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The Good Neighbour Guide to Home Construction

Friday September 21st, 2018

You have a new home renovation coming up. Aside from being a little stressed about how much it’s going to cost you, you’re excited for the big changes that are coming! However, this work can be frustrating to those around you. For instance, your neighbours could be impacted by the work you’re planning. There is the added noise and dirt impacting their day-to-day functions, not to mention the potential hazards of living next to a live construction site. If your neighbour makes a complaint to the city about the work you are doing, it could delay the project, or (even worse) shut it down. It can also cause tension between you and the people you bump into almost every day.

Therefore, it is important to consider their thoughts and concerns, and take every step possible to be a good neighbour during construction. Maintaining positive relationships with your neighbours will ensure mutual respect, allowing your project to progress smoothly. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to ensure your renovation project has minimal impact on the lives of your neighbours.

1) Communicate with your Neighbours

The first – and most important – thing you should do before starting your renovation is talk to your neighbours. This may seem obvious, but it is important that you keep them in the loop so they aren’t taken by surprise. If you are renovating this property to make it your potential “forever home”, you want to make sure you keep a good relationship with your potential “forever neighbours”. First, talk to your neighbours about your plans. What are you renovating? Why are you renovating? How long will the work last? How might it potentially impact them? Be open to any questions they may have. You should also provide ways for them to contact you if there are ever any issues related to the construction. This way you can be sure to address complaints quickly and rectify any situations before they becomes a problem.

2) Install Temporary Fence

Fence off your property at the property line. This will ensure your neighbour’s property remains undisturbed during the construction. Temporary fence panels are best for construction, as they can easily be moved, set up, and taken down. It is vital to contain construction debris so that it is not carried to your neighbour’s yard by wind or rain. Not only is that an eyesore, it can also be a serious safety hazard. Furthermore, installing temporary fence around the renovation site will prevent unauthorized access. This is especially important if your neighbours have children or pets that could wander over into your live construction zone. Do your due diligence and set up a temporary barrier to keep them away from potentially dangerous situations.

3) Limit Dust and Debris

Safety should be paramount during any construction project, especially when the public is very close by. While rental fence can contain construction materials and rubble, you should consider taking measures to further limit dust and debris. Controlling the dust that is created by your project will help your neighbours feel less like they’re living right next door to a construction site. Products such as privacy screening and debris netting can help contain dirt and debris and maintain the privacy of the property.

4) Reduce Noise Pollution

Construction noise can be irksome, especially when it is right next to your home. If you’re not careful, your neighbours might complain about the amount of noise your renovations are creating. It is important that you stay within the municipal bylaws for construction noise. This includes stopping work at the required time and only starting the work at the time it is permitted. Even during permitted hours, you should  take as many steps possible to reduce construction-related noise.

As highlighted in one of our previous blog posts, noise pollution can have negative effects on your mental and physical health. Luckily, there are products on the market that can reduce the amount of noise coming from a site. As an example, Echo Barrier are temporary acoustical panels that reduce noise and provide sound attenuation for construction projects. They can be hung on the temporary fence panels and are easily removed. Another temporary option for noise reduction is sound blankets.

5) Clean Up

Make sure you have a designated dumpster or waste bin for construction garbage. This will reduce the amount of waste that makes its way on to your neighbour’s lawn or into the street. Depending on the city bylaws, your regular waste management service probably does not handle construction debris. Instead, you will have to make arrangements for the pick-up and disposal of the garbage. As well, try to manage the amount of dirt and debris that is tracked off your site throughout the whole process. Frequent sweeping and ensuring all debris is disposed of properly will help keep your neighbours happy.

6) Protect the Trees

Being a good neighbour doesn’t just mean protecting the people around you – it also means protecting the whole neighbourhood. Protecting the trees and boulevards can help protect the appeal of the whole neighbourhood. Don’t forget that trees have a positive effect on our health and general well-being, as well.

Many cities have bylaws regarding the protection of trees during any type of construction. Look up your local bylaws to determine the specific requirements, and make sure you adhere to them. Steep fines can be imposed if you fail to protect the trees on or near your property. If your renovation is taking place close to a neighbour’s trees, make sure to include them in your tree protection plan. Discuss this potential issue with your neighbour during your initial contact to reassure them that their trees will not be damaged.

For a step-by-step guide to tree protection, check out our how-to post.

In Summary

Whether you’re making necessary improvements to your home to optimize the functionality or simply for aesthetic purposes, it is important to consider how the work may impact those around you. Put yourself in their shoes: it’s likely that you would want to be involved, and reassured that your property and opinions are being respected. Following these steps will help you maintain positive relationships with your neighbours…and hopefully if they ever decide to renovate, they will be more likely to provide you with the same respect you showed them!

We’re here to answer any questions you may have.

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