Building sites will cause an additional 42% of noise pollution per week

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A leading noise expert is warning construction companies to ensure the health of nearby residents, as well as their own employees, is prioritised amidst new government guidelines.

Acoustic barrier manufacturer Echo Barrier, based in Bury St Edmunds, said that the decision to allow building sites in residential areas to stay open until 9pm between Monday – Saturday will cause a huge amount of additional noise pollution.

Robert Jenrick, who led the Downing Street announcement on Wednesday, said that allowing building sites to continue working later in the evening would help ensure they are abiding by social distancing rules during the coronavirus outbreak.

The standard operating hours of building sites across the country was between 8am – 6pm, Monday to Friday – with Saturdays only operating from 8am – 1pm.

The new guidelines will generate an additional 23 hours of noise per week, a 42% increase.

Director of Echo Barrier Peter Wilson has since warned companies choosing to work later to understand the health implications and to do all they can to protect workers and nearby residents.

“Although the new guidelines are favorable to construction companies, the additional noise pollution being created will wreak havoc on those at the receiving end.” Mr Wilson said. 

“Now, more than ever, it is vital for these companies to ensure they are doing all they can to reduce the amount the noise from building work.

“A power drill could drum up 130 decibels (dB) of noise when used; but the threshold of your hearing becoming damaged over time is 85dB.

“Therefore continued exposure to noise of this level can cause a wide range of physical health problems including hearing impairment, high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease.

“It can also have a detrimental effect on your mental health, including heightened anxiety and depression.”

The World Health Organization has already warned that levels of depression, stress and anxiety is expected to rise due to self-isolation and quarantine during COVID-19.

Mr Wilson said: “It is hugely imperative that businesses take these concerns on board and do everything they can to ensure the safety and protection of those who will be affected.

“This can include providing workers with noise cancelling headphones or erecting temporary acoustic barriers which can e used to shield the site from the surrounding area.”

Echo Barrier’s acoustic barriers cushion and absorb noise by up to 99% which protects the community as well as workers. The barriers are lightweight and waterproof so they are great way to temporarily control the noise made by workers in a residential area.

For more information visit the Echo Barrier website.