring of noise and vibration may be required:
- when agreed target levels are likely to be exceeded
- upon the receipt of substantiated complaints
- at the request of the local planning authority following any justified complaints
Ideally, contact details for monitoring personnel and the site manager, including for out-of-hours emergencies, should be provided.
Consideration should be given to further measures, including communication and implementation of a complaints procedure. For example, give notice to building occupiers when noisy operations such as piling are planned.