Last edited 12 Dec 2018

What hours are construction sites allowed to operate?


Construction sites can be disruptive to the local community for long periods of time. Nuisance that can be caused be construction activities might include:

However, construction is a necessary activity and in the case of Andreae v. Selfridge & Co. Limited (1958) Sir Wilfred Green MR suggested that ‘...if they are reasonably carried on and all proper and reasonable steps are taken to ensure that no undue inconvenience is caused to neighbours, whether from noise, dust, or other reasons, the neighbours must put up with it.’

Such reasonable steps might include working at reasonable times and restricting disruptive activities to particular periods.

Generally, the hours during which construction sites are allowed to operate is determined by the local authority, in accordance with the Control of Pollution Act, and conditions can be applied to planning permissions in accordance with the Town and Country Planning Act.

In addition, there may be a requirement to comply with BS 5228 Code of Practice for Noise and Vibration Control on Construction and Open Sites, and the Control of Noise at Work Regulations limit the exposure of workers to noise (this is enforced by the Health and Safety Executive).

Typical restrictions might be:

  • Monday to Friday: 8am to 6pm.
  • Saturdays: 8am to 1pm.
  • Sundays and bank holidays: No work permitted, or noisy work prohibited.

Examples of activities that might be prohibited outside of these hours could include:

  • The use of hammers and saws.
  • The use of drills and sanders.
  • Pile driving.
  • Erecting and dismantling of scaffolding.

Noise-related work taking place outside these hours will generally only be permitted if the contractor can make a case that it is necessary on the grounds of health and safety.

Different hours may apply, for example in business areas where noise or vibration during normal working hours would be disruptive.

The local authority may also set limits to the amount of noise or vibration that a construction site is permitted to generate and monitoring may be undertaken to ensure that these are not exceeded.

These restrictions do not always apply to civil engineering projects such as rail or highway works.

Steps that a contractor might take to reduce disruption might include:

  • Keeping neighbours informed.
  • Monitoring noise, vibration and dust.
  • Providing a help line so that problems can be reported.
  • Restricting disruptive activities to particular periods.
  • Storing fine materials under cover.
  • Damping fine materials and roadways.
  • Minimising demolition or crushing dust.
  • Washing down vehicles.
  • Taking care when deciding transport routes.
  • Providing hard-surfaced roadways.
  • Implementing a waste management strategy.
  • Avoiding burning waste materials.
  • Limiting vibration.
  • Using well-maintained, quiet machinery.
  • Carefully selecting and managing sub-contractors.
  • Using low disruption methods of work.
  • Properly instructing and supervising staff.
  • Providing acoustic screening.
  • Very occasionally, offering temporary re-housing for residents.

Some construction sites, companies and suppliers may register with the Considerate Constructors Scheme and then must abide by its Code of Considerate Practice.

Some sites may also have to comply with a code of construction practice imposed by the local authority or by the client.

NB, NRM3: Order of cost estimating and cost planning for building maintenance works, suggests that normal working hours are typically 8.30 to 5.30 Monday to Friday (excluding statutory holidays), but also makes clear that working hours vary.

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki