If you have had a neighbour’s home undergo renovation or worked in an office beside a construction site, you’ll know how it is: Construction work is a noisy business. From drilling to welding, many processes performed during construction work produce noises – some of which can reach dangerous levels for the human ear.
But if you work in the construction industry, you know what a challenge it is to maintain noise levels at construction sites. After all, how quietly can you possibly operate a hammer drill?
While it is near impossible (with today’s technology, at least) to eliminate construction noise, there is a pressing need to reduce noise levels and their impacts on workers as well as passers-by or residents in the surrounding areas.
Impacts of noise pollution
The average volume of a conversation is about 50 to 60 dB. Sounds above 85 dB can be potentially damaging to the ears, especially if subjected to prolonged periods. Sounds above 140 dB are physically painful to hear.
For reference, a jackhammer produces sounds at about 100 dB, which is above the dangerous levels for humans. And what do we mean by dangerous? Besides the commonly-known effects of hearing loss, loud sounds can also cause ear pain, discomfort, increased anxiety, irritability, and frustration. Some people may even experience poor sleep quality or cardiovascular health issues as a result of exposure to noise pollution.
Additionally, these sounds do not only affect people; it affects the buildings, too. Sound is essentially made of vibrations, and when produced at a loud volume, the vibrations can be strong enough to compromise the structural integrity of buildings.
For businesses, a lot is at stake here. Noise pollution alone can cause low worker morale, reduced efficiency, low-quality infrastructure, and wider impacts on the people in the surroundings. That is why controlling noise levels should be taken seriously in any construction project.
Ways to control noise and vibrations
- Replace old equipment
Old and worn-out equipment typically generates more noise. These are caused by increased friction between parts, creating more vibrations, rattling, and noise. Newly-bought equipment will generally run smoother and produce less noise. New models are also designed to be quieter, as many come with quieter cooling fans and parts.
Although replacing old equipment with new ones is sure to be a costly affair, it may well be more worth it compared to dealing with workers’ medical fees and the manpower crunch caused by noise pollution.
- Modify equipment to reduce noise and structural damage
If replacing all old equipment is not feasible at this moment, what construction companies can do is maintain and modify their existing ones. Regular lubrication can keep parts running smoothly and prolong their lifespan, while modifications like dampers, fans, and mufflers can help reduce noise.
Rubber vibration mounts, or anti-vibration mounts, can also be used to absorb shock and vibrations, reducing the impacts of vibrations on the equipment or building infrastructure. Additionally, adaptive parts like rubber or fabric expansion joints can make infrastructure more resilient toward expansion and pipe motion caused by sound and other micro-movements.
- Use noise protection
A certain level of noise is to be expected at any construction site, even with noise-reduction efforts in place. An added layer of protection comes in the form of hearing protection devices for workers, as well as noise barriers to minimise the noise from impacting the surrounding areas. For noises that cannot be eliminated, these safeguards can protect the most vulnerable people close to the noise source.
Something thought to be as innocuous as noise can be harmful when not appropriately controlled. It is a challenge construction companies have faced for a long time, but it can be managed reasonably with some planning and effort.
Apart from noise, construction comes with numerous other challenges, like the safe transport of materials. Looking for solutions like dry disconnect couplings or stainless steel pipe fittings in Singapore for Hazchem handling for your business? Our team at Pharmchem Engineering can advise and design industry-standard solutions to meet your company’s needs. Speak to us to get started today!