Agenda item

Management of Cumulative Construction Impacts

Report of the Executive Director, Environment.


The Committee received a report of the Executive Director, Environment detailing how Officers are managing the cumulative impacts of construction works to minimise disruption to residents and nearby occupiers and setting out the processes in place which help to minimise the impacts of construction by collaborative working, use of planning conditions, Planning Performance Agreements (PPAs), Code of Constuction and Considerate Contractors Scheme all of which encourage early engagement and consistent dialogue with residents and other neighbouring occupiers.


Officers introduced the report highlighting that, since October 2020, a new Development Liaison Manger had been appointed, a post that sat within Planning but worked collaboratively across the Corporation. The role involved acting as a single point of contact between developers and the Corporation from the time an application came in for pre-application to scheme delivery to allow for a more efficient scheme delivery process and to resolve complex development challenges. As part of this, scheme delivery planning performance agreements had been introduced whereby applicants and contractors entered into a performance agreement with the Development Liaison Manager attending regular project meetings during the course of construction to ensure that there was an ongoing dialogue and as a means of intelligence sharing. This allowed first hand knowledge of what was happening on site and gave Officers the ability to foresee, manage and mitigate any construction impacts.


Members were informed that regime to collect a construction levy through Section 106 was now also in place which allowed for additional resources to monitor construction impacts on site. It was reported that this was all over and above regular face-to-face meetings that took place between Highways and Environmental Health Officers and contractors to co-ordinate the construction of schemes, the Code of Construction and the Considerate Contractor Scheme, planning conditions and licensing regimes.


A Member questioned exactly what a construction manager had to do if they wanted to gain permission to work after hours and what communications with local residents and business would look like in these circumstances. Officers responded to state that there were only certain reasons that noisy, out of hours working would be permitted. One was if they would not disturb anyone, two was around safety, three around engineering and four around logistics. With this in mind, Members were informed that the common types of works that would be permitted after hours for these reasons would be the creation/construction of a core, a crane going in or construction of steels on larger sites. A construction manager, prior to applying for the works, would be expected to identify all of the sensitive receptors around them including hospitals, schools and businesses. Once they had gathered this information, they would need to contact Environmental Health Officers with an application at least five days before the works were due to commence in the case of small works and, for larger works, these discussions would be programmed in from the outset when the scheme of protective works was thought out and organised. Once this had been approved for small scale works that were of a shorter duration, the developer would be required to carry out a letter/email drop a minimum of 48 hours before the works began. For bigger impact, longer duration works, Officers would expect a liaison meeting with the nearest occupiers to explain what the works involved, what the impacts would be and what choices they had as to when and how the works happened. It was recognised that sometimes contractors failed to do this and Members were reminded that the City had an out of hours noise service which ran 24/7 with very good response times (45 minutes for a visit and 15 minutes for a call back). If there were sites that residents or others had not received a notification from then they were urged to use this service so that works that were not permitted could be stopped immediately and, for those that were, Officers could ascertain what had happened with regard to communication with neighbours.


Another Member queried what City Maps was and whether this was publicly accessible. Officers reported that City Maps was the City’s internal mapping website and that there was also a public-facing internet GIS layer called Compass that had been in place for approximately 5 years now. The data available to the public on Compass enabled residents to see what works were happening and the contact details for specific sites. Officers undertook to share the link to this with Members.


A Member commented that his own home had been surrounded by building sites for the past 10-11 years now and wanted to congratulate the out of hours team for their very speedy responses to concerns every time.


Another Member agreed that the out of hours team did an excellent job however, she was of the view that they should not have to be relied upon to come out and resolve and monitor issues as the onus should be more on the developers to ensure that they were compliant. She went on to state that she felt that the report lacked reference to the real life experiences of residents who frequently reported that the processes were not always followed and impacted on them enormously. Too often, residents received letters informing them of out of hours works and felt that they had no say in this matter. She also highlighted that there was a lack of resources in terms of enforcement which still needed to be addressed. 


The Chair thanked Officers for all of their hard work in this area and reported that he had been meeting with various resident groups and wanted to assure them that the City would endeavour to do its best on such things and not start from a presumption of disruption.


RESOLVED – That Members note this report.

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