There’s nothing more infuriating than trying to sleep in in the morning and finding it near impossible because of yelling, drilling, sawing, or any other loud noises waking you up.
Or perhaps you are a construction worker who has faced the wrath of an angry resident who claimed you were working too early and disturbed their sleep.
Whether you’re a worker or a resident, it’s important to know the law when it comes to construction start time so you can avoid getting into any tricky situations.
In this article we’re going to look at the different rules regarding construction times, noise complaints, penalties, and why construction tends to start so early. So, without further ado, let’s get started.
How Early Can Construction Start In The Morning?
The time in which construction is allowed to start will vary depending on the state. However, most states typically allow for construction to begin at 7 a.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. on Saturdays.
On Sundays and holidays (like Thanksgiving and Christmas) construction work is usually not permitted.
Although there is a general consensus between states about what time construction work can begin, there is a mismatch of information when it comes to finishing times.
In most cases construction work must end by 8 p.m., but, in New York, any construction work which is conducted between 6 p.m. and 7 a.m. needs after-hours authorization.
With this in mind, however, most construction sites pack up work for the day around 3:30 – 4 p.m.
The time at which construction work is permitted to start has long been a debate between both business / company owners and homeowners / citizens.
This calls to question what the rights of a business are versus the rights of citizens. However, there are some genuine and valid reasons as to why construction begins so early in the morning.
Why Does Construction Work Start Early?
As a construction worker, a typical workday starts at around 7 a.m. and finishes around 3:30 / 4 in the afternoon. But why does their day start so early in the morning?
Well, we’ve found some of the most common reasons as to why construction work usually begins at 7 a.m. Check them out below:
A lot of construction companies are looking to keep costs down low and profits high. The earlier their workers begin in the morning, the less likely that their work runs late into the evening.
This is important as working later, or working into the night, means that they have to pay their workers overtime, or an increased hourly rate.
Avoidance of the Heat
One of the more important reasons as to why construction work starts early is to avoid the heat.
Most construction sites do not have a lot of cover, shade, or protection from the sun, which greatly increases the risk of heatstroke.
Over the last decade, there have been an estimated 400 laborer deaths in the United States as a result of suffering from heatstroke on the job.
Starting earlier in the day means that any jobs or tasks which are done in direct sunlight are usually finished before peak temperature occurs (usually around midday).
Construction work typically coincides with school day hours, which is beneficial for workers with children.
In the United States, most schools finish for the day around 2 – 3 p.m.
An early start to the day for construction workers allows those that are parents to be able to complete a full day’s work and make it home around the same time that their children do from school.
When To Take Legal Action Against Construction Workers
If a construction team or company is working outside of the legal time frame, then you are able to take action against them.
However, as it is usually not an emergency, call a non-emergency line or your local police station to report the noise.
The construction company may have applied for after-hours authorization, in which case they are not breaking any laws by carrying out their work.
When contacting the police, they will be able to tell you if the work is legal or not.
Filing A Noise Complaint
In most states and cities, it is Illegal for loud power tools to be used on Sundays.
So, if you’re trying to enjoy a lazy Sunday morning and all you can hear is a leaf blower, or a loud drilling, you may be able to file a noise complaint.
However, if it’s a Saturday it may be totally legal. As mentioned earlier, construction work is normally permitted on a Saturday, however, the hours in which they are allowed to operate usually differ.
Make sure you check your local laws before contacting the police.
What To Do If You’re Unable To File A Noise Complaint
Most of the time the construction work that we hear is perfectly legal, no matter how disruptive it is.
If that is the case you may be able to talk to the project or site manager.
They will be able to give you information, such as how long the project will last, what days / hours they will be operating, and you may even be able to minimize noise at crucial times.
However, don’t expect any guarantees, at the end of the day they are just doing their job.
Another solution is to purchase noise-canceling headphones or ear plugs. They won’t make the construction work end, but they can help reduce the noise.
Who knows, you might be able to get that Saturday morning lie in after all!
What Happens If A Construction Company Violates Noise Laws?
If a construction company is found to be operating outside of the legal time frame, or they are violating any local or state noise laws, they will most likely be fined. The price of the fine will depend on what the offense is, but is often pretty expensive.
Project or site managers will also have to look at local noise ordinances for where they are
working as some places have specific rules and require permits for certain tools.
For example, in some cities, to use a jackhammer you need a permit which will allow you to use it for a certain time frame. In other places, using a leaf blower is banned completely.
Violating any local laws can result in heavy fines.
Understanding local and state noise laws is important when it comes to navigating debates and arguments about noise in your community or neighborhood.
Unfortunately most early morning construction work is perfectly legal, and is something that you’ll have to deal with whilst construction lasts.
However, if a construction company violates noise laws in any way, and you are unable to reach a solution on your own, then you should be able to file a noise complaint with your local police department. Remember to contact their non-emergency line.
Whatever your reason for asking, we hope this article has helped you better understand the laws surrounding construction work and noise violations.