How to assess and monitor construction site noise

  • 23 Sep 2020

When organising a construction site, it is crucial to factor in the impact on the local community and environment and one element that needs significant attention is the impact of noise. Construction sites are naturally noisy places, and the impact of this noise must be assessed and monitored to ensure the best possible outcomes for all stakeholders.

Why Construction Noise Monitoring Needs Careful Consideration?

Reducing noise on a construction site is not just beneficial for the local area; it is also vital to ensure the good health and safety of the building team on site.

Long-term exposure to high noise levels has a significant impact on the wellbeing of people exposed to it. It can if left unconsidered, result in a challenging working environment.

How You Can Reduce Noise on a Construction Site?

There is a range of different ways to reduce noise on a construction site, and this initially begins with the design process, where quiet design elements can be incorporated rather than more traditional, noisy elements.

However, when you are at the building phase, it is important to consider ways to reduce the noise even further.

You can firstly consider using quieter equipment that produces the same results but at a lower noise output. Next, you can take the time to plan less noisy processes so that the building team can do their job in a quieter environment.

Finally, you can remove people from the noisiest places by planning the work in such a way that the nosiest jobs get done when there are the least people in that area. While it takes careful planning, on-site noise reduction is possible.

Benchmarking to Help You Focus on What You Want to Achieve

Defining clear benchmarks will help you show progress against what you want to achieve. These benchmarks can be from national noise data or what your current noise levels are.

Whatever you choose as your benchmark, you will need to be able to explain the reason behind your choice and what you want to achieve in line with these benchmarks.

Completing a Site Noise Assessment

When you have everything planned and prepared in terms of what you want to achieve, then you can begin working out where you are going to measure noise and how.

A site noise assessment will help you to work out the levels of noise as well as vibration across different parts of the site and from different activities. 

You can use the results of your initial assessment to define these areas and set up noise collection kit ready to begin your monitoring. Having a copy of the site plans will enable you to demark where your noise monitoring kit will go so that this can evolve as the construction evolves.

It is not until the assessment is done that you will have a clear picture of what equipment you will need to install.

According to Nova Acoustics the typical techniques that are used for construction noise assessments include modelling of the site noise and vibration, assessments of site equipment and an overall estimation of the noise impact emanating from the site.  

Equipment You Will Need

Any noise assessment will require equipment for you to be able to measure and collect data. You should consider getting sound level meters as well as noise monitors that all comply with Class 1, defined in IEC 61672-1:2002

When picking out your equipment, you will need to consider:

 – Do you kit that has remote access or live monitoring?
 – Will you need it to be mountable?
 – Does the equipment need an in-built alarm system?
 – What software can you use to report on your findings and does the equipment work with the software?

Working Out What Date You Will Monitor and Report On

When it comes to noise monitoring, there is a range of different things you can use for monitoring and so you must decide what you are measuring and the reason why you have chosen this to measure.

This will not only help you work out the best way to do it, but it will also make it easier to explain when it comes to reporting the data and the story the data tells. 

For example, you may decide to monitor the noise on-site between 7am – 8am to ensure the local neighbourhood is not disrupted at an anti-social time and aim to keep it below a specific level.

Then you can report on how successful this was and what steps you need to take to improve it even more.


Ultimately, noise monitoring is a complex task that comes with a wide range of considerations that need to be met so that the data you produce is accurate and can be used to form the basis of a noise reduction plan.

Detailing what you want to achieve and sharing that with local stakeholders will allow them to understand the efforts you are putting in to reducing noise on-site and help you to build effective relationships that will support the build as it progresses. 

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