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Site considerations in construction projects

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September 4, 2019

From domestic builds through to big infrastructure jobs, the impacts of work conducted onsite call for planning and management.While building professionals are well aware of site hazards, usually the general public and people living in the neighbouring area are not. However, they are always conscious of noise, and other issues such as run-off ‒ which can also be invisible ‒ have to be contained.

Unauthorised visitors

thumbnail site considerations2People wandering onto building sites can risk injuries from tripping, electric shock from live cables, coming into contact with hazardous substances or falling into excavations*. Signage may not be enough to keep them out, especially in the case of adventurous kids. Consider fencing the works site off if:

  • it’s in a built-up area
  • it’s near a school
  • it’s close to a recreational area or park.

Site access

In addition to keeping unauthorised visitors out, builders also need to provide ideally a single point of access to allow deliveries by truck.

The design of the access ramp should take into account:

  • pedestrian safety
  • run-off and sediment dispersal
  • soil type and stability.

Managing run-off

Soil type and weather play into the kinds of provisions that need to be made to control sediment and waste water run-offRun-off must be diverted in a way that does not:

  • cause inconvenience to neighbouring properties
  • result in stormwater being unlawfully discharged
  • cause erosion or water contamination.

Stockpiles of materials should be up-slope of a main sediment barrier and kept under cover of protection from rainfall. In small-footprint sites storage in mini-skips or containers may be necessary.

Once the roof is up, drainage should be discharged away from the work area and disturbed soil surfaces to a stable, legal discharge point.

Noise restriction

The types of noise generated on a building site can include demolition, site preparation, vehicle deliveries and standard construction activities. Under the Environment Protection (Noise) Policy 2007 it is the key contractor’s duty to take reasonable and practicable measures to minimise noise and its impact.

Activities such as

  • use of power tools
  • machinery
  • hammering
  • sawing

are permitted only from Monday to Saturday between 7am and 7pm in residential areas. Exemptions can be granted by the EPA under exceptional circumstances for installation of cranes or scaffolding near busy roads, or very large concrete pours.

Some guidelines for noise restriction include:

  • starting work with noisy equipment such as masonry saws or jackhammers after 9am
  • completing shuttering for concrete pours before 7pm on the previous day
  • locating noisy equipment like cement mixers the maximum distance from neighbouring residences and using fencing structures to create sound barriers
  • throttling down backhoes, loaders, bobcats, generators and cranes when not in use
  • ensuring noise reduction mufflers are fitted
  • taking care when dropping or unloading heavy items from a height.

*In case of emergencies, builders must display signage that can be seen from outside the site, stating the names and phone numbers of the contact with responsibility for the build.

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