Posted: 4th March 2022

Why you need vibration monitoring on your next construction project

Unfortunately, it is an unavoidable fact that there will often be people living or working in the vicinity of your construction sites.  This is particularly true in dense urban areas where space is at a premium, so it’s important that disruption is kept to a minimum.  While dust and noise pollution from construction sites is a significant concern, vibration from piling or heavy machinery can also be a major nuisance.  Vibration monitoring ensures you comply with acceptable limits.

Local residents and businesses have a reasonable expectation that they should be able to continue their usual activities without undue disruption while construction work progresses and, with vibration monitoring, mitigating actions can be implemented to keep the effects to a minimum.

Vibration monitoring is sometimes a compulsory requirement either through planning conditions or as part of a Section 61 application to the Local Authority under the Control of Pollution Act 1974.  However, even where there isn’t a statutory requirement, monitoring ground-borne vibration levels can protect you if neighbouring residents or businesses were to complain about disruption from your works, or in the worst case claimed that your development had caused damage to their property.


What is vibration monitoring?

When undertaking vibration monitoring, state of the art vibration analysers are installed at suitable locations.  This could be at the site boundary, on shared party walls with neighbouring properties, or even within a neighbouring demise.  The monitoring equipment can detect extremely low levels of vibration which may be below the level of human perception through to very high vibration levels which are severe enough to cause structural damage to nearby buildings. 

Typically, maximum permissible vibration limits are agreed with the Local Authority, the neighbour’s surveyor, or are set in accordance with the guidance in BS 7385-2:1993 and BS 5228-2:2009+A1:2014.  If vibration measurements exceed these limits, then the system automatically generates an alert which is sent to the acoustic consultant, client, site manager, or any other desired recipient.  Warnings can also be set up, allowing alert emails or SMS messages to be sent when measured levels are getting close to the maximum limits. 

These real-time warnings and alerts allow construction activity to be stopped or mitigation measures put in place, to prevent serious problems from occurring.


Considering the impact of vibration when planning construction work

The impact of vibration should also be considered when construction work is first planned.  Failure to address potential problems could result in:

  • Construction work being delayed, affecting deadlines and future projects.
  • The Local Authority issuing a Section 60 Prohibition Notice, resulting in construction being halted midway through a project, with financial penalties for missed deadlines.
  • Having to implement mitigation measures that had not been budgeted or which could extend the project programme.
  • Discontent and conflict with local businesses and residents.

Early assessment of vibration from construction works should be incorporated into a Construction Management Plan, which will detail suitable measures to minimise vibration levels and noise emissions.


Contact ACA Acoustics for vibration monitoring services

At ACA Acoustics, we offer assessments of noise and vibration from construction works in accordance with BS 5228 and other relevant British Standards and guidance documents. 

Our construction and demolition noise and vibration monitoring services ensure that your site emissions comply with agreed project limits and stay below levels that could result in disruption or damage to nearby properties.

If measured levels exceed the criteria our experienced acoustic consultants will work with you to develop the most appropriate and cost-effective mitigation strategies to get the construction works back up and running as soon as possible.


To find out more, please get in touch with ACA Acoustics today.


Image Source: Unsplash

Posted By:ACA Acoustics

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