Building work on Union Street on Sundays

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Tuesday 28 January 2003 11.48am
I live on Union Street and had to ring the Noise Pollution team last Sunday because the builders were working all day Sunday!! Not only are they working 5 days a week and Sat mornings but now it looks like Sundays too. The Noise team informed me after speaking to the builders that Southwark Council environmental health had given the builders permission to work on Sunday. The reason being that businesses on Union Street had requested that certain types of work not be carried out on weekdays. Seems like only businesses' and not residents' concerns count for the council because as a resident I had not been consulted or even notified about this. Is there anyone else living on Union Street or around that was notified of the council's intention to grant permission for building work on Sundays? If so when and how? Also has anyone got any suggestions about how to put a stop to this noise nuisance?
Tuesday 28 January 2003 6.30pm
I've had road works outside my flat every weekend for the last 2 months and although it has disturbed my beauty sleep (and god do I need it) I accept it as being part and parcel of living in the middle of a big city, not everyone works 9-5 monday to friday so why should building work restricted to those hours. To be honest we'd be better off if more building and roadworks were done out of normal office hours then maybe we wouldn't need a congestion charge.
Wednesday 29 January 2003 9.21am
Adele,

I live just by the jam factory development off Tower Bridge Road. The builders - Mansells were originally 'on time' and not 'caring builders in the community'. Granted they were given the right to work weekends by the council and through negotiation we are now getting a working relationship - i.e. they have a job to do and we have a right to live in peace... what we have suggested is that during the week they can dig, drill or whatever they like to there hearts content but on saturdays and sundays they keep it quieter. On the whole they are keeping to this, last weekend however I had to go and explain to a deputy that we have an agreement and to his credit once i had shown him the letter from his MD about our gentlemans agreement the drilling stopped.

What I would say Adele is talk to them, get a meeting with the site manager and get your concerns across. Respect that they have a job to do and ask them to in return mutually respect your right to some peace and quiet at weekends.

If it's Mansells I can help....

We all want SE1 to thrive and prosper, building has to take place to make this happen but also we do live here too....

Hope this helps.

David
Wednesday 29 January 2003 11.36am
I live right by the jam factory too and for the last two weeks ish, it has felt like living in an earthquake zone. My whole flat shakes and jumps with every bang (they've been knocking down a warehouse) and I have had to move delicate things from shelves to stop them being jolted off! I work from home and this has been happening throughout the working day. It can't be good for the building. Anyone else felt this?
Wednesday 29 January 2003 12.03pm
I'm on Prioress street and know what you mean.

If you want to call me on 07766 600308 we can see what we can do about it as 2 have more influence than 1.

David
Saturday 1 February 2003 11.04am
Many thanks for the responses. It is weirdly comforting to hear that other people are having similar to work on Sunday and it turns out they only had permission if they worked at the JUNCTION of Borough High St and Union St. So while I agree that some building work has to be done (although I do not have any idea what they are doing with the pavement in Union St, they have re-paved outside where we live and it looks really shabby!) I do not expect the builders to take the p**s and claim they can do work somewhere when they can't and when it is deeply inconsiderate to residents (the builders are Conway). I too work a lot from home so I am now having to deal with this noise 7 days a week! My main gripe with this was that it appeared that businesses were being consulted much more about the noise than residents. As I write this though on Sat morning the drilling is powering away in the background and I am just about to ring the Noise team....
Monday 3 February 2003 8.42am
I found a video recording of the noise and vibration made the MD of the Building Firm take me a bit more seriously - or was it the clip of the Health & Safety violations??
Monday 10 February 2003 12.17pm
Please excuse delay in reponse. Now I am up to speed I will try to answer more quickly:

Normal hours for noisy building workings is 08:00 to 18:00 hours on Mondays to Fridays and 08:00 to 13:00 hours on Saturdays.

This is controlled by Southwark Council's Noise Team (24hr number 020 7525 5777) who, when building works come to their attention, can serve a notice under section 60 of the Control of Pollution Act 1974 to restrict the noisy works to these hours and to ensure the best practical means to reduce the noise is employed.

Under certain circumstances permission must be given to work outside these hours for specific parts of the works.
Reasons that permission is given for noisy works outside of these hours is usually because of traffic flow problems that a particular part of the job can cause and is on the advice of the Metropolitan Police Traffic Division with consultation with the Bus Company, Highways and Transport for London.

The permission does not allow for other noisy works that can be conducted out of hours and is usually quite specific in what is allowed.

A condition of the out of hours works is for the contractor to inform all local residents and businesses of the noisy works, usually in the form of a leaflet drop.

The Council's Noise Team does not have the resources to consult with residents and businesses on the large number of applications for noisy working out of normal hours, but each considered separately and many are refused or varied.

The Council does not have the power to stop noisy works, but after service of the notice, can prosecute the contractors for breaching the terms of the notice.

Until after a notice has been served on the contractors there is no restriction on noisy works, and contractors cannot be prosecuted.

The Council also has a Code of Construction Practice that it expects contractors working in the Borough to adopt.

In the incident of the contractor that was working on the road in Union Street, permission was given for noisy work out of hours works at the junction of Union Street and Borough High Street, permission was not given for the rest of Union Street.

The investigating officer on that Sunday was told by the contractor that permission had been given for Union Street and unfortunately the information available to the officer from the out of hours log was not specific enough, i.e. did not specify that permission was granted only for the junction with Borough High Street. The Council's Noise Team have taken steps to ensure in future more accurate information is available in the log to the investigating officers.

The matter was investigated further on Monday and revealed that permission had been only granted for the junction of Union Street and Borough High Street, the contractor chose to use up excess materials from the works at the junction of Union Street further along Union Street.

The investigating officer also found another contractor to be working noisily that Sunday at a business premises in Union Street, removing scaffolding. this noisy work was a separate incident to the road works but at the same time as the road works were taking place and the Council had not been aware these works were to take place.

Both of these contractors have been identified and have now been served with notices to restrict the hours for noisy works.

Monday 10 February 2003 4.28pm
Many thanks for this informative response. I was contacted by Southwark Council Environmental Health lwho informed me that notices had been served on the contractors. I was surprised that the investigating officer did not have the relevant information relating to the permission given for the builders to work on the Sunday. I am very pleased to hear that this defect in the procedure is now being resolved. I am also happy to tell you that there has been no more noisy work on Sundays! So for anyone with noise problems from building work I recommend getting in touch with the Southwark Council Noise team. The builders may not have the relevant permission even if they tell you they do.

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