Three steps to measuring construction noise on projects

If you work in construction and engineering, you know why construction noise monitoring is important. Too much noise can cause tension with neighboring residents and businesses. It can also lead to costly fines or operational shut-down. However, a proactive approach to noise monitoring can help you to avoid these problems. It can also improve efficiency by enabling you to work longer hours without the risk of exceeding regulated noise levels.

So, what’s the best approach to monitoring construction noise? In this blog, we’ll take you through the key steps to effectively measure your environmental impact and keep your project on track without delay.

1. Understand the limits

Construction noise monitoring is imperative at sites in high density urban areas such as inner city or the suburbs. These areas will often include mixed use residential and commercial buildings, where excessive noise can interfere with people’s quality of life. Additionally, buildings such as hospitals and museums have sensitive equipment that must be protected from loud disturbances and vibration. Others, such as schools or office buildings, will be busy at certain times of day, often when projects are underway. As a result, noise regulations will vary across times of day and across different areas of your construction site.

A construction noise monitoring solution needs to account for all these differences so knowing how to monitor construction noise is obviously good for business.

Knowing how to monitor construction noise is good for business

2. Assess heights & materials

The size and type of neighboring buildings can also affect construction noise levels. Noise is a wave caused by vibrations, and sound waves bounce off walls and other surfaces. The height, thickness, type of material and distance from the source of the noise all affect the loudness of a given sound at different points around a construction site. Of course, no two sites are ever exactly the same and neither are their surroundings. When assessing how to monitor construction noise, you need a solution that allows for a variety of new measurements with every new project.

Once you are aware of all applicable noise limits on a given project, the next step is to identify the best locations for measuring noise levels against each limit.

3. Work out your locations

When you are thinking about how to monitor construction noise, remember to look for locations where it’s practical to place a monitor. In most circumstances, the noise monitoring terminal’s (NMT) microphone should be placed approximately 1.2 meters above the ground.

When you’re looking at how to monitor construction noise, sometimes you will find it’s not practical to place a device in the ideal location on a regular basis. You can address this by placing a second NMT in a more convenient location where you can keep it throughout the project. When it is possible to place both, assess the difference in readings between the two and correct accordingly to provide a reasonable estimate of the noise level at the ideal location.

EMU in construction

Benefits of Construction Noise Monitoring

Noise monitoring terminals are unattended – that is, they do not require a person to operate them once they are set up and running. This also means the noise levels they record can be observed remotely. In a site with several different limits, at different locations and times of day, staff can monitor them all in one central location on a single platform. In the event that a limit is in danger of being breached, alerts can notify staff to take action immediately to forestall the breach. Finally, keeping records of the data collected by the monitors will enable you to prove you complied with all limits in the event of future disputes.

There’s no question noise monitoring is a must. But with the right noise monitoring equipment and procedures, the how is as straightforward as the why.

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