Construction Noise Complaints UK

NO one wants to be rudely awakened in the early morning by some builder banging and hammering away.

There are times when noisy construction work can take place but these do vary.

 Builders get to work with a jackhammer

What time can builders start work in the UK?

The power to allow noisy work to take place rests with the local authority, under the Control of Pollution Act 1974.

As such times when noisy work is not permitted does vary but there are some standard hours with are generally seen as acceptable:

  • Monday – Friday: 8am – 6pm
  • Saturday: 8am – 1pm
  • Sunday or Bank Holiday: No noisy work

The hours though are just general guidelines and it is best to check with your local council for exact times as they can vary.

Those hours relate to professional builders rather than DIY enthusiasts, although with DIY the recommended hours vary due to the local authority./

How can you complain about noise?

In the first place just go and speak to the builders, most will probably see no problem and take your wishes into account.

Outside of the hours described above you have the right to complain to the local council

Source: The Sun

Noisy neighbours sparked half of all complaints to Northern Ireland councils

More than half of almost 23,000 nuisance complaints made to councils across Northern Ireland in a year related to excessive noise

Noisy neighbours accounted for 56% of the 22,919 complaints made between August 1, 2016 and July 31, 2017.

Disputes over plants made up 22% of all complaints, with issues relating to light, animals and air pollution accounting for a combined 17%.

The statistics were compiled by Churchill Home Insurance.

The high volume of statutory nuisance complaints, which equates to 63 every day and almost three an hour, was 35% less than the previous year in Northern Ireland – and across the entire UK there was a reduction of 2.4%.

Churchill Home Insurance boss Martin Scott expressed concern over the number of complaints, which amounted to over half a million in all four regions of the UK.

“It is a worrying indictment of modern society that so many people are failing to take responsibility for their communities, keeping noise and other disturbances to a minimum.

“Living next to a poorly maintained property, or loud and disruptive neighbours, can not only be a harrowing ordeal but could also affect the long-term value of your home if you were to look to sell,” he commented.

According to the figures obtained from over 320 councils across the UK, only 663 (5%) of the 12,835 noise complaints here resulted in a Noise Abatement Notice being issued by a council.

A breach of the notice – which gives councils power to stop or restrict the nuisance by seizing or confiscating equipment and applying to the High Court for an injunction – can result in prosecution and fines.

The statistics show that in the 12 months up to July 2017 there were a dozen breaches in Northern Ireland, with the average fine here amounting to £114 compared to £528 for the 624 breaches elsewhere in the UK.

Belfast City Council dealt with 12 breaches, the highest number of all councils.

Mr Scott warned that council enforcement of environmental regulations is “crucial” to stop the actions of inconsiderate people from blighting the lives of others.

“Living next to a noisy neighbour can be extremely debilitating and have a serious impact on the mental well-being of the victim,” he said.

Northern Ireland ranked 11th out of all regions within the United Kingdom when it came to the number of statutory nuisance complaints logged in 2016/17.

London came in at number one after accounting for almost a third of the 577,563 complaints made in the same period.

It was closely followed by the South East of England where councils received 79,307 complaints about issues ranging from noise disruption to rubbish accumulation which caused a disturbance to other residents.

Source: Belfast Telegraph

DAA seeks contractors for noise insulation

Dublin Airport is seeking contractors to work on a noise insulation scheme for homes affected by the construction of its proposed new runway.

The daa is looking to build a second runway at Dublin Airport

Tenders have been invited for the delivery of a ‘Noise Insulation Scheme Consultancy Framework’ for the new runway project and up to five companies will be enlisted to operate the project.
A range of consultants are being sought for the project from environmental engineering consultants to sound insulation and room acoustics consultants to consultancy services on energy efficiency and building fabric.

More than 100 homes in the so-called ’63-decibel contour’ around Dublin Airport have been offered sound insulation paid for by the daa using contractors it will directly employ for the job.

The issuing of tender invites for those contractors is the first concrete step to the scheme being realised.

Homes in the 69-decibel contour have been offered a buy-out scheme by the daa but can opt out of that scheme and decide instead to take the sound insulation option and will be allowed change their mind up to three years after the runway is completed.

If they opted for the insulation process and later opt for a buy-out, the cost of the insulation will not be subtracted from the valuation of their home.

Should those buy-out scheme receive a different independent valuation from the one the daa-hired agent comes up with, there will be an arbitration process for any difference more than 5%, paid for by daa, the Fingal Independent understands.

The buy-out offer is being made to all homes in the 69 decibel ‘noise contour’ which will be impacted by increased noise levels from the new runway. This contour has been reduced since the original planning process for the new runway and now, only a handful of the homes in the scheme are inside the redrawn contour, However, the buy-out offer has been made to all of the homes inside the original and larger contour.

The development of the new runway before the courts with Fingal County Council being challenged on its decision to extend planning permission for the project.

Fingal Independent

How are noise complaints handled in NYC?:

City officials can order an activity stopped if the resulting noise exceeds regulations.

Residents can make noise complaints about unruly construction


The joke in New York City is that there are two seasons: winter and construction.

Residents in other cities quip the same, but the idiom rings truest here, where New Yorkers filed more than 446,000 noise-related complaints in 2017, the most common reports coming via 311. Those complaints flag loud construction sites, car and truck horns but even more typically “loud parties” or music.

For New Yorkers woken up to the sounds of jackhammers in the morning, the city’s Noise Codeprotects its residents from such sonic assaults. And, earlier this year, the City Council passed a bill sponsored by Councilman Ben Kallos that aims to limit construction noise—particularly during overnights and weekends.

New construction projects need to abide by a lower sound limit when working after hours — before 7 a.m. or after 6 p.m. — during the business week and anytime on weekends. Before the law passed, crews were not permitted to make noise above 85 decibels within 200 feet of a residence. That limit will drop to 75 decibels in 2020 under the new rules.

Listening to sustained, repeated sounds “at or above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss,” according to the National Institutes of Health. For comparison, a normal conversation has a decibel level around 60 decibels; a jackhammer is around 110 decibels and a nearby jet takeoff would be at roughly 130 decibels.

The city’s Department of Environmental Protection offers a summary guide to the code online and Edward Timbers, a DEP spokesman, helped answer some common questions on rules around noise violations:

Under current laws, what levels of noise are permissible in residential New York City areas and when?

According to the NYC Noise Code, the level of noise that is permissible depends largely on the level of ambient noise in the area.

If a report of unreasonable noise comes to DEP, an inspector will be sent to the location to take readings of both the ambient levels of noise, and the level of noise with the offending activity, whether it be construction, a barking dog or an HVAC unit.

The Noise Code sets out parameters for each particular activity, and how much noise it may legally create above the ambient level.  A noisy party may result in a visit by NYPD, who will determine whether the noise is reasonable, or not.

What protections are in place to ensure that construction contractors meet those noise regulations?

All construction projects must file a noise mitigation plan and take all reasonable steps to limit the amount of noise they create. If a certain activity is creating an unreasonable amount of noise, a recently passed law authorizes DEP to order the activity to be stopped until the excessive noise is abated.

And what penalties are in place for contractors, or individual residents, who violate noise regulations?

A Notice of Violation issued by DEP carries penalties ranging from $50 to $24,000.  A repeat offender who shows no willingness to remedy an unreasonably noisy situation could be issued a cease and desist order from the courts.


Source: AM Network


Ruling against noisy nightclub upheld on appeal, penalties reduced

A Divisional Court judge has taken some of the sting out of a ruling against a downtown nightclub that keeps its neighbours up at night, but it’s a blow nonetheless, says a lawyer retained by the bar.

The numbered company that runs Lev3L Vodka Emporium, commonly referred to as Level 3, must still pay neighbour Richard Gordner the maximum allowed in small claims court for being a “nuisance.” But, on appeal, the court has reduced the additional penalties originally assessed against the bar for its “unreasonable behaviour” during the trial.

The decision is troubling, not only to Level 3, but to the entire entertainment industry in Windsor, and is potentially harmful to the economy of downtown Windsor

Gordner, a lawyer who lives in the high-rise condominium building called Royal Windsor Terrace at Park and Pelissier streets, sued Level 3 in small claims court for the bass-thumping music that keeps him up on weekend nights. In a ruling earlier this year, deputy judge Simon R. R. Davies awarded Gordner $25,000 — the maximum allowed in small claims cases.

LEV3L bar at The City Grill is located directly beside Royal Windsor Terrace condos on Park Street West. The bar has lost an appeal of a noise complaint brought by a neighbour.NICK BRANCACCIO / WINDSOR STAR

Noting the seven-day trial stretched over 12 months to accommodate the busy schedule of Level 3’s lawyer and that the bar refused to make any concessions which may have shortened the trial or avoided it altogether, Davies imposed $10,000 in additional penalties on top of $1,000 in costs.

Level 3 appealed the award. In a decision released last week, Divisional Court Justice Russell Raikes upheld the $25,000 award, but struck down the penalties. But the bar, which continued to argue the music Gordner was hearing did not originate from its premises, must still pay the $4,800 bill for a sound engineering company Gordner retained to prove otherwise.

Contacted Monday, Gordner said the appeal court awarded him everything he had been seeking. The original judge who heard the trial imposed the additional penalties without Gordner ever asking for them.

Shock research: Noisy neighbours making 1 in 6 Brits move home

New research reveals that one in six Brits have had to move in order to escape noise pollution.

The research, carried out for home improvement specialists Everest, also worryingly found that 46 per cent of Brits are woken, or kept awake, at least once a week by noise from outside.

The extraordinary findings emerged following a comprehensive study on 2000 UK adults, who reveal a series of nightmares, with noisy neighbours, anti-social behaviour, out-of-control pets and loud traffic noise.  Those affected claim to be disrupted on average seventy nights a year – and fears are growing that a generation of sleepless Brits are risking their health.

Noise pollution can be a particular problem for estate and letting agents to tackle, however the impact on tenants can be huge.

Health problems

Those suffering from lack of sleep describe mood swings, temper tantrums and an inability to concentrate properly, and say that the problem affects their performance at work, as well as their confidence and mood,

Commenting on the findings, psychologist and TV expert Emma Kenny said,

“In the modern age, where life is fast paced and where the work-life balance can feel challenging, finding sanctuary is more important than ever. Noise disturbance is annoying at the best of times, but more importantly it can cause health issues when it interferes with our sleep patterns.

“Getting an uninterrupted and peaceful night’s sleep ensures we are physically and emotionally rested and allows our bodies to heal from the stresses and strains of modern day living. If the noise outside is affecting our ability to rest and relax, we are likely to experience a whole host of negative issues, including irritability, lack of focus and exhaustion, which can impact on every aspect of our life. That’s why it’s imperative to create a relaxing space, with as little noise pollution as possible.”


How agents can resolve noise complaints

Noise complaints are often the bane of estate agents lives, as tenants will often turn to them first.  A spokeman for Move.UK.Let says if the noisy neighbour is also renting through the same landlord, they can sometimes help – after all, good tenants can be hard to find.

“Tenants will normally have a clause in their Tenancy Agreement prohibiting them from actions and/or behaviour that cause a nuisance to their neighbours. Lettings agents will notify the tenants that they have had complaints (this can be anonymous).”

When a tenant leaves, agents should be aware if they have been previous complaints about noise in the property, they should be careful to not misrepresent the property to the next tenant.  Under the Consumer Protection (Amendment) Regulations 2014, a tenant has a right to ‘unwind’ a tenancy where the tenant has been induced to enter into the contract by an unfair practice. This would include telling untruths about the tenancy – for example, that it is a quiet property when it is not.   In such cases, the new tenant can bring civil proceedings to end the tenancy and recover their fees within the first 90 days.


Contacting the local council

If an estate agent is unable to resolve the issue, they should advise their tenant to contact the council.  Under the Noise Act 1996 and other associated legislation, the local council must investigate any noise that is deemed to be a ‘nuisance’.  If the offender’s noise is deemed a nuisance, then the Council can issue an Abatement Notice.  The notice will stipulate that either the noise must stop completely, be reduced to a certain level, or is only permitted during certain times of the day.

If the neighbour fails to comply with the notice, they can be fined up to £5,000 (or up to £20,000 if it’s a business creating the noise).  Any device such as a sound system can also be seized by an Environmental Health Officer or the police for up to 28 days until the court decides what should be done with it.


Many feel moving is the only option

Researchers also found many people saying moving was their only option, with 16% of people saying they moved home already because of noise, and an additional 5% saying it is something they are looking at – and 14 per cent said they would have moved house if they could.

Martin Troughton, Marketing Director at Everest, says,

“While many of us will know from personal experience that a disturbed night’s sleep can have a detrimental impact on how we feel the next day, the scale of the issue identified through this research is something of a surprise. Almost half of the adults in this country are being affected by noise every week, which is having a huge influence on their mood and overall state of mind. The fact that more than a third of us have moved home or considered it due to noise from outside is simply staggering.

“Although over two thirds of those surveyed said they wouldn’t ask the person creating the disturbance to keep the noise down, there are other things they can do to mitigate the problem. Landlords can fit sound-reducing products, such as windows made with laminated acoustic glass, which will help to reduce the noise, as well as potentially improving the property’s energy efficiency and security.”

Source: Estate Agent News

National Protocol for Dealing with Noise Complaints for Local Authorities

EPA Review
It has been recognised for some years that there is a need for a more integrated approach to addressing noise issues in Ireland. While the current legal provisions governing this area have been in place since 1992, it has become increasingly clear that there is significant variation in how local authorities approach interpreting and implementing these provisions. Following extensive consultation and discussion the EPA carried out a review of how Local Authorities were dealing with noise complaints in June 2013. The review concluded that various different approaches were being used with over 80% agreeing that a common consistent approach across Local Authorities is required.

One of the recommendations arising out of the review was the establishment of a noise working group within the NIECE network, to progress the development of a national approach. A Noise Bill was originally proposed in 2006 to deal with a number of noise sources including neighbourhood noise. Whilst the Bill has not been enacted to date, it remained on subsequent programmes for government. While not included in the current programme for government, in the absence of a comprehensive Noise Bill, this document provides the necessary guidance to Local Authorities, given existing legislation, as to what is considered Best Practice for dealing with noise complaints.


To read the National Protocol, please click on the image below:


Owners pulled plug after noise complaint

Owners pulled plug after noise complaint

Caroline Davenport, left, and Elaine Gibson, right, and many other customers protest against the decision
Caroline Davenport, left, and Elaine Gibson, right, and many other customers protest against the decision

Hundreds of people are backing a bid to return live music to a Cockermouth pub.

The Fletcher Christian on Main Street has had no live entertainment for the last two weekends.
The pub’s owner, Craft Union Pub Company, decided to suspend such events after a complaint was made to Allerdale council about excessive noise.

The pub has been forced to cancel its planned entertainment, including bands scheduled to play over Easter weekend, while the company works to resolve the issue.

Regulars Caroline Davenport and Elaine Gibson were so concerned that they set up a petition calling for the return of live entertainment to the popular venue.

The petition, which was launched last week, has attracted more than 1,000 signatures and, Caroline said, has been backed but almost all the businesses on Main Street.

Caroline, who worked in the pub trade before retiring, said: “It’s an absolute travesty. This has been a music venue for a long time.

“It’s the only real place in town that does rock and blues and it’s got a huge following. It’s been like that for 20 years that I know of.”

Ahead of Easter, pub staff took to Facebook asking people to support the venue despite its problems, and people flocked to make it a good weekend.

Caroline, who worked in the pub trade for years, said: “People rallied round and it was absolutely fantastic. It was a bouncing weekend.

“That’s not sustainable though. Without the live music they’re not going to make enough revenue to stay open.

“We just hope the company takes notice and reinstates it as soon as possible. I don’t think they realise what it’s doing to the pub.

“If Fletcher’s was to close you might as well close Cockermouth, it’s that important.”

Elaine added: “We need it back. The town’s dying and we need something to bring life back into it.”

Leena Barua, another regular, said: “There aren’t many good venues for music left in Cockermouth now.”

An Allerdale council spokesman said: “Some concerns have been raised regarding the establishment meeting the conditions of the licence, so the licence holder has taken the decision to cease any live music until the issue is resolved.

“Our environmental health officers will work with The Fletcher Christian to ensure these conditions are met.”

A spokesman for Craft Union Pub Company said: “Following discussions with the local council, we took the decision to cease live entertainment at The Fletcher Christian pub for the foreseeable future.

“We are aware of the petition to reinstate live music at the venue and would like to reassure customers that we remain in contact with the council and hope to resolve the matter as soon as possible.”

Source: News & Star

LOUD CROWDS Church bells, rowdy shoppers, and motorbikes – Ireland’s wildest noise complaints revealed in investigation

Noisy neighbours beware: noise complaints from church bells to rowdy crowds in a local pub are revealed in an Irish Sun investigation.

Noise complaints revealed from gripers across Ireland

And rowdy supermarket shoppers caused dismay to a Co Sligo resident.

An Irish Sun investigation reveals almost 3,500 sound gripes were received by 15 of the biggest city and county councils across the country from 2015 to 2017. Neighbours and residents filed more than 1,000 complaints while the rest of the grumbles related to businesses, traffic and entertainment events.

A Sligo resident vented fury over a church’s bells ringing, while another complained about noise from a local pub.

Another Yeats County local moaned about barking dogs and generators at a halting site, while a report was also filed over bangers being ignited at a nearby farmland. Another complainant was driven mad by a neighbouring lawn repair business.

In Dublin city, most whines related to businesses playing loud music, alarms going off, construction work, roadworks and traffic noise.

Officials from South Dublin County Council received 521 gripes over the two years. A spokesman said: “The predominant reason for the making of complaints was the nuisance being felt because of the loudness.”

The documents were obtained via a Freedom of Information request.

People also reported illegal burning and the burning of smoky coals, which is banned in larger towns.

Donegal alone had 176 complaints over neighbours and businesses torching waste from 2015 to 2017. A further 17 were made about people burning smoky coal.

Dublin City Council received 30 complaints in 2016 and 50 in 2017 about burning or ­illegal hazardous material.

In Limerick 321 complaints were made about burning and 43 about smoky coal.

South Dublin County Council received 350 complaints about air pollution, of which 199 related to illegal burning and nine to smoky coal.

Kerry had 147 complaints about burning illegal and hazardous material. Cork City had 73 air pollution complaints.


Source: The Irish Sun.

Gosport bar owner fined £10,000 over ‘thudding’ noise complaints

Ben Bartrip outside of The Victualler.''Picture: Will Rooney

Ben Bartrip outside of The Victualler.”Picture: Will Rooney

Source: The News.

Ben Bartrip, owner of The Victualler Harbourside Bar & Restaurant in Royal Clarence Yard, Gosport, was this week found guilty. Magistrates fined him £1,000 for each charge, and ordered him to pay £6,026.25 prosecution costs to the council – as well as a £100 victim surcharge.

The news comes after Bartrip’s company 88 75 Ltd, of Weevil Lane, was fined £20,000 in December last year at Portsmouth Crown Court for failing to remove benches outside the venue. Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court this week heard how rock bands were playing live music at the venue that resulted in neighbours’ floors vibrating and words to songs being clearly audible from apartments nearby. A marquee had also been put up to stage events. Bartrip, 42, of Weevil Lane, Gosport, denied four charges failing to comply with noise abatement notices relating to August, October and November last year. Speaking to The News after the case, Bartrip said: ‘It is a huge blow and is a real same because this area could be a thriving site like Gunwharf Quays, but it feels like some people don’t want that to happen.’

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