Planning a Successful Construction Noise Monitoring Solution

Large scale construction projects, especially those located in built up areas, are the most difficult to manage in terms of noise levels emitted from site operations. The nature of the environments in which these projects are located often makes construction noise monitoring difficult. Cirrus Environmental was tasked with producing a successful solution.

two diggers operating on a construction site and making noise

We have successfully worked with major contractors to supply construction noise monitoring systems that can meet the complex requirements of this type of challenging project.

One such project was a demolition and construction project running for 5 years in Central London.  7 locations around the site were specified for continuous construction noise monitoring. These were deemed to be the most sensitive to any intrusive noise.

Complex Construction Noise Monitoring Requirements

However, as the construction of the new building progressed and the height of the noise sources increased, the location of those most affected by the noise would change. This meant that while the construction noise monitors needed to be continuously logging data over long periods of time, a key requirement was that they could be easily relocated when necessary.

The positions chosen for the construction noise monitors were all on buildings surrounding the site. These were all locations with restricted access as many were major international banks.

This meant that all of the configuration of the construction noise monitors and data download would need to be carried out remotely and that the noise monitors, once installed, would need to run continuously with the minimum amount of servicing and maintenance.

The customer also defined that a set of pre-defined measurement reports should be sent to an agreed distribution list. The real time noise levels would also need to be available via a web portal to both the customer, as well as the local Environmental Health Officers who were overseeing compliance with the noise limits specified for the site.

Monitoring Construction Site Noise Limits

The noise conditions set for the site were complex, with different noise levels being permitted at different times of day and night and with separate noise conditions for Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays.

The client required that if any of the noise limits for the site were breached, or if the site was getting near its permitted cumulative noise levels for the day, alerts would be sent to a number of different parties.

Deploying a Successful Construction Noise Monitoring Solution

To meet all of these requirements, Cirrus Environmental built a construction noise monitoring solution around the Invictus Noise Monitor and the Noise-Hub2 software.

schematic of a construction noise monitoring system

Portable versions of the Invictus noise monitors were specified and installed. These were running on mains power with the addition of a 7-day battery backup in case of any power failure. This meant that the units were compact, unobtrusive and could be easily relocated when required.

The advanced calendar settings in the Invictus were used to program in all of the permitted noise levels for the different time periods of day and night. Separate rules were set up for the weekend with special rules set for bank holidays. These would override the rules usually applicable for that day.

Email alerts were set up to inform the relevant parties if one of the noise levels had been exceeded. SMS and Twitter alerts were also available but were not used in this application.

An active email alert was configured that run during the site’s operating hours on weekdays that informed the site manager and other parties when the overall noise from the site had reached 80% of a preset limit. Further email alerts were configured for each additional 5% of the noise limit.

The information in the alert also specified the noise level that the site would have to maintain for the rest of the day to stay under its permitted limit.  This meant that as the site approached its daily permitted limit, the Site Manager could ensure that quiet works were then undertaken to prevent the noise from the site from exceeding the allowable daily level.

Easy Access to Reporting and Data Download

All of the noise data was downloaded automatically to the Cirrus Environmental Noise-Hub2 cloud server.

Each week, preset reports were distributed automatically by email. The client and the EHO could access live data, as well as historical data and generate their own reports on demand via the Noise-Hub Community web portal.

Stakeholders were able to access the secure web portable by entering their email address and password. Additional users could be set up quickly allowing the system to be flexible and able to cope with staff changes.

Peace of Mind for the Client

The construction noise monitoring system was configured to provide email alerts to the client if mains power was lost at any of the noise monitors, as well as when the backup battery was running low, the instrument case had been opened or if the microphone had been disconnected.

This gave the client additional peace of mind in the knowledge that their essential construction noise monitoring was running as required 24/7 and that all of the legal requirements to measure and monitor the noise levels from the site were being carried out.

The system operated as specified from day one allowing the contractor to concentrate on completing the project on time and on budget.

Contact us if you have a construction noise monitoring project that you need assistance with. The Cirrus Environmental Team can help you plan a successful solution.

Editors note: This post was originally published in April 2014 but has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.