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January 6, 2014

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Why can construction crews work at night?

Franziska Jung, a teacher at Shanghai German School Pudong Campus, asks Shanghai Daily why construction teams can get a government license to work at night, disturbing nearby residents trying to sleep.

A: In Shanghai, building work is allowed during the night if the construction company obtains a license from the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau or under emergency situations, such as urgent repairs.

If a construction company holds a license for night work, nearby residents can only complain to urban management teams if they believe the noise is intolerable.

Urban management officials will then talk to the construction company about taking measures to reduce noise.

Jung, 61, told Shanghai Daily she couldn’t sleep because of licensed night construction near her home at Jinkang Road and Dongxiu Road in the Pudong New Area.

“It leaves me feeling ill. I hear the sounds of drills all night and I can’t get any sleep at all,” Jung said.

“Night construction should be banned around residential areas because it’s not good for the health of residents — especially children,” Jung added.

One of her neighbors is considering leaving and leasing out their apartment, and Jung said she will move out if the situation continues.

Huang Wenchang, on-site safety engineer with Shanghai Construction No. 1 (Group) Co Ltd on the site, told Shanghai Daily that teams are drilling cast-in-situ bored piles.

This work is covered in the terms of a night construction license.

“We will try to reduce the noise,” said Huang. ”We will not work during the Spring Festival and night work will be finished by the end of March.”

Avoid high decibels

Under Shanghai Environmental Protection regulations, construction teams must take measures to reduce noise, avoiding high-decibel activities such as pounding and sawing at night.

They cannot work more than three nights under one license. Fewer than 15 nights should be worked in a month.

And under the regulations, there should be a 24-hour interval before work under a new license can begin.

Vehicles entering and leaving should also not sound their horns.

Anyone suspecting night construction work is taking place illegally without a license can call the city’s unified Hotline 12345. This has an English-speaking channel and promises a reply within 15 days.

They can also check, the official website of the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau, which provides announcements on sites. The website is in Chinese.

Chinese speakers can call the city’s environmental protection Hotline 12369 to check if a site has permission for night work.

Night construction licenses cover several types of work. These include: non-interruptible concrete mixing; the excavation of deep foundation pits related to the safety and quality of the construction; cast-in-situ bored pile drilling related to the quality of pile foundations (excluding concrete filling); and some demolition.



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