Resolving Complaints: Working Hours

The Scheme is releasing a series of resources on the Best Practice Hub to support construction sites when they are dealing with complaints from the public. Available for free, these will focus on proactive ways that sites can minimise the impact on their local community.

Working Hours – What is the problem?

The operational working hours of construction sites can often impact on the members of the public who live and work around the activity. The Considerate Constructors Scheme still receive complaints regarding working hours on and around construction projects, therefore to support Scheme registered activity in tackling this issue and support the public we are sharing some useful resources and best practices that you can implement on site.

Managing the impact of Working Hours

Those that live and work around construction activity may be heavily impacted by the working hours of construction projects especially when the works are noisy. The Scheme’s Public Liaison team have found that the following are the most common causes of complaints relating to working hours:

  • Concrete pours overrunning
  • Skip and waste removal activities
  • Constructors working on scaffolding
  • Construction work being carried out on Sundays and Bank Holidays
  • Light pollution during the winter when it gets darker earlier
  • Out of hours crane and large machinery installation
  • Contractors arriving and leaving the project and metal entrance gates opening and closing.

Working Hours Common Practices

There are a number of common practices constructors should be following to minimise disruption related to working hours:

  • Communicate the permitted working hours clearly and display on and around the site in prominent areas.
  • Communicate when activities do not go to plan and overrun (Communication tools should be in place for when this happens)
  • Contractors and subcontractors should be briefed to be mindful of how activities such as a phone conversation, the slamming of vehicles doors and removing tools etc. can create noise at quiet times of the day.
  • Scaffolding – while it is appreciated that this does sometimes need to happen out of hours, has this been communicated to the local community and contractors briefed on the respect that should be shown for the community around them.
  • Site gates should have soft close or padding added to lessen noise and hinges that are well oiled and do not squeak.
  • If you have temporary permission to work extended/weekend hours, this should be communicated to the local community. (People are less likely to complain if they are forewarned of something that inconveniences them as this may give them the opportunity to make alternative arrangements for when the works are being carried out)
  • In the winter months when more lighting is needed on site, ensure that they are angled to cause less intrusion to the local community.

Best Practice Resources

Noise Management for Out of Hours Working – On this project they developed an internal noise management system for ‘Out of Hours’ which is working successfully. The project is located in a heavily populated area which adds additional constraints on the delivery of the construction works so when the project team reaches a phase of works that requires out of hours working they prepare an Out of Hours permit which details the intended work methodology, plant that will be in use with decibel levels (at 10m) and percentage on time use.

Alleviating Overcrowding of Public Transport from Construction Workers During Peak Hours – This contractor ensured that all of its projects in the area would not open until 9.30am and then follow a shift pattern to avoid peak underground hours at the end of the day also, so as not to overcrowd public transport.

Temporary Power Battery Supply Units – To address planning constraints, nuisance to neighbours and carbon footprint/emissions associated with large diesel generators, this contractor used battery supply units to operate primarily out of hours as this was much quieter and would cause neighbours less disturbance.

Advance Notice of Disruptive Works Template – The Considerate Constructors Scheme has put together an ‘Advance notice of disruptive works template’ for smaller sites. This can be adapted to be site specific and be given to all neighbours potentially affected by construction activities such as crane delivery and road or drainage works. The notice helps to explain when works are taking place, how long for, and when disruptions may occur.

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The Best Practice Hub is provided by the Considerate Constructors Scheme