The Impact of Construction Noise and Vibrations on People

New York City is home to one of the most breathtaking skylines in the world. 

Unfortunately, that picturesque view is often disrupted by the soundtrack of city life, including traffic, subways, the hustle and bustle of residents and tourists, and construction noise and vibrations. 

While city dwellers are unfazed by these everyday elements, the truth is that excessive noise and vibrations can have profound effects on individuals and structures. 

In this blog, we’ll explore the ways construction-related noises and vibrations can impact city residents and demonstrate how Saltus’s specialized monitoring services can help with construction noise mitigation and ensure compliance with the NYC Noise Code. 

How Do Construction Noise and Vibrations Impact People?

Any professional in the city will tell you that it’s hard to conduct a business meeting when pile drivers unleash their percussive fury nearby. 

It’s like trying to enjoy a quiet moment in a rock concert – virtually impossible! 

Besides being a disruptive nuisance to everyday activities, prolonged exposure to excessive construction noise levels can lead to an array of other issues and concerns, including:

  • Sleep Disturbances: Unless there is an emergency, city construction is limited to daytime hours. Yet, many people sleep during the day in the busy city. From second- and third-shift professionals to patients resting in hospitals to children napping in daycare centers, there are plenty of residents whose sleep habits are at risk of excessive construction-related noise. 
  • Increased Stress and Anxiety Levels: The constant background noise of construction activities can increase stress levels which, in turn, can lead to other health-related issues. 
  • Hearing Impairment: Construction noise, if not properly monitored, may exceed the recommended decibel levels, posing a genuine threat to the auditory well-being of the community. 

But it’s not just about the noise; excessive vibrations caused by construction can also contribute to a variety of serious issues and concerns, including: 

  • Structural Damage: Like a subtle earthquake, excessive vibrations can compromise the integrity of nearby structures over time, leading to foundational cracks and structural movements. 
  • Discomfort and Nausea: If area residents feel excessive vibrations through the ground, it could potentially leave them feeling nauseous or disoriented. 
  • Disturbing Sensitive Equipment: For spaces housing delicate instruments or equipment, such as hospitals, laboratories, or manufacturing facilities, even minor vibrations can cause a variety of issues, including malfunctions, misreadings, and even critical failures in machines. 

Mitigating Risks Through Regulations and Compliance

How does the city protect its citizens and structures from the negative effects of construction noise and vibrations? 

To mitigate the risks that could be caused by construction activities, the city has established and enacted several laws and regulations. 

In an attempt to regulate construction noise limits, the city established the NYC Noise Code. To protect the city’s population, this code states that “the making, creation or maintenance of excessive and unreasonable and prohibited noises within the city affects and is a menace to public health, comfort, convenience, safety, welfare and the prosperity of the people of the city.” 

Based on the severity of a reported noise complaint, the city requires a detailed investigation conducted by local law enforcement or the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). 

Construction operations that are found to be in violation of the noise code may be subject to an array of expensive fines and penalties. 

Since excessive vibrations can lead to structural damage in properties, bridges, ramps, and tunnels, within construction zones, the city has implemented a series of laws and regulations, such as the Technical Policy and Procedure Notice #10/8 that aims to protect NYC’s many historical landmarks.

If construction activities produce significant vibrations that could potentially cause damage in nearby structures, the site could be subject to project delays, fines, and even the cancellation of the project. 

Investing in Construction Monitoring Services 

As you can see, non-compliance with these noise and vibration regulations and laws not only risks legal repercussions but also jeopardizes community relationships. 

Proactively preventing NYC Noise Code violations, significant vibrations, construction delays, and legal expenses are vital to the success of your project. 

Saltus offers diverse construction monitoring services and equipment to identify sources of noise or vibrations, preventing fines, penalties, or work stoppages that are the result of violating the various city laws and regulations. 

Our team of professionals can install vibration and crack gauge monitors to track and report on any significant disruptions during construction. Additionally, we can use innovative equipment to identify and report any tilting or lateral and horizontal movements of neighboring structures. 

Ensuring Project Success with Saltus 

Construction monitoring isn’t a mere checkbox; it’s the foundation of any project’s success. 

By mitigating risks, avoiding delays, and ensuring compliance with all applicable laws like the NYC Noise Code, Saltus transforms monitoring from a necessity to a strategic advantage. 

Contact us today to discuss which construction monitoring services are best suited to your project needs.