On Wednesday 13 May 2020, the government published a written ministerial statement on planning and construction working hours.

This statement expects local planning authorities to approve requests to extend construction working hours temporarily to ensure safe working in line with social distancing guidelines. Permitted working hours can be increased until 9pm, Monday to Saturday, unless there are very compelling reasons against this. Sundays and Bank Holidays remain as non-working days.

We understand that extended construction hours may have an impact on nearby residents. More so than ever before, people are in their homes and this change may see an increase in the number of construction site nuisance complaints.

In line with government advice, we are asking contractors to be considerate of their neighbours and would like to thank residents for their patience during these unusual times. Our Environmental Health Team is working with developers to ensure that every effort is made to minimise and control noise and dust.

Developers (or their agents) granted planning permission will:

  • Where a Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP) was secured through a planning condition, submit an application to discharge an approval of detail to amend the CEMP (using the planning portal.)
  • Where the CEMP was secured through a S106 Agreement, the developer needs to submit a written request to vary the working hours to planning.applications@brighton-hove.gov.uk
  • Clearly demonstrate how the extension requested will help to recover any programme time lost over the last few months and facilitate work to continue on site with appropriate social distancing
  • Submit with the application/request comprehensive information on how the constructor will communicate with neighbours and ward councillors about the extended hours and their local complaints process (which will need to be available during the extended hours of operation.)
  • The updated CEMP should also include an up to date copy of the construction programme, which clearly identifies all noisy construction activities.

Operators of construction sites will:

  • Advise neighbours when changes to construction times have been agreed with the council (ie applications to extend site operating hours up to 9pm on weekdays and Saturdays)
  • Where possible ensure that particularly noisy work is carried out within normal hours - usually 8am to 6pm weekdays
  • Give neighbours who may be affected by works, for example, demolition and piling, outside of these hours at least 48 hours’ notice
  • Adopt ‘best practicable means’. Choose the quietest suitable equipment, keep it properly maintained and follow safe working practices. Implement additional dust and noise mitigation plans as necessary
  • Tell any subcontractors to follow agreed guidelines on noise, dust and other matters.
  •  Not allow workers to use radios on the site if this could cause a disturbance.
  • Avoid the need to park on the street by providing on-site parking wherever possible.
  • Keep the public roads and footpaths clean, tidy and free from obstructions.

Residents

What to do if problems arise:

  • If the scheme is registered with the independent Considerate Constructors Scheme, you can complain to them direct by either emailing complaints@ccscheme.org.uk or by calling 0800 783 1423
  • Alternatively, report the problem to our Environmental Protection Team by filling in an online form or by calling 01273 294266.

This guidance has been provided for residents, developers and constructors involved with major developments (eg the construction of 10 or more dwellings). If residents experience problems with small developments, it is often quicker to try and resolve the problem with the site direct. If this is not possible or proves unsuccessful, residents can contact the council by email or phone as outlined above.

When a problem is reported to the council, our first action is always to discuss the situation with the site operators. While the council will step in to take enforcement action where appropriate, we often find that developers are unaware of the problems they may be causing. Once it is brought to their attention, in most cases they will take action to deal with the matter.