Westminster City Council (WCC) has recently implemented a new Code of Construction Practice which is likely to result in significant changes in how construction noise and vibration is managed for all but the smallest developments within the City of Westminster. We present below a brief summary.
Where does it apply? Large “Level 1” projects created than 100 residential units or more than 10,000m2 floorspace. “Level 2” projects of between 10 – 99 residential units or 1,000m2 floorspace. Less stringent standards are required for “Level 3” projects (all other projects smaller projects) although these can be “upgraded” to the large Level 1 or 2 projects depending on site circumstances.
When does it apply? The Code should be considered at pre-app stage. The development will be conditioned with a requirement to submit the usual SEMP/CMP but this now must also be in accordance with the new 2016 Code of Practice.
What is a SEMP? A Site Environmental Management Plan required for Level 1 and Level 2 projects (excluding basements) demonstrating compliance with the Code.
What is a CMP? – A Construction Management Plan required for basements.
What is required to manage noise and vibration? This depends on the size of the project and the requirements are summarised below.
Baseline noise monitoring. Is this new? In WCC generally no. For most level 1 and level 2 developments baseline noise monitoring will have been carried out for planning noise impact assessments. This noise data can also in many cases be used as part of the SEMP/CMP. Bickerdike Allen Partners LLP regularly carry out noise survey and assessment work and can advise on the need (if any) for additional survey work. It is new for basement works to require baseline noise survey work.
Best practicable means. Is this new? In theory no. All construction works should be carried out using best practicable means. What is new is the requirement to carry out Noise and Vibration monitoring against set action levels for Level 1, Level 2 and basement works. This applies to all Level 1, 2 and Basement Projects.
What monitoring is required? The new Code requires noise and vibration to be carried out sufficiently competent personnel. This test for competence can be met by personnel being a full or associate member of The Institute of Acoustics. All of Bickerdike Allen Partners’s acousticians are either full or associate members. The monitoring can also be carried out by sufficiently trained personnel. BAP can help provide training and guidance to assist here.
What if we go over our limits? A well set up live construction noise and vibration system can will provide warnings or “amber alerts” to warn if construction noise levels are approaching limits to ensure appropriate action is taken. Inevitably there will be times when construction noise limits will be exceeded, usually for isolated noisy events of short duration. If correctly managed these should have been identified during the construction noise predictions made as part of the Section 61 applications. There is no mandatory requirement to stay below noise limits provided it has been demonstrated that best practicable means have been adopted. Bickerdike Allen can assist in providing the required predictions, specifications and management of monitoring systems to help demonstrate compliance with the new Code and Best Practicable Means measures set out within BS 5228.
For further details or any queries regarding the above please contact Tomasz Galikowski, David Trew or David Charles at our office. We’d be more than happy to discuss any element of the new construction noise and vibration requirements when working in Westminster.
The full document can be found here