Noise problems

Construction and demolition sites

Common complaints about construction and demolition sites relate to the hours of working. Work should normally take place only between these hours:

  • Monday - Friday*: 8am - 6pm
  • Saturday*: 8am - 1pm
  • Sunday and bank holidays: no work

* workers may arrive on site 30 minutes prior but no noisy work should be done outside theses times unless changed by prior agreement and noise should be kept to a minimum in the first hour. Contractors should inform local residents prior to particularly noisy activities and provide contact details.

In the first instance, we advise that you inform the company directly to see if a resolution can be found and to give them an opportunity to address the issues and allow you to reach a compromise between them carrying out work and your enjoyment of your property.

Where this is not possible or it is ineffective contact us and we will investigate.

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Good practice guidelines for contractors

Construction and demolition work is usually noisy and, although the work may not last long, noise disturbance, dust nuisance and other issues may lead to problems for people who live and work near the site.

It is in everyone’s interest to try to anticipate potential problems and plan ways to avoid them. Good public relations will help minimise complaints – keeping local residents and businesses informed about what is happening on the site will help. People are generally more tolerant if they know why the work is necessary; when it will start and finish each day; and how long it will take.

Try to avoid the need to park on the street by providing on-site parking wherever possible; keep the public footpaths and highways in a clean and tidy state; and take care not to damage neighbouring properties.

Noise issues

The law requires that Best Practical Means (BPM) must be used to minimise noise.This means that noise should be taken into account when looking at the work being undertaken. Contractors can obtain guidance from British Standard 5228 – “Noise and Vibration Control on Construction and Open Sites”.


  • Keep normal working hours between 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 1pm on Saturdays. These times also apply to delivery vehicles at the site. There should be no working on Sunday or Bank Holidays as far as possible
  • Select the quietest suitable plant and equipment – keep it properly maintained and observe safe working practices. Fixed items of construction plant should be electrically powered rather that diesel or petrol driven. Vehicles and mechanical plant should be fitted with effective exhaust silencers and when not in use should be shut down or throttled down to a minimum. Keep noisy plant and machinery as far as possible away from noise sensitive buildings
  • Do not allow the use of radios on the site where it could cause disturbance
  • Give neighbours, who may be affected by particularly noisy operations such as pile driving, at least 48 hours notice. Residents can then make alternative arrangements during this noisy period

Working outside normal hours may be permitted under exceptional circumstances such as:

  • emergency works
  • work required for immediate Health and Safety reasons
  • work which is likely to cause major disruption to traffic and where police/highways officers decide they should take place at night or over the weekend

Written application should be made to the Local Authority – it must be sent at least 14 days before the work is due to start.


DO NOT LIGHT BONFIRES – waste from construction and demolition sites should not be burned on site. It should be disposed of at a licensed waste disposal site.‘Exemptions to burn’ can be obtained from the Environment Agency but are very restrictive and do not provide immunity against enforcement action for nuisance or dark smoke offences. Complaints of smoke/odour nuisance will initiate an investigation from the Council.

Take all reasonably practicable steps to reduce nuisance caused by dust during demolition work. An adequate water supply may be needed for damping down and wheel washing equipment at the site entrances and exits; or screening may be required. Rubble chutes and skips must have close fitting covers at the point of discharge to the skip to contain dust and debris.


If there is evidence of vermin on the site treat it before the demolition starts. This will stop the spread of rats/mice into the surrounding areas and prevent complaints. If there is a problem immediate treatment will be required.

Health and safety

Sites must be surveyed for the presence of asbestos containing materials by a competent person prior to demolition. Strict laws cover working with and disposing of such material.The Health and Safety Executive is the enforcing authority for Health and Safety matters on these sites

Mobile Crushing Plant

If a mobile crushing plant is used the operator of the machine must be permitted under the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999. The permit is issued by the local authority covering the area in which the machine is based but the council in the area it is to be used must also be notified. It must be operated to the conditions of the authorisation.

Report it

Report a noise problem »

Further information

Contact the Environmental Health Team on 01609 767138 or download this information as a leaflet: