In the city of Fukuoka, sitting on the northern shore of Japan’s Kyushu island, an eComo04 Compact Monitoring System was used to monitor noise, vibration and dust levels, in a project of demolition and soil remediation in close proximity of homes and residential areas.
Japanese regulations are extremely demanding when it comes to air and noise pollution in residential areas, making the development of some projects a really challenging task. Among other things, the contractor needs to:
- Demonstrate best practicable means and contact the City Council well in advance of works commencing, to discuss the proposed works and the scope of liaison and a scheme of protective works to be submitted for protecting neighbors (nearby residents and commercial occupiers).
- Identify neighbors and interested parties and consult with them the scheme of protective works.
- Maintain dialogue and information exchange with the City Council pollution control team, neighbors and interested parties throughout the proposed works.
- Respond quickly to complaints and resolve where practicable.
- Ensure neighbors and interested parties are kept informed of works as they progress and are consulted where necessary.
- Predict the noise, dust and vibration levels at sensitive buildings and provide evidence based advice on how to implement best practicable means.
- Monitor the real levels of noise, dust and vibration to ensure predicted levels are complied with.
Using an eComo04 Compact monitoring unit, together with a noise sensor Class 2, a vibration sensor and a dust sensor (PM10 and PM2,5) the contractor kept full control of the polluting levels during the whole project, and was able to demonstrate that those measured values were below the required ones.
Globally, rules and ordinances vary by country, state and municipality, which can make it tricky for contractors to stay on top of the current guidelines. But most cities evaluate disturbances based on criteria like local zoning laws, dBA noise level ratings, the proximity to sleeping areas, the time of day and the frequency and duration of the noise. Some cities’ guidelines are more stringent than others. Before bidding on their projects, contractors should consider the following:
- Is the jobsite located in an industrial, residential or mixed zoning area?
- Are the local sound regulations stated in the bid documents? If not, contact the local government or their official website for ordinance guidelines.
- Do you have access or a plan to utilize sound mitigation material and/or shielding to reduce noise on the project?
- Can the company’s equipment meet the required sound decibel ratings? If not, does the crew have access to an alternative equipment or installation method?
- Does the company need to apply for noise bylaw exception/exemption permits? How far in advance? How will that affect the overall project costs?
- How do the local ordinances affect the project timeline? Will the company incur fines if it is unable to meet the deadline? Should the crew build extra time into the project plan to compensate for shorter work hours?
- How am I going to monitor the pollution levels the project will generate? How can I demonstrate I’m complying with the regulations?
At the end of the day, what is not measured cannot be controlled.
The environmental impacts of construction work must be considered as early as possible in a project. Where potential adverse impacts are identified, measures to offset or reduce them should be incorporated into the project proposals at the earliest stage and taken into account in the final cost. Adding noise barriers, noise enclosures, vibration isolation mountings, laggings, mufflers, and silencers in order to reduce noise at the source controls can include scheduling considerations, such as notifying people in advance when noisy work is to be carried out or sign-posting noisy area, so they can limit their exposure to it. Machine maintenance also plays a role in reducing noise pollution, as machines in a better condition will usually operate more quietly. Noise mufflers, vibration isolators, or duct silencers can also be added.
But monitoring the real pollution values during the project is as important as deploying measures to offset it. What is not measured can’t be controlled. NIHON KASETSU eComo Monitoring System plays a key role when assuring a simple and reliable way to keep under control pollution in a construction site.