Planning - before you start work
Good Site Practice
Construction and demolition works are usually noisy and can take place in areas which are normally quiet. Although the work may not last long, the disturbance caused by noise and dust and other issues may lead to problems for people who live and work near the site. The Council often receives complaints from people about this disturbance.
It is everyone’s interest to try to foresee any problems which could arise and plan ways to avoid them. Contractors should obtain a copy of British Standard 5228 which is a Code of Practice containing information and procedures for noise control on construction and open sites. Copies can be obtained from HMSO or via any good bookshop.
- Give neighbours who may be affected by particular operations at least 48 hours notice.
- Keep normal working hours between 8.00am to 6.00pm Monday to Friday and 8.00am to 1.00pm on Saturdays. There should be no Sunday or Bank Holiday working.
- Select the quietest suitable plant and equipment and keep it properly maintained and observe safe working practices.
- Make sure that all sub-contractors are told to carry out their work in compliance with agreed guidelines on noise, dust and other matters.
- For long term and complex projects, arrange for detailed liaison with the local community, through structured meetings with residents.
- Avoid the need to park on the street by providing on-site parking wherever possible.
- Inform Environmental Health where your activities might be expected to cause disturbance. Care must be taken to avoid damage to neighbours’ property. Detailed law exists on this.
- Sites should be surveyed for the presence of asbestos-containing materials by a competent person. Detailed law exists on working with and disposal of such material.
- Keep the public footpaths and highways in a clean and tidy state.
- Take all reasonable practicable steps to prevent noise and dust from causing nuisance.
- Ensure that any particularly noisy operations are carried out within the above times.
- Light bonfires; the penalties are severe and the exemptions are very restricted.
- Allow the use of radios on the site in circumstances where it could cause disturbance.
It should always be remembered that the Council has extensive powers to control noise and other nuisance from building sites under the Control of Pollution Act 1974 and the Environmental Protection Act 1990 if informal action fails to solve any problems. This can involve prescribing working hours and methods.
For major construction programmes or if you would like further advice and information please contact the Environmental Health section at an early stage.
Do Building Regulations Apply?
Whether planning permission is required or not, Building Regulations may well apply. You are advised to contact the Council’s Building Control Section for advice.
There may be covenants affecting your property which could interfere with your plans. These are completely separate from the planning legislation and you must check the deeds to your property.
The planning legislation does not override other people’s property rights. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the right to undertake the work. For example:
- If you are a leaseholder, you may need to get permission from the freeholder.
- If you are working on a party wall, the Party Wall etc Act 1996 requires you to get the consent of the person sharing the wall. This can affect floors between flats.
- If you are building right up to the boundary you must ensure that the foundations do not extend onto your neighbours property unless you have their consent.
If you do not know the owner of property or land, you will need to contact Land Registry, as the Council does not have ownership details.