What time can builders start work?

UK Home Improvement

What Time Can Builders Start Work?

As anyone who has had builders in their home, or conducted construction work on their property themselves, will know, building work can sometimes be noisy and disruptive. 

Unfortunately, due to the nature of building, there is often no way to get around this disturbance, and while it can be a bit of a nuisance to you and those in surrounding properties, there are certain laws and regulations in place that protect builders in regards to causing the noise.    

It’s well known that builders often start their work early in the day. While it’s true that this is done to ensure they’re able to get as much done as possible during the working day, it’s also because there are only a certain amount of hours in the day when building noise is legally permitted. 

While builders starting early is great for those having the renovation done, it can be frustrating and irritating for neighbours – especially those working night shifts and who may need to get some shut-eye during the day. 

So, what time can builders start work? Well, in this article we’ll take a look at that exact question. – Read on to find out more. 

What time can builders start work?

If your neighbour is having work done early in the morning, it can be loud and disruptive. Being woken unexpectedly is never fun, so you might be wondering about the legalities of the question ‘what time can builders start work?’

Well, all building work must comply with regulations set out by the 1974 Pollution Control Act. In addition to air pollution, this act also provides guidance on noise pollution.  

The legislation outlines that ‘noisy work’ can only take place between the hours of 8am-6pm Monday-Friday and 8am-1pm on Saturdays. These times are the same whether work is taking place on a construction site, in public places or professional construction on domestic properties. Therefore, no matter how annoying you may find it, any loud or disruptive noise that takes place as a result of building work during these hours is permitted. 

However, there are no formal rules or legislation regarding the exact time builders can start work. Tasks that do not result in loud noise can be conducted outside the hours listed above, meaning builders are legally allowed to start work prior to 8am as long as they’re not doing things that break the rules regarding noise. These tasks can involve cleaning the site, doing admin, and preparing areas of the site for the day ahead. 

Usually, the type of work that is going to cause the noise could involve the installation of scaffolding, erecting structures, demolishing walls and much more. 

It’s also worth mentioning that these rules only apply to professional builders or construction work. DIY is a whole different ball game and there are no formal rules on this.

What time can builders start work on Sunday?

As outlined above, builders can start work at any time they like during the week and on Saturdays, as long as they do not break the rules regarding noise pollution as outlined in the 1974 Pollution Control Act.  

But what about Sunday? 

Traditionally known as a day of rest, there are specific rules regarding opening hours for shops on a Sunday, and there are also legal provisions for builders.

It’s illegal for any noisy work to be carried out on a Sunday or Bank Holidays. This means that no power tools can be handled, no walls can be erected or demolished, and no scaffolding can be installed. In short, the majority of building tasks can not be legally undertaken meaning most professional builders will not work at all on a Sunday.

Again, DIY is different and there is no formal legislation in place regarding what DIY can and cannot be done on a Sunday. Therefore, all DIY tasks can legally take place on a Sunday (and every day) but it’s important that the individual is respectful and conscientious of their neighbours when carrying out the work. 

What time can you use power tools?

One of the loudest things builders use is power tools. An important part of every construction project, power tools include: 

  • Electric saws 
  • Drills 
  • Angle grinders 
  • Nailers
  • Sanders 
  • And much more 

The same rules that legislate the hours of noise permitted for builders apply to the use of power tools. This is because they’re considered noisy and can cause disruption to those nearby. Therefore, builders should not be using power tools outside the hours of  8am-6pm Monday-Friday and 8am-1pm on Saturdays. Builders are not legally permitted to use power tools on Sundays. 

However, this only applies to professional builders and DIYers can legally use power tools whenever they want. 

What time are you allowed to make noise?

As outlined above, the formal hours in which professional building noise can take place on your property are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday, 8am-1pm on Saturdays and never on Sundays.

However, are there time restrictions on when you’re allowed to make other types of noise?

The government have laws in place that outline the acceptable level of noise permitted from a property, but these do not come into place until 11pm at night. In theory, before 11pm you can make as much noise as you like (within reason).  

11pm-7am are legally considered ‘night hours’ by the Noise Act 1996, and noise should not exceed 34dBA (decibels adjusted) with background noise no louder than 24dBA. If you exceed these limits and are reported, local councils could take action against you which includes hefty fines.

In some circumstances, loud noise outside of night hours could also see you in legal trouble. Noise complaints made against you, such as persistent loud music, parties or barking dogs, could be considered a statutory nuisance. 

For noise to be considered a statutory nuisance it needs to either:

  • Unreasonably or substantially interfere with someone’s use or enjoyment of their home or property 
  • Injure health or could likely injure health (including mental health)

With this in mind, whether you’re doing DIY or simply involved in loud activities, it’s always important to consider your surroundings and be respectful of your neighbours. 


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