Expert tips for noise reduction on the job site

The rise in high-density living and developments being undertaken closer to busy roadways has heightened the need to control noise and vibration on the construction site.

With many new local and overseas builders and contractors entering the market, particularly in Auckland, it is critical they are made aware of the limits they must adhere to when it comes to noise and vibration.

Many construction activities are inherently noisy, although most noise generated is usually of a temporary nature throughout the construction program. This has been accelerated in Auckland due to the current demand.

NZS 6803:1999 Acoustics – Construction Noise; allows for the production of reasonable noise between the hours of 7.30am and 6pm during weekdays.

However contractors are still required to prevent unreasonable noise emissions, or noise occurring at inconvenient times.

To mitigate adverse effects of ongoing noise from inconvenience and irritation for neighbours, to more serious consequences such as fatigue, loss of efficiency and even structural damage, a range of solutions can be considered.

These include limiting work hours, selecting quieter equipment, carrying out work as far away as possible from neighbours, erecting solid fences or barriers, installing an acoustic enclosure for fixed equipment such as compressors or vacuum equipment, and keeping up with regular maintenance on equipment.

Although it is not possible to eliminate noise and vibration, applying mitigation measures can reduce it to a manageable level.

The noise and vibration effects of a construction site are usually considered as part of a resource consent, with some Councils requiring certification from qualified acoustic engineers at the beginning, end, and even during projects.

These considerations need to be made at the design stage and are increasingly important with the move to more high-density living and mixed use developments creating the potential for greater noise.

Acoustics and soundproofing of buildings is also a major consideration for these types of development to prevent noise transfer between tenants.

Features such as double-glazing, insulation and good cladding go some way to resolving these issues.

Smart, economic solutions for inter-tenancy walls and floors ranging from traditional pre-cast concrete to Comflor slabs and timber-framed systems can also be applied to prevent noise transfer.

Heritage buildings, especially those divided into multi-tenanted, mix used facilities can also be retrofitted with modern technologies such as acoustic ceilings, raised floors, acoustic walls and sound insulation during upgrade works to improve acoustics and soundproofing.

The historic beauty of these buildings can be preserved while providing a modern 21st century environment for their occupants.

It is critical to work with a specialist firm, with the experience to manage the complexity of architectural and building acoustics, sound insulation, noise and vibration control and provide an integrated, cost effective solution.

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