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Boundary monitoring is an important factor in construction site control to minimize potential complaints, protect the public from health hazards and adhere to the appropriate public health requirements. Construction dust can compromise air quality; environmental noise pollution can be harmful to workers and local residents, and vibration can cause damage and a general nuisance to nearby property.

Monitoring for noise, dust, vibration and harmful emissions makes it possible to manage the impact of a construction site. Site management has a duty of care to protect not only against potentially dangerous working conditions but also against environmental impact. However, managing these conditions can be challenging without reliable data streams and instrumentation that gathers environmental information. Consequently, more companies are turning to boundary monitoring technology to measure the risks and ensure they adhere to environmental limits and guidelines.

Boundary monitoring refers to the measurement of noise, dust and vibration, and the short-term detection of harmful compounds that can be emitted from contaminated soil around a worksite, ensuring that construction companies are complying with all applicable limits. Boundary monitoring systems are typically used for construction and demolition projects, environmental remediation sites, mining and quarrying, waste transfer, heavy road traffic and other places where compliance-related monitoring is required.

Having flexible access to consistent, accurate monitoring data is vital to ensuring project safety for the employer, employees and site neighbors. Construction project budgeting is always tight, especially in the current climate, and the cost of data should not be a barrier to ensuring sites operate safely and compliantly, or to prevent work being stopped on site because limits are exceeded.

Control, Compliance, Reputation

Perimeter air monitoring and noise measurement are important components of a construction worksite, helping companies to remain compliant with control measures required for them to carry out the project. Ultimately, boundary monitoring could help protect the reputation and revenues of construction companies and other industrial firms. There are stringent legal and environmental controls surrounding levels of noise, dust and vibration that construction projects cannot exceed. For example, in the United States, the Noise Control Act of 1972 establishes a national policy to promote an environment for all Americans free from noise that jeopardizes their health and welfare. While primary responsibility for noise control rests with state and local governments, the act ensures federal action deals with major noise sources in commerce, control of which require national uniformity of treatment.

In New York, a city under constant renovation and construction, the Noise Code mandates all construction must be conducted in accordance with noise mitigation plans that address the specific location, type of work and timing of a project. Sites must be able to provide evidence of compliance and maintain their reputations, and local communities must be considered. For example, when construction activity is planned near locations such as schools, hospitals and houses of worship, the party responsible for construction is expected to design its noise mitigation plan to be sensitive to its neighbors. If noise complaints are received, an inspector will ensure the contractor has posted the plan and that it is being followed. To achieve compliance, site monitoring must be recorded and reported on, and action taken if limits are exceeded.

If complaints arise, responsible companies using boundary monitoring have proof points to show they have been diligent with their monitoring of operations and are abiding by operational requirements. Data evidence from a boundary monitoring system is also helpful if a worksite is blamed for issues caused by another operation, allowing site managers to respond rapidly, minimizing reputational damage.

Preventing Issues with Surrounding Residents

Email and text alerts can be set up to alert when noise, dust or vibration levels are above prescribed levels, allowing preventive action to be taken before complaints arise. This allows construction sites to help maintain good relationships with their neighbors and prevents subsequent complaints to authorities. Limits can also be used to trigger preventative measures such as dust suppression.

Daily, weekly, or monthly reports can be sent directly to an email inbox in graphical or tablature format and can even be supplied directly to the local authority or environmental organizations—getting ahead of potential site visits from inspectors. If possible, baseline conditions should be established by testing before the start of operations and continued throughout the operation to observe site emissions and ensure compliance with planning conditions. Having access to real-time, near-reference data can help save site managers time, ensure environmental incidents are prevented and keep more people safe.


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