Noise advice for builders
This page provides information and guidelines for developers who want to ensure the development proceeds smoothly with the minimum of disruption to the occupants of nearby residential or commercial properties.
Demolition and building works can be a considerable source of environmental nuisance to the occupants of nearby residential or commercial properties.
The objective of these guidelines is to ensure the development proceeds smoothly with the minimum of disruption to your neighbours and without the need for legal action to be taken by the Council if problems arise.
Please note that Section 80 of the Building Act 1984 requires the person intending to demolish a building, to give the Council 6 weeks notice of the demolition.
The Council may then impose conditions appropriate to the scale of the demolition.
Such notifications should be addressed to the Building Control Section of the Council.
Demolition and construction companies must ensure that noise levels are kept to a minimum by using the best practicable means to silence their operations.
For operations that will be audible outside the site boundary, it is our experience that few complaints regarding early start of working will be made when the following working hours are adopted:
Monday to Friday: 8am-6pm
With no working on Sundays or Public Holidays.
Pile driving and other specialist noisy operations may need more stringent controls to be applied.
In particular, pumps or generators that can be heard at the site boundary should not be left running overnight.
The Council has legal powers under Section 60 of the Control of Pollution Act 1974 and Section 80 and 80A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to serve notices on contractors in order to limit their operations where noise problems arise.
Occupiers of neighbouring properties, both residential and commercial, also have the right to pursue legal action against contractors under the same legislation.
Should you feel that your project will have a significant impact on neighbouring premises, from noise or vibration, it is possible to apply to the Council for a 'prior consent' (under Section 61 of the Control of Pollution Act 1974).
This is an agreement between the developer and the Council which allows a certain level of noise to occur. Having such an agreement can protect you from further legal action.
Do It Yourself
If you are a householder doing some or all of the work yourself, you will probably want to a lot of the work at weekends or evenings.
In this case, please try and restrict the noisy and dusty operations to Saturdays and, in any case, to daylight hours.
Remember that your neighbours normally expect peace and quiet at weekends and may have young trying to sleep.
The emission of dark smoke from a bonfire on a demolition or building site is an offence under the Clean Air Act 1993. It is this Council's general policy to prosecute all such offenders.
Even if the smoke is not dark, the bonfire can still cause a nuisance from smoke, smell or ash and the Council has legal powers to stop such bonfires should a nuisance occur.
Bonfires should be avoided wherever possible.
If they are absolutely necessary then advice should be sought Environmental Health Services and Surrey Fire and Rescue whose address and telephone number is:
70 Wray Park Road
Tel. 01737 242444
All bonfires should be extinguished at the end of the working day.
Dust can also become a problem and you should take all reasonable steps to avoid it.
This may include damping down sand, aggregate or dusty concrete surfaces with water sprays when weather conditions become dry.
Health and Safety at work
The Health and Safety Executive is the enforcing authority for health and safety legislation on demolition and construction sites.
You have a duty to protect not only yourself, your employees and other employees, but also visitors to the site and members of the public who may be affected by your actions or inactions.
Should you require any advice on this topic, the Health and Safety Executive's address and telephone number is:
Health and Safety Executive
23-25 Cantelupe Road
Tel. 0845 3450055
Obstruction and damage to pavements
Please ensure that pavements are not blocked or obstructed, even for a short time, by plant, materials, hoardings, vehicles or deliveries.
In particular, the special needs of disabled people, e.g. the blind, who might encounter unexpected obstacles, holes, trenches and suchlike should be given special attention.
Special precautions should be taken to avoid any damage being caused to pavements, kerbs or verges when lorries visit the site or when heavy plant is gaining access to the site.
Please note that if any damage is caused, the cost of any repairs carried out by the Council, may be charged to you.
Experience shows that the maintenance of good public relations with your neighbours is particularly effective at minimising problems, especially where the project is large or lengthy or where there are very intrusive short term operations.
A good public relations service might include a letter delivered to your neighbours detailing the works and giving the name and telephone number of the site agent.
Other measures would include warning your neighbours of abnormal activities such as plant movement to and from the site and dealing promptly with any complaints received on site.
As the developer or contractor you are obviously concerned with the smooth running of the project. A public relations with your neighbours, prior to starting work and during the work, can prevent problems arising and reduce complaints.
Awareness of your responsibilities and the restraints that the Council can apply if problems occur, should assist you in proceeding with your project and help to ensure its smooth running.
If you require any further information or have a particular problem regarding any of the above topics, please contact:
Environmental Health Services
Tel: 01737 276000
Last updated : 06/10/2010