WHAT IS SECTION 61?
We have put together a detailed guide on section 61. From what it is, why it's important and how to adhere to it easily and simply using our automated Noise, Vibration and Dust monitors.
Section 61 is commonly referred to when discussing construction or demolition related noise and vibration pollution impact on the environment. Section 61 of the Control of Pollution Act 1974 is referred to when a construction or demolition firm applies to the local authority for consent to carry out works, which are likely to have a significant impact on the neighbourhood due to its generation of noise and vibration. A section 61 application outlines the works which are planned to take place, the working hours of the site and a plan to mitigate potential noise and vibration impact by best practical means.
WHY SHOULD A CONSTRUCTION OR DEMOLITION FIRM APPLY FOR A SECTION 61?
A section 61 application demonstrates to the local authority a pro-active approach to reducing environmental impact, outlining what methods are in place to minimise disruption to the neighbourhood, thus reducing the number of potentials complaints. By having section 61 consent, a local authority may not issue a section 60 notice. Having section 61 consent in place minimises the likelihood of the contractor’s work being stopped, as a mitigation plan is already in place.
INFORMING THE COMMUNITY IS KEY TO REDUCING LIKELY COMPLAINTS?
Informing the community of your works and outlining how you plan to reduce environmental impact is likely to deter complaints. By notification, local communities are much more accepting of disruption as due to the section 61 application, there is demonstrated initiative to minimise any negative impact in the local community. Building a rapport with the community and regularly updating them of planned events shows consideration to the community and the environment they live in, which should ultimately help reduce complaints and demonstrate to the local authority you are reducing your impact in the community and on the environment.
THE BENEFITS OF A SECTION 61 APPLICATION
Reduced environmental impact
Consideration plans in place to help protect the community and reduce the number of complaints
Can protect you from further legal action - Section 61 can be used in an appeal against a noise abatement notice
Evidences that the developer has considered the environment and has set out to reduce environmental impact by best means practical
Reduced risk for your site to be penalised
Cannot be served a section 60 noise abatement notice
HOW A SECTION 61 AVOIDS LEGAL ACTION BEING TAKEN AGAINST THE DEVELOPER?
Section 61 - Prior consent is an agreement between the developer and the council, which can outline a noise and vibration mitigation plan. With this agreement in place it protects the developer from legal action being taken under Section 60 of the Control of Pollution Act 1974 or Section 80 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
When must you apply for a section 61?
As a developer, you must apply for a section 61 within 28 days before the intended works are to take place. If you have carried out any works prior to this date, except for any minor preparation, then a prior consent will not be issued.
WHAT SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN A SECTION 61 APPLICATION?
A site location plan with (NVD) noise, vibration and dust monitoring locations detailing the site boundary, nearby roads and railways
Nearest sensitive receptors or residential properties should be highlighted
The main contractor’s contact details (name, address, etc)
Objective of the works to be carried out i.e. demolition of a car park
A method statement of the works that will be undertaken, outlining any phases of the works, machinery to be used and methods employed
The working hours of the site, including any exceptions
Evidence that noise, vibration and dust impact are considered, outlining how you will mitigate the impact on the environment, either by sound barrier or continuous monitors, for example
WHAT IS NVD?
NVD is a term created by Campbell Associates that abbreviates Noise, Vibration and Dust. This term is notably referred to in the construction and demolition industry where there is a requirement for continuous noise, vibration and dust monitoring.
WHY IS CONTINUOUS MONITORING BENEFICIAL FOR CONSTRUCTION AND DEMOLITION PROJECTS?
Continuous monitoring enables the contractor to mitigate problems in real time and evidence noise, vibration and dust levels continuously. Real time monitors offer the contractor a useful tool to help prove or disprove complaints in question. As false claims can be made maliciously against a developer or contractor, having factual real-time NVD monitoring data can provide valuable evidence in any case.
For example, using a Sonitus Noise Monitor with an audio recording feature will help identify the reasons for a noise breach. A simple playback of an audio recording can help distinguish if the noise event was site related or not. I.e. a passing motorbike. Audio recordings can be played back on the Sonitus Cloud™️ via a mobile, laptop or computer.
WHAT CAN I USE TO CONTINUOUSLY MONITOR NVD ON SITE? [USING A SIMPLE AND COST-EFFECTIVE SOLUTION!]
The Sonitus Cloud™️ allows for real time monitoring of noise, vibration and dust monitoring on site by uploading measured data to one platform. Such interfaces allow for seamless and cost-effective solutions for monitoring without the need to attend the site and download data. SMS and email warning alerts are instantly received for breaches so you can mitigate exceedances on site promptly.
With the Sonitus Systems EM2030 Noise Monitor we can measure noise continuously in real time. Instant alerts enable a fast reaction to noise events, which can help reduce or eliminate possible complaints from nearby residents. The Sonitus monitor is a plug and play device, housed in a weather protective enclosure or integrated into a Dust monitor to continuously measure the noise level. Such a device is configured remotely, for site engineers to put power to the device and the monitor will automatically start-up and log without any human command prompt.
Sonitus Cloud allows web integration of the remote AVA Trace M80 Vibration Monitors, which silently communicate around the site via a cellular 2G & 3G connection. BS5228 specifies using a monitor that measures Peak Particle Velocity in 3 directions. The AVA monitor uses a simple-to-mount tri-axial geophone that can be fixed in many settings, such as to walls, to the ground or underground running of just six D-Cell batteries, for up to 8 months. Such systems save project engineers time and money compared to monitors that require regular weekly charging, configuration and downloading on site. Measuring vibration is important because the human response to vibration is particularly low (1mm/s can be felt and is likely to cause complaints), therefore low-level vibration can be perceived by residents of causing damage to their property.
The Aeroqual Dust Profiler & Dust Sentry Monitors are used for measurement of fine particles. Such monitors will continuously monitor the dust levels on site and report the average readings to the Sonitus Cloud. Air Quality is a growing concern in the UK with an estimated 40,000 deaths per year because of poor air quality. The Sonitus Cloud will display real time warnings for dust exceedances and allows you to monitor and measure your work’s impact remotely.
CAN NOISE BE PREDICTED ON CONSTRUCTION AND DEMOLITION SITES?
Yes! Using Datakustik CadnaA noise modelling software it is possible to predict noise levels at sensitive buildings and receptors. CadnaA allows the integration of Google maps, open street maps and imported drawings to map noise sources, terrains, model machinery, barriers and buildings in a CadnaA project. It is possible to accurately map the surrounding road and rail networks to realistically predict the noise levels at any point of any day in any given position. Appropriate noise barriers can be drawn in the model with the ability to demonstrate a before and after result, calculated and presented in a 3D print or 3D video presentation as the image above. The noise models can be presented to the local authority to demonstrate full consideration of the project site and visualise how you will effectively reduce the noise impact in the community.
WHAT IS A SECTION 60 NOTICE? SHOULD I CONSIDER A SECTION 61 AGREEMENT PRIOR TO UNDERTAKING WORKS?
A section 60 notices outlines to the developer or contractor a specific order of operation. This notice may outline conditions imposed on the site, such as a change in working hours, noise limits, plant or machinery that may or may not be used, and other site working methods. Best Means Practical on site should be considered by the local authority when issuing the notice in relation to minimising noise. With this insight, some argue it is far better to apply for a section 61 consent prior to undertaking works rather than later be issued with a section 60 order.
WHAT GUIDANCE IS AVAILABLE FOR NOISE AND VIBRATION CONTROL FOR CONSTRUCTION AND DEMOLITION SITES?
Many local authorities now produce codes of practice for noise, vibration and dust control in their district. Within London Campbell Associates have complied a links to such data (see here: https://www.campbell-associates.co.uk/code-practice-nvd-within-london). These codes of practice documents commonly refer to guidance and the limits set out in BS5228: 2014 Code of practice for noise and vibration control on construction and open sites parts 1 (noise) and part 2 (vibration) and the IAQM Guidance on the assessment of dust from demolition and construction. There is guidance on preferred mounting positions, mitigation and limits.
BS5228:2014 Code of Practice for Noise and Vibration Control also outlines recommendations for noise mitigation measures that should be considered. Noise limits are not set in BS5228; however, these can be easily determined by carrying out a background noise assessment prior to any works undertaken on site; the noise limit is implemented based on measured results. Some local authorities will outline noise limits within section 61 consent or referral to a code of practice written by the local authority.
Vibration limits and guidance are clearly defined in BS5228:2014 Part 2 where limits for ‘human response to vibration’ and ‘cosmetic damage’ are defined in tables B1.1 and B1.2. The standard gives guidance and examples on actual measured vibration levels undertaken on working sites, with vibration results for various plant machinery at different distances. You will also find guidance on how to mitigate vibration to nearby sensitive receptors.
WHERE SHOULD NOISE MONITORING EQUIPMENT BE INSTALLED ON A CONSTRUCTION SITE?
Noise monitors are normally installed to the edge of the site boundary, nearest to sensitive receptors (the residential and commercial occupiers which are likely to be affected by the works). If practical, it is sometimes best to measure in various positions on site to cover more sensitive receptors if this is feasible. Limiting factors can be due to safety, security, power or the project scale.
There are various power solutions for remote monitors; many monitors can run on 240-volt mains power, 110-volt generated power, battery power and/or solar power. Noise monitoring equipment should be calibrated within the recommend manufacture interval or according to the set standard you are working to. The instrument should be mounted according to the manufacture guidance and field calibrated, prior to undertaking any measurements.
The microphone should be mounted in a free field (at least one metre away from any reflective facade or barrier) and mounted at a height of approximately 1.2 to 1.5 metres above ground level. The monitor should be mounted above the hoarding or a correction applied.
HOW SHOULD VIBRATION MONITORING EQUIPMENT BE INSTALLED ON A CONSTRUCTION SITE?
The AVA vibration monitor (sensor) can be fixed in soft ground, mounted to a heavy floor plate on a hard surface or bolted directly to a structural wall for up to 8 months without changing batteries. When considering structural and human response to vibration it is common practice to measure Peak Particle Velocity in all three directions; transverse, vertically and longitudinally.
Vibration monitors may be installed to the edge of the site boundary nearest to sensitive receptors, fixed on or near to sensitive equipment or structures that need protecting. It is common to see numerous vibration monitors around a construction site, particularly where there are very sensitive receptors or complex building layouts that should be protected. Vibration monitors are commonly left for long periods of time in unsafe locations through the demolition and ground works phase, so it is always useful to have a monitor with a long battery life with cloud based connectivity.
It is important to highlight vibration monitors should be calibrated every 2 years in a certified laboratory.
BS5228 2014 Code of practice for noise and vibration control on construction and open sites parts 1 (noise) and part 2 (vibration) and the IAQM Guidance on the assessment of dust from demolition and construction.
City of West Minister Code of Practice
Manchester City Council
Guidance on completing an application for prior consent
Chris Anderson @ Spectrum Acoustic Consultants