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Neal Hill, Product Line Manager, Casella
Monitoring a construction or demolition site’s noise and dust emissions is often considered to be another headache that the contractor just doesn’t need. As a result, the section on site monitoring within the planning documents gets left blank. It stays that way until, inevitably, a consultant is called in at the last minute to ensure compliance.
The bottom line is that on-site dust and noise has to be monitored, recorded and reported in most cases. Action does need to be taken if and when the levels get too high. Local residents and communities do need to be considered and the contractor will be drawn into time-consuming public meetings and complaints procedures if it pollutes the environment with noise and dust.
Contrary to popular belief, however, monitoring and reporting on site dust and noise doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Managing noise and dust monitoring ‘in house’, for example, is often perceived to be costly, complicated and time-consuming, but is not necessarily so.
The contractor can access data straight from a monitoring system. They can supply a user name and password to the local authority to allow it to receive reports on the site, which could reduce time spent on monitoring by the contractor. Noise and dust monitoring systems can be used to manage the water supply used to suppress dust on and off. Drawing water to suppress dust is expensive and if the amount of water can be reduced then this boosts the site’s environmental credentials as well as cutting costs.
Above all, noise and dust monitoring maximises the effectiveness of site management when it comes to compliance. For the unfounded complaint, the equipment will quickly provide the contractor with data to prove it wasn’t at fault. And if there is a breach, an alert from the system enables the contractor to intervene and stop or reduce the noise or dust level and inform the local authority.
So, although a breach of compliance can be expensive and complicated, noise and dust monitoring doesn’t have to be.