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James Mather
James Mather,
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 22629
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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I have a neighbour who is building an extension next door.

Customer Question

I have a neighbour who is building an extension next door. On Sunday they ( i think they are doing it themselves and not dedicated building contractors) started digging the foundations with an exceptionally noisy mini digger at 6.30am and stopped at 9.30am.

Then on Monday no noise but on Tuesday morning at 7.00 they started work again that was very noisy.

I am proposing to go round to discuss the matter but just wanted to know prior to this if there are set times for residential work like this if it is noisy and disruptive?

Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.
What are you hoping to achieve?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I have not spoken to these neighbours yet, so i think in the first instance i want to know if there are specific laws setting down hours when this type of work can be done, so that if the discussion with the neighbours does not go the way i would hope and they are not interested in changing their working times, i can quote the times stated by the law and then say that i will be considering legal advice if they do not want to change their times of works.


In simple terms i want to know my legal rights before getting into a discussion.



Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.

There is no set time for unreasonable hours however as a guide, you are not
allowed to sound a car horn between 7am to 1130pm.

It is reasonable therefore to use the same hours as an absolute max. Hhowever,
beeping a horn isnt a continuous noise.

There is big difference between knocking a nail in at 1030 pm and knocking
nails in for 3 hours between 830pm and 11pm.

If in doubt, speak to the Environmental Health dept at the council. As they
deal with this .

Can I help further?

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.



I am a little confused. You said that "There is no set time for unreasonable hours however as a guide, you are not allowed to sound a car horn between 7am to 1130pm" (I assume you mean outside of these hours, so 11.31pm to 6.59am?). What are you referring to when you say "not allowed" i deem this to be illegal so against a certain law, please confirm?


So assuming it is not allowed / illegal to sound a horn outside of 7am - 1130pm, which as you stated, sounding a horn is not continious, so would assume for example a digger at 6.55am is worse than sounding a horn. So this law cannot just apply to a car horn and must apply to a noise of a certain decibel level?


If you could please clarify on these points it would be appreciated.



Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.

Yes, it is actually illegal to sound your horn outside that time. I had in
the wrong way round.

I think it is worse than sounding a horn.

I think 7 AM to start a noisy concrete mixer or digging machine is too

For example here are danger limits

I cannot find the authority of this info it might be a reasoable guide.

Between 7AM and 7PM its 41dB, between 7PM
and 11PM its 37dB and from 11PM to 7AM its 31dB is the simple answer however it
is a little more complicated than that as the figures are usually taken from within
your home and need to be sustained at those levels for a period of time. Any
legal action to be taken it needs to be recorded by someone who is qualified to
do so. This means that you would need to contact the Environmental health
agency in your local council and ask them to attend.

To give you an idea of how loud those figures are 30 - 40 dB is no louder than
whispering but it needs to be continuous on an Environmental health officers
equipment (i.e 1 second bursts of a car horn would not suffice (but an
uninterrupted bass line in music would)

Customer: replied 4 years ago.



Thanks for your reply but i do not think it did answer my questions.


Firstly what is the law that states it is illegal to sound a car horn, where is the information that states this?


Secondly i agree that "7 AM to start a noisy concrete mixer or digging machine is too early." but that is yours and my opinion (hence asking the original question) but irrelevant when it comes to what i was originally asking for, which was to check if there was a legal point that could back me up when i discussed this with the neighbour.


I note you are on EST and the website you linked to is a US website. Obviously i am in the UK and looking for England-Wales-Law, is what you are suggesting covering the UK?



Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.

The information with regard to sounding horn is in the Road traffic act. I
mention it drawing an analogy because that act is not legally relevant here but
might be of assistance to gauge what is reasonable

There is no absolute time limits and that is why I told you to speak to the
environmental health department because they will deal with this for you free
of charge otherwise, you are faced with paying money for solicitors and court
application for an injunction which I am sure you would prefer not to do

The site is hosted in San Francisco but I am an English solicitor working
in Cheshire.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

OK, thanks


So to sum up, there is nothing legal that i can quote if they started their digger at 4am in the morning.


You are simply suggesting i contact the environmental health to deal with this matter?



Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.

That is Private Nuisance.


It depends if you want to spend your own money on legal proceedings or the councils.