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NYC Passes New Construction Noise Bill

City inspectors now have the power to order loud equipment to shut down immediately

December 20, 2017
A bill sitting on NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio's desk would cut in half the amount of noise a construction site can produce before 7 a.m. or after 6 p.m.

A bill sitting on NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio's desk would cut in half the amount of noise a construction site can produce before 7 a.m. or after 6 p.m.

Tuesday, the New York City Council passed legislation that states 'construction work without noise mitigation plan unlawful and no person shall operate or use or cause to be operated or used a construction device or combination of devices in such a way as to create an unreasonable noise.'

Construction noise during the designated 'quiet hours' will be capped at 80 decibels, then lowered again to 75 decibels in 2020. The current limit is 85 decibels. City Councilman Ben Kallos said, “Noise is the top complaint in New York City.”

The 1653-2017 bill targets potential noisemakers ranging from sledgehammers to off-road construction vehicles to the metal plates used to temporarily cover excavations in a street. If a city inspector is called to a site for a reported excessive noise disturbance, the inspector now has the right to issue a verbal stop work order which becomes effective immediately. A written order will follow later.

Project managers can get out of strictly following noise rules if they submit a plan to keep their sites as quiet as possible. However, their plan has to show they can't do the work without exceeding the legal noise limit, even with measures in place to cut down on noise.

Bill 1653-2017 will become effective 120 days after Mayor de Blasio signs it.

Image: Construction Safety Association of Ontario

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