5 Top Tips for Construction Noise Monitoring

Monitoring a construction or demolition site for noise compliance is a complex task. It may involve more than one monitoring point and the monitoring itself may have to continue for many months. Here’s 5 Top Tips to follow when planning a construction noise monitoring project.

Why is Construction Noise Monitoring a Complex Task?

The surroundings by their very nature are potentially hazardous. The security of the equipment is also an ongoing concern. The phased nature of construction work may also mean that the monitoring point(s) may change more than once during the construction/demolition process.

You may be monitoring to comply with a Section 61, or you may be monitoring to ensure that the noise emanating from the works meets your own standards that you have set for the project.

Either way it is essential that the noise monitoring is set up in a safe, secure and comprehensive way.

So, here are my 5 Top Tips to ensure that you are successful when it comes to construction noise monitoring.

1. Set Your Objectives

This sounds obvious, but it is essential that the objectives of the construction noise monitoring exercise are determined and documented right at the beginning.

What and Why you are measuring are key things to understand to enable a successful project. This will determine How you will do it.

Example

What: You need to monitor LAeq, 1hour between the hours of 07:00 to 18:00 6 days per week.

Why: You are doing this to keep under a limit of 75 dBA for any working hour as identified in the Section 61.

How: This is to be monitored at the nearest point of construction to a specific row of houses.

2. Complete a Comprehensive Site Survey

Once you know What and Why you are measuring you can then look at How and Where you will measure.

This is where a Site Survey comes in. Looking at the site plans and seeing things on the ground will enable you to identify the best monitoring locations that satisfy your objectives.

You will also need to take into account the dynamic nature of the site and whether monitor locations may have to move in the future.

3. Choose the Correct Location(s)

There are many factors to take into consideration when choosing any construction noise monitoring location(s).

As the noise monitoring may be undertaken for a prolonged period you will need to look at:

  • A power source for the instrument(s)
  • Whether access to proposed location is readily available
  • If the microphone can be placed at the correct height
  • Any facades nearby etc.

Following relevant guidance in national and international standards such as BS 7445-1:2003 is key here.

4. Define the Data to be Collected and Reported

Your objectives will tell you what you need to record as a minimum. You may also want to consider what other information might be useful in your construction noise survey.

  • Recording samples of the sound itself when certain limits are breached, so that you understand what activity has caused a non-compliance
  • Sending Alarms to various people when limits are breached so that action can be taken
  • Do you want to see live noise levels to understand what is happening by the second if the circumstances demand it?

Another point to consider is the frequency and content of your reporting, and who you need to report to.

Is it enough to collect data every 3 months? Do you need to report weekly on not only the data itself but also the breaches of limits and what caused them?

5. Choose the Correct Equipment

Finally, now that you know What you want to measure and Where you want to measure it you can choose the most suitable equipment for the job.

Answering the questions above will go some way to identifying the requirements of the construction noise monitoring equipment that you will need.

Sound level meters  and construction noise monitors would normally be expected to comply with Class 1 as defined in IEC 61672-1:2002, but there are many variants out there. Some of the key questions to ask are:

  • Do you need remote access to them for data download, set up and live monitoring / alarms?
  • Are there variable mounting options?
  • Are there data integrity alarms?
  • Are there different power options?
  • Are they straightforward to use?
  • Will the software that comes with them meet my reporting needs?

If you would like to know more about noise monitoring on construction sites, or have any other top tips please get in touch with us.

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