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Advice on being a considerate contractor

Noise from building and demolition sites

Building and demolition work is usually noisy and can take place in areas that are normally quiet.

Although the work may not last long, the disturbance caused by noise, dust and other issues can lead to problems for people who live and work near the site. We often receive complaints about this.

It is in everyone’s interests to consider any problems which could arise, and plan ways to avoid them. If you are a contractor, you should get a copy of British Standard 5228.

This is a code of practice with information and procedures for controlling noise on building and demolition sites.

Most building sites and companies voluntarily register with the Considerate Constructors Scheme, and agree to their Code of Considerate Practice, which encourages using best practice, and going beyond what is legally required.

For more information about this and registering your business please visit the Considerate Constructors Scheme website.

Guidelines for good practice

We have put together some guidelines for good practice to avoid causing a problem when carrying out building work.

  • Give neighbours who may be affected by particular work at least 48 hours’ notice.
  • For long-term and complex projects, consult the local community first, through structured meetings with residents.
  • Make sure that particularly noisy work is carried out within normal working hours.
  • Keep normal working hours between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday, and between 8am and 2pm on Saturdays. You should not work on Sundays or bank holidays if possible.
  • Choose the quietest suitable equipment, keep it properly maintained and follow safe working practices.
  • Tell any subcontractors to follow agreed guidelines on noise, dust and other matters.
  • Do not allow workers to use radios on the site if this could cause a disturbance.
  • Contact us if your work might cause a disturbance, especially if this does have to take place outside of normal working hours.
  • Avoid the need to park on the street by providing on-site parking wherever possible.
  • Take care to avoid damaging a neighbour’s property.
  • Get a suitably qualified person to check the site for asbestos. (There are detailed laws on working with and disposing of asbestos.)
  • Keep the public roads and footpaths clean and tidy
  • Where possible reduce and recycle waste.
  • Do not light bonfires. Under sections 33 and 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, it is illegal to burn commercial waste on site. Commercial waste can include builders’ waste or waste from landscaping.
  • Take all steps that are reasonably possible to prevent noise and dust from causing nuisance.
  • Make sure the site is secure.

The law

Under the Control of Pollution Act 1974 and the Environmental Protection Act 1990 we have wide reaching powers to control noise, dust and other nuisance from building and demolition sites. This can involve setting working hours and methods.

All sites are different, but you can adapt the guidelines in this leaflet to suit most conditions and cover the main issues that often lead to complaints.

What to expect

You should tell local residents the date and time of, and need for, any particularly noisy work.

If you cannot reach an agreement with local residents, we may set limits for noise or specify other measures which will be contained in a legal notice. We will take legal action against you if you do not keep to the conditions in the legal notice.

For major construction work or if you would like more advice and information, contact us as soon as possible.

For information about carrying out work on the walls shared by other properties please visit the government website and search for party walls.