Noise from construction sites

The following advice has been prepared as a guide for homeowners, builders, site managers and workers to apply good practice during construction/demolition work.

It is important in every case to inform neighbours or local residents in the vicinity of any proposed works in advance, keep them advised of progress, and provide contact details. It is suggested that you provide the contact details of one person (which could be the contractor’s project manager or you) who will deal with queries and problems.

Pre-warning of works will usually avoid confrontations and complaints later on and maintain good relations locally. We encourage contractors to maintain a good standard of work.

Permitted hours of work

As a guideline, the following hours for noisy works should be observed: 

  • Monday to Friday, 7.30am to 5:30pm
  • Saturday, 8am to 1pm
  • Sunday and bank holidays - no noisy work allowed.

Any noisy operations outside these hours, for example emergency works, will require consent. Please email Environmental and Community Protection (ecp@dacorum.gov.uk) as soon as possible.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Government has introduced guidance that enables changes to be made to construction working hours. Extensions to working hours may be required on some sites to help safe working and allow tasks to be completed where social distancing can be challenging. Longer working hours may also be needed to enable social distancing in the wider community - for example, by reducing pressure on public transport.

It might be necessary to start work earlier in the day or work until later in the evenings. Construction sites are considered to be larger development sites, as opposed to smaller developments or extensions to existing property.

Some construction sites in England are subject to controls which restrict their hours of operation. These controls include planning conditions, which might directly restrict working hours or which might restrict working hours through a construction management plan. These conditions may be necessary, for example, to make the development acceptable to local residents and businesses who might otherwise suffer from traffic, noise and other local amenity issues.

In all cases, and where you intend to extend working hours beyond the permitted working hours, you are advised to contact us to make a formal application. Failure to do so could result in enforcement action being taken.

Enquiries should be submitted to the Planning and Environmental and Community Protection departments:

Legal controls

The Town and Country Planning Act 1990

  • Planning authority can attach conditions to planning decisions.
  • It is a requirement to fully comply with any conditions imposed.
  • Non-compliance of relevant planning conditions is actively enforced, therefore it is important to ensure these are considered carefully and addressed prior to any development starting.

The Control of Pollution Act 1974 and Environmental Protection Act 1990

  • Noise, dust and smoke must be kept to a minimum by building contractors.
  • We have the authority to impose certain restrictions and conditions on working hours, methods of work and type of equipment used, ensuring noise levels are kept to an acceptable level.
  • We actively enforce the above legislation and where necessary will serve a notice requiring alternative working/preventative measures.

Whilst planning permission gives you authority to build, you are reminded to check if any other consents are required, such as building regulation approval or highway works licences prior to starting work. The planning permission may also contain specific conditions which must be complied with.

Noise and vibration

Noise and vibration must be kept to a minimum by methods of work that conform with the Code of Practice for Noise and Vibration Control on Construction and Open Sites.

  • Best practicable means must be applied at all times as defined in the Act to reduce noise.
  • All equipment used should be maintained in good mechanical order, fitted with appropriate silencers, mufflers or acoustic covers.
  • Site stationary noise sources - for example, a generator - as far away from neighbouring properties as possible or, build acoustic barriers (which may consist of site materials - for example, bricks/earth mounds or proprietary types) when this is not possible.
  • Piling should be carried out by methods causing minimum noise and vibration.
  • Workers on site must be aware to keep general site/disruption noise - for example, shouting, radios, vehicles, equipment/plant machinery - to a minimum.
  • Vehicle movement to/from site must be controlled, minimising noise and disturbance to neighbouring properties.

Smoke, dust and debris

  • Bonfires are not permitted.
  • Precautions should be taken prior to works starting to prevent smoke from machinery, vehicles or combustion on site.
  • Petrol/diesel powered equipment must not emit dark smoke once running temperature is achieved and should be checked and maintained regularly.
  • Dust/dirt should be kept to a minimum to reduce spreading using preventative measures - for example, continuous fine water spray.
  • Adequate water supply must be provided ensuring all parts of the site are reached accordingly.
  • Waste water must be disposed of properly.

Warning signCoronavirus (COVID-19): We continue to provide services online and via telephone. However, we recognise that in some cases you will need an appointment with an officer, and will therefore be offering limited pre-booked appointments at the Forum for urgent enquiries. Please call 01442 228000 and ask for the service you require. For council service updates and other advice, please see our COVID-19 page×