Hour restrictions aim to minimise construction impact
Q My neighbours are doing renovations and are starting quite early. Are there limits on when they can work? A Yes, there will be limits, although they will depend on your local government area.
While the winter months provide a natural obstacle to early starts on building sites, as we come into summer it will become more of an issue as builders want to utilise natural light and cooler hours.
There are health benefits for subcontractors if heavy, physical outdoor work is performed during the cooler part of the day, which is usually early morning.
I am not surprised bricklayers and carpenters prefer to start work early to avoid skin damage or other issues caused by excessive exposure to the sun and heat.
However, this needs to be balanced by appropriate consideration of neighbours.
Under environmental protection regulations, there are general restrictions on construction hours.
They allow for construction noise to be created between 7am and 7pm on any day which is not a Sunday or public holiday.
While builders may be on site outside these times, noisy activity may generally only occur between the permitted hours.
The construction work should be carried out in accordance with the control of noise practices set out in the Australian Standard 2436-1981 Guide to Noise Control on Construction, Maintenance and Demolition Sites.
Also, the equipment used for the construction work must be the quietest reasonably available.
While each local authority differs (you should check with them), early morning starts and weekend work are very tightly policed, particularly in inner suburbs which are densely populated.
There may be exceptions for work done outside the normal hours. Builders can apply for an exemption where they have a noise management plan and can show the work was necessary.
It is a particularly difficult issue if your home is one of the first on the street to be finished in a new subdivision.
However, it can also be an issue on a quiet and established street in suburbia where everyone is used to the peace, and not appreciative of the material drop-offs, contractor vehicles, and other inevitable interruptions that building a home or undertaking renovations can bring.
But remember, all the homes on the street were once construction sites, so there also needs to be a level of tolerance so the project can be completed.
Before you ring the council to complain, ring the site supervisor or the builder directly and follow up with an email or letter.
Often they are unaware what time their contractors are on site as they are not generally company employees, but independent contractors.
Contact details are usually provided on signage erected on site. You may be able to reach a compromise, such as getting the subcontractors to reduce their noise level.
Most builders appreciate the value of “word of mouth” reputation and would be anxious to maintain a good relationship with neighbours, who may be their future clients.
There are general restrictions on construction hours.