Information for contractors on noise and pollutants

This page is for contractors, developers, architects, utilities and others who are undertaking works in Westminster.

The council provides a 24 hour response to all complaints of noise, dust and smoke from building sites within 45 minutes of receipt of the complaint.

To monitor, control and manage construction impacts on sites throughout Westminster, a new Code of Construction Practice (CoCP) has now been adopted.

View the Code of Construction Practice (PDF, 9.8MB).

Basement developments, level 1 and level 2 projects

There is a mandatory requirement for all basement developments, level 1 and level 2 projects to follow the CoCP.

View information on the CoCP requirements and processes.

Other projects

Projects which fall outside of the definition of basement developments, level 1 and level 2 projects are still expected to comply with the spirit of the CoCP and the following information and links are relevant to these projects.  Contractors can apply for prior approval for these works by completing a section 61 application.

Section 61 prior approval application form (docx, 29KB)

Guidance notes

Site information document

Dispensation / variation form (docx, 31KB)

Permitted hours of working

Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm
Saturday 8am to 1pm *
Sunday and bank holidays No working

*In residential areas noisy works associated with a development (e.g. demolition, piling and earthworks) will be limited to weekdays from 0800 to 1800 hours, unless otherwise agreed.

Contractors that undertake noisy work outside of these hours may be prosecuted and fined. These times apply to any work which is audible at the site boundary.

In exceptional circumstances (eg in the case of police traffic restrictions or in an emergency) work outside these hours may be unavoidable. In such cases the person responsible should contact the noise team to let them know as far in advance as possible. You are also advised to notify surrounding residents and businesses.

Businesses are sometimes disrupted by noisy, drawn-out building work, such as demolition. It is normal for office managers to approach building site managers and negotiate some respite from the noise during the working day. In extreme cases where negotiations have failed, the council may impose restrictions on the times that the noisiest works, such as pneumatic drilling, can take place. It is important to balance the needs of business against the needs of the building site, and each case will be looked at on its own merits.

Air pollution control on site

To minimise air pollution and nuisance to those nearby:

  • use of working methods which minimise dust production
  • use of water spray to dampen down dusty works
  • cover dusty materials, for example when stockpiled or in a skip
  • regularly sweep up dust and debris
  • use screening of a sufficient height and mass to prevent the spread of dust
  • ensure there are no idling vehicles, eg delivery vans

Burning of building work materials is not permitted. You must ensure there are proper arrangements in place for the disposal of all waste.  Materials infected by dry rot or woodworm should be removed from the site in sealed containers and taken to a licensed disposal point. More about waste disposal.

If dust or smoke from a site could, or is, causing nuisance to nearby occupiers the council can impose restrictions. This could result in the service of legal notices, which could lead to prosecution and fines if the requirements are not followed and the problems persist.

Guidance on the control of dust and emissions from demolition and construction sites.

General good practice

In the interests of good public relations, you are advised to communicate with local residents regarding works. You should also provide the name of person on site who will be able to deal with queries.

If you have any queries about these matters, need advice about a specific site or wish to apply for formal approval for works on construction sites please contact the Noise Team.

Last updated: 18 November 2019