Roads & Paving
Navigating noise in Canadian aggregate and road construction
Why reducing sound and vibration noises on your jobsite may build positive community relations.
December 19, 2023 By Dan Clayton
Aggregate and road construction industries play a vital role in Canada’s growth, but their environmental impact, particularly sound and vibration, raises concern among the public. The absence of sound and vibration regulations in Canada leaves operators with limited guidance. Still, they can take proactive steps to minimize exposure to the public and make projects run more efficiently.
The absence of federal regulations leads to variations in sound and vibration management practices across provinces, making it challenging for operators and the public to navigate. To address this, regulators must establish standardized, detailed guidelines that consider the industries’ unique challenges.
Many provincial regulations detail time constraints rather than sound and vibration limits, which can lead to disturbances. With increasing population densities and people living in proximity to these projects, public quality of life needs to be balanced with development.
Here are some methods that can help control sound and vibration from aggregate and road construction projects:
- Site planning: Choose locations away from residential areas, schools, and sensitive receptors to minimize disruptions.
- Equipment and Technology: Invest in quieter equipment and methods, utilizing vibration-dampening materials and sound-reducing features.
- Operating hours: Minimize work hours to reasonable times and avoid nighttime operations in residential areas, if possible.
- Community engagement: Regularly engage with the local community to address sound and vibration concerns, provide updates, collaborate on solutions, and provide them with your management plans.
- Complaint procedure: Establish a clear complaint procedure for the public to report sound and vibration concerns and response timelines.
- Drop heights: Use minimal drop heights to reduce impulsive sound. Implement measures like cushioning materials to minimize impact sound.
- Reverse alarms: Equip all machinery with low sound level and broadband reverse alarms (or use strobe lights, where allowed by occupational health safety regulations) to reduce/eliminate that sound and give it a more pleasing characteristic.
- Staff training: Train staff in low sound-generating techniques and emphasize the importance of minimizing sound emissions during operations.
- Regular maintenance: Ensure equipment is regularly maintained to prevent sound level increases due to wear and tear.
- Sound and vibration Monitoring: Conduct regular sound and vibration monitoring to assess compliance with guidelines and address issues promptly.
- Traffic direction: Vary the direction in which traffic arrives and leaves the site to distribute sound and vibration more evenly between the receptors to the access route.
Collaboration between regulators and industry stakeholders is crucial to develop and implement standardized guidelines for sound and vibration management, ensuring a better quality of life for all Canadians.
Having an experienced acoustics and vibration consultant involved at the feasibility stage of projects is essential for the construction and aggregate industries. These experts are crucial in accurately assessing sound and vibration levels and helping operators understand their environmental impact. With their specialized knowledge, consultants can provide valuable insights and proactive control recommendations, enabling companies to minimize disturbances, comply with regulations, and build positive relationships with the community.
Dan Clayton, Technical Discipline Manager for Acoustics & Vibration at SLR Consulting, offers over 15 years of global hands-on experience, particularly within the mining, aggregate, transportation infrastructure construction, energy, and building design sectors. His passion for making things work in the realm of acoustics, noise, and vibration is key to helping both residents, developers, and operators.
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