Noise impact assessments involve analysing the acoustic environment of a proposed construction project. The aim of these assessments is to formulate an accurate and useful prediction of how much noise will be generated whilst the project is underway. This assessment can be done by using a spreadsheet to total up all of the noise outputs from various sources in decibels, or it can be done using a computer simulation. Such assessments are very useful for health and safety purposes, as well as for legal purposes.
The importance of conducting a noise impact assessment for your next construction project: Health and Safety
The human ear can only tolerate a certain level of noise. For example, noises of 100 decibels will start to damage the ear after just a quarter of an hour of exposure to that noise. At just 10 decibels lower, you will be able to withstand up to two hours of constant exposure before damage will start to occur. This damage can include permanent or temporary hearing loss and hearing disturbances such as tinnitus. In some cases, loud noises can completely rupture the eardrum, which can be very painful and take weeks to heal. Thus, having an accurate idea of how much noise (in decibels) will be generated by your construction project will indicate how dangerous the project will be for the health and safety of the workers and other personnel on site, and for the general public. The noise impact assessment will help you to see where you need to provide your workers with ear protection to ensure that they do not suffer ear damage. The assessment will also give you an idea of how long you can safely have workers employed continuously on a given task before they will need to take a break to ensure that their ears do not suffer from prolonged exposure to a loud noise. Where very loud noises are involved, it is advisable to prevent the general public from entering the site completely.
Legal compliance and Health and Safety
Prolonged loud noises that interfere with the day to day life or business activities of the general public around your building site could legally be designated a ‘nuisance’. In order to ensure that you do not fall foul of the law of nuisance, it is crucial to conduct a detailed noise impact assessment for your project. If the assessment indicates that there will be unavoidable loud noises involved in your project and that these are likely to cause a nuisance to businesses and residential properties nearby, it is time to consider your options. These could include providing insulating cladding around the construction site to absorb the majority of the noise, or relocating your project to a more remote site.
Have you conducted all relevant noise impact assessments?
If not, it is time to ensure that these noise impact assessments are completed before you begin work on your construction project.