By: Kevin Ahern on December 10th, 2018
Performing Construction in a Residential Area? 4 Key Things You Should Know
Though it's sometimes necessary, residential construction can be disruptive to households in the neighborhood where the construction is taking place.
If you're a homeowner planning an upcoming renovation or remodel, it's important to do your best to minimize the noise and reduce the impact that construction will have on the people around you. Often there are even rules and laws to follow, and making yourself aware of the regulations is important.
If you're thinking about remodeling or renovating your home sometime in the coming year, the following points will be important to consider. Knowing your rights and responsibilities, keeping your neighbors informed, and minimizing noise from your home construction are ways that you can make the home remodeling experience a positive one for you and the people who live around you. At Litchfield Builders, we help homeowners with these important issues.
What Time Can Construction Start in Residential Areas?
Most towns in Connecticut have a noise ordinance between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., Sunday through Thursday, and 11 p.m. to 8 a.m., Friday and Saturday. Most towns in Connecticut identify specific decibel levels for various times of day. Any noise that exceeds the designated decibel level is considered a nuisance to the surrounding community.
For example, in New Haven, Connecticut, noise levels cannot exceed 55 decibels between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays. At night, those limits drop to 45 decibels. To give you some perspective, 55 decibels is about as loud as light traffic from the street, while 45 decibels is about as loud as the average rainfall. That's not very loud! Homeowners have a responsibility to ensure these rules and regulations are followed.
To ensure that your home construction project is in compliance with noise decibel levels for your area, you must first become aware of the noise requirements in your area. You can find out by calling your city hall or by calling the police.
Avoid any surprises and plan out your remodel properly with our 3 phase remodeling checklist.
Notify Your Neighbors
Communicating with your neighbors is a good way to solve problems before they start. Find out from your contractor how much noise to expect. Know what type of tools they'll be using and where they'll be working. Next, tell neighbors on all sides that you'll have contractors at your home. Give them the what, when, where, and why of your project, then give them the chance to give you input.
Maybe one of your neighbors has a baby in the house, and they'd like to keep the noise levels down while the baby is napping. Taking this information into consideration can help you avoid complaints to the police and can also help you maintain a good relationship with your neighbors.
When talking to your neighbors, provide them with the phone number for the foreman of the project. This gives your neighbors total reassurance that you want to take their needs into consideration as you move forward with your building project. This will give your neighbors a feeling of control that makes some noise bearable.
If you live in an area with a homeowners association, contact the HOA at the same time that you're contacting your neighbors. Your homeowners association may have specific rules regarding noises in your community. Ask your homeowners association what needs to be done to avoid fines and ensure that your construction project is in compliance. You may need to file paperwork that provides project start and end times, as well as the details of the work to be done.
Decrease Your Noise
There are many ways that your contractors can mitigate noise throughout your building project. When performing outdoor work, sound barriers like quilted curtains help muffle noise and absorb sound, so that most of the noise is contained to your property. Setting power equipment to a lower level and working for shortened work periods can also contain the noise.
Sometimes contractors can change their process to use quieter equipment. Sometimes old equipment can be retrofitted with new mufflers to mitigate the sound. Occasionally, old equipment becomes noisy when it needs maintenance. Performing maintenance on this equipment can reduce noise levels by as much as 50%. Rotating workers, spacing out the work, and moving the work are all ways that contractors can prevent your project from becoming a nuisance to your neighbors.
Talk to your contractor to work out strategies before work begins. Your contractor may have other suggestions that can damper the noise. These strategies should be outlined in the original bid. This way, if the schedule must be altered to ensure appropriate noise levels for your neighbors, the contract will reflect this reality. Adding sound-dampening strategies into the contract also helps ensure that everyone is on the same page, and gives you something to refer to if you have questions or concerns during the project.
Partner With the Right Contractor
Most of all, it's important to partner with the right contractor. Find a contractor who knows the rules and regulations specific for your area, and who has experience complying with those regulations. When interviewing contractors, ask them how much noise they anticipate the project will make, and what they will do to contain that noise. The contractor you hire should be able to give a reasoned, thoughtful response that indicates they have dealt with such issues in the past.
Be wary of contractors who indicate that noise will not be a problem, especially if other contractors have indicated they would need to take measures to contain noise. This could be an indication that the contractor has not had experience working within the bounds of the noise ordinances for the area. Fines can be expensive, and there's no price tag you can place on your relationship with the people in your neighborhood.
Are you thinking about renovating your home in the next several months? Have you discussed noise issues with your contractor? Do you know how much noise your project will make and what you can do to mitigate that noise? Leave your comments in the box below.
There are ways to make your home building project quiet for your neighbors! Work with a contractor who is aware of the dangers and who has a plan to contain noise. Notifying your neighbors, working with your homeowners association, and knowing what time can construction start in residential areas are all steps that you can take to ensure that your home construction project is in compliance.
If you haven't hired a contractor to work on your project, contact Litchfield Builders. With over 20 years experience providing quality construction to homeowners in New Haven and the surrounding area, we can work with you to ensure that your construction project achieves your goals without creating problems for your neighbors. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.
If you're still in the planning stages of your home construction project, check out our free checklist: 3 Phases to Planning a Home Remodel.
About Kevin Ahern
Kevin is the Co-Founder of Litchfield Builders, an award-winning, industry leader with a reputation for managing projects others shy away from. They are known for their high-quality work, customer service, and reliability and though still relatively small in size, Litchfield Builders now competes with some of the areas largest firms in both the residential and commercial arenas.