So far this year, Dublin City Council has told operators of more than 50 construction sites that they can work outside the normal hours that are set as part of the planning process.
Across the city in recent times, residents have complained of construction noise in the early morning, or late at night – whether in the Docklands where office blocks are rising up, or on South Circular Road near the site of the new children’s hospital, or among the new hotels and blocks of student accommodation of the Liberties.
So far this year, the council has told 21 separate developments on the northside that they can work outside normal hours, council figures show. (In total, 77 permissions have been issued to those sites.)
In that same time period, the council has also given 34 developments on the southside permission to work outside of the normally permitted working hours. (In total, 200 permissions were issued to those sites.)
“All requests are assessed on a case by case basis,” said a spokesperson for Dublin City Council.
In general, builders can work on sites from 7am to 6pm Monday to Friday, and from 8am to 2pm on Saturdays. They can’t do any noisy work on Sundays and public holidays, under council rules.
Sometimes, though, those hours are tweaked when developers get planning permission for sites. The hours that they can work on site are listed on planning permissions.
Developers can also later ask for waivers so that builders can work outside of those hours, if they need to.
Often the issue is to do with a concrete pour, when builders need to do all the work over 24 hours, says Andrew Montague, a Labour councillor and head of the council’s planning committee.
Fianna Fáil Councillor David Costello says he has asked in the past when these waivers are granted, and what the policies are around that.
So that “the residents should know that, and to know what type of exemption is given, and how they are managed,” he says. But he is still not sure.
At the moment, it is hard for residents living near a construction site to find out what the hours or work are supposed to be.
Says Montague of Labour: “It should certainly be transparent. That would be helpful if people could find out the terms and conditions.”
That way, if they know to expect drilling and hammering in the early hours, or non-stop for a period, they can go stay somewhere else for 24 hours or make other plans, he said.
Says Costello: “I don’t think residents generally mind if somebody lets them know, it’s the communication and getting developers to communicate”.
Recently, work on the Lidl on Annamoe Road seemed to go quite smoothly, because there was good communication with residents, he said.