Like any busy metropolitan area, New York City is accompanied by a soundtrack of assorted sounds. Whether it’s the constant sound of vehicle motors, the wail emergency service sirens, the subway car speakers blasting out conductor announcements or the millions of conversations happening in Times Square, our city (like the old song says) never sleeps.
Since so many sounds abound, there is a need to curb some of the more troublesome noises.
To help mitigate these noise levels, the New York City Noise Code was created.
In the following article, we’ll explain the NYC Noise Code, discuss how it affects the construction industry, and explain how Saltus Construction Monitoring Services can help the industry maintain noise compliance.
The New York City Noise Code Explained
Established to significantly reduce levels of any noise that may be harmful to city residents and the city itself, the New York City Noise Code declares 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.”
All noise complaints are investigated and enforced by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) or the NYPD (depending on the circumstance). If the excessive noise levels prove to violate the code, the resulting fines and penalties may be significant.
Since construction projects produce a substantial amount of noise, they are often subject to numerous complaints.
The NYC Noise Code Can Affect Construction Projects
NYC is constantly bustling with pedestrians, vehicular traffic and lots of activities, including numerous and simultaneous construction projects.
To help reduce the amount of excessive noise levels associated with construction, the Noise Code requires that all NYC construction projects adhere to an established noise mitigation plan under the following conditions:
- Contractors must develop their noise mitigation plan before their construction project begins.
- If the construction project is located near noise-sensitive businesses or operations (hospitals, schools, places of worship), the mitigation plan’s design must take into account the unique needs of these properties.
- Physical copies of the corresponding plan must be available at the construction site for review/inspection at any time.
- If the construction site receives a noise complaint, a DEP inspector arrives on the site to confirm that the project has a mitigation plan on location and that it is being followed accordingly. During the investigation, the DEP also determines if the existing mitigation plan needs modification to further reduce noise levels.
The NYC Noise Code also outlines an acceptable construction schedule and allows for exceptions due to emergencies:
- Construction projects are permissible Monday through Friday from 7:00 AM until 6:00 PM
- Alterations or repairs to existing residencies are permissible on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 AM until 4:00 PM but only if the respective residence is located more than 300 feet from a place of worship.
- All construction work conducted outside the normal operating schedule must have advance authorization from the Departments of Buildings and Transportation. An existing noise mitigation plan must be in effect before the authorization is granted.
- Emergency construction work that involves public safety (such as water main breaks or gas line leaks) can be performed at any time.
- Any construction work that cannot be performed during the normal schedule is allowed after hours.
In addition to ensuring that contractors operate with a noise level mitigation plan and adhere to a schedule, the NYC Noise Code also establishes acceptable standards for noise levels produced by handling containers and acceptable measures for construction equipment and materials:
- Prohibited Noises:
- Any noise that exceeds the ambient sounds level by more than 10 decibels as measured from 15 feet from the source.
- Impulsive sounds that are abrupt, intense and last for short periods of time
- Noise Mitigation Measures:
- Noise-reducing mufflers for jackhammers
- Portable street barriers with sound insulators
Based on the criteria above, a DEP inspector can stop any construction project from continuing if it determines that it is producing excessive noise.
Avoiding NYC Noise Code Violations with Saltus Construction Monitoring Services
One of the most effective ways to avoid potential NYC Noise Code violations – and any halts to a construction – is to be proactive. Using our various construction monitoring services and equipment, the team at Saltus can help identify the sources of any noises or vibrations that could incur Noise Code-related fines, penalties or work stoppages.
Using innovative equipment, Saltus can monitor a construction site’s noise levels, send alerts when thresholds are exceeded, record events, and provide data for project management records and potential DEP noise violations investigations.
If your upcoming project needs construction monitoring services to remain in full compliance with the NYC Noise Code, contact us today to learn more about our available solutions!