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Advice if someone has made a noise complaint about you

How to prevent nuisance during construction work

This page contains advice to contractors and homeowners to prevent nuisance from construction and DIY activities. It provides some possible sources and suggests ways to control potential nuisance situations.

Don’t forget to speak to your neighbours to let them know what work is planned as early as possible. This will avoid losing time or money due to responding to complaints.

Please note that this information is for general guidance only. There can be occasions when other arrangements are necessary to take account of site-specific situations. For further information visit the statutory noise nuisance page on this website.

Potential source of nuisance How to control it

Storage - Wind-blown dust emissions arise not only from processes carried out at the site but also from storage. Dust problems can occur 24 hours a day.

The wind, its speed and direction cannot be controlled, so other methods need to be looked at:

  • Dampening of material
  • Protection from wind by storage under cover, for example, material cover

Loading and unloading activities - Moving materials can cause problems with dust.

Loading and unloading is a vital and frequent aspect of business. Possible controls include:

  • Dampening of material.
  • Reducing drop heights where possible.
  • Protecting activities from wind, which can make the problem worse.

Transport within and off site can cause two problems:

  • Making dust airborne by turbulence generated by vehicle movement.
  • Weight of vehicles crushing larger particles to produce smaller particles, which become more readily airborne

Does depend greatly on vehicle traffic on and around site. These methods may help:

  • Sheeting/covering lorries
  • Wheel wash
  • Restrict vehicle speed
  • Dampening of material and unsurfaced roads.

Dust from construction and demolition activities
For example:

  • grinding out mortar prior to re-pointing
  • stone cutting
  • general demolition activities

Controls could include:

  • Use of protective sheeting
  • Damping down
  • Connect equipment to constant water supply (where possible)

Common plant and machinery

For example - cement mixers, generators

  • Position plant and machinery as far away as possible from noise sensitive areas. Screen noisy machinery from noise sensitive areas using existing buildings, earth and rubble piles, etc, where possible.
  • Machinery should be suitable for the work to be carried out, properly maintained and operated.
  • If the machine is stationary, fit an acoustic enclosure where necessary. Where possible use mains electricity rather than a generator supply. Switch off all equipment when not in use.
  • Try to keep the noisier work for the middle of the day. Quieter work is best kept for the beginning or end of the day, for example, painting and decorating. It is recommended that you limit working hours to: Monday - Friday, 8am - 6pm / Saturdays, 8am - 1pm / No work on Sundays or Bank Holidays

Manual mechanical handling of materials and equipment - Demolition activities, brick crushing, scaffolding

  • Consider appropriate timing of the activity and reduce drop heights

Vehicles moving on and off site
For example - trucks, JCBs, delivery of building materials

  • Prevent vehicles from visiting the site between 6pm and 8am (overnight)
  • Prevent suppliers visiting site early and causing idling vehicles outside the site


Keep the volume of music down, and at a level that cannot be heard by nearby residents.

Pile driving

Where the development involves pile driving, contact the local authority before the work begins. The information they will be looking for will include:

  • The proposed hours of piling and the duration of the work;
  • The proposed methodology and the justification behind it; and
  • A site contact should complaints be received.

Waste disposal

As a business you have a duty of care to ensure that all waste is disposed of safely, appropriately and legally, either by yourself or by a licensed waste carrier.


We would encourage homeowners to compost, recycle and ensure proper disposal of their waste before burning is considered. Fires should always be closely supervised at all times and items such as plastics, rubber or treated wood should never be disposed of in this manner. It is always polite to let your neighbours know when you intend to have a fire and check the weather prior to having a bonfire.


Every effort should be made to control artificial light escaping from a site for example the fitting of diffusers/guards, ensuring there is no light overspill into neighbouring properties.