DIY noise


21 Jun 2010
Reaction score
United Kingdom
Does anyone know what legeslation there is defining when it is considered acceptable to make DIY noise at weekends. My husband and I are in the process of improving our flat. We both work long weekday hours so our DIY efforts are limited to the weekends. Over the past few weeks we have been installing a new bathroom. We have always been careful not to make noise in the evenings, stopping usually around 5 or 6pm, never beyond 8pm. Our downstairs neighbours have complained and insisted that it is illegal for us to do DIY outside the ours 8am-6pm weekdays and 8am-1pm saturdays. So not at all on sundays or bank holidays. They have threatened reporting us to the council which could result in a £5000 fine. I know these are the hours that the construction industry are held to, but does that also apply to individuals carrying out home improvements? We cannot afford to pay professionals to complete the work for us during working hours but if limited to saturday mornings only it is going to drag on for months...! Help!
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Cosult the council, they should give you advice you need then you can take it to your neighbours for them to see.
This may help;
There doesn’t seem to be anything enforceable in law but your neighbours are at liberty to report you to the local council for excessive noise & that applies to any noise, not just DIY activities. The times you mention maybe those recommended by your local council but they seem a bit restrictive & I would think it extremely unlikely the council would take any sort enforcement action without first giving you a warning &/or prompting you to explore a mutually acceptable agreement; sounds like your neighbours are just trying to frighten you into being quiet.

if limited to saturday mornings only it is going to drag on for months.
Noise from continual DIY activities can be extremely irritating when all you want to do is relax & live in close proximity to those that are making the noise; it might be worth trying to come to a mutual agreement with them on your working times as a trade off against the possibility of it dragging on for many more months!
Your hours of work seem reasonable, so tell your neighbours you are doing nothing illegal and they are mistaken to think otherwise.
There are no restriction in law regarding diy , only noise whatever the source and so long as you are deemed to be taking reasonable care not to disturb others you can carry on regardless. ;)
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I had a similar problem with my neighbours. I put in a counter claim against them. Dog barking!

I agree with other comments, also make a note and times when you do make noise, and for how long, at least then you can refute there claims with confidence.

also buy them some earplugs if they carry on being unreasonable.

I think the council at the very worst could order an asbo and confiscate your drill, after some sort of hearing. By that time the bathroom will be finished.

nothing like good neighbours...
11pm for excess noise isn't it?, i'm regually outside at 10pm with grinder and other tools running, no one ever asks

as for in a flat, tell them you want to beast it one weekend, so can they tell you when they are going out for a few hours and go for it
just say that you have to do it so they either put up with it for a few long days for a few weekends, or they'll have to suffer through it for those hours exactly each saturday for the next few months..
it's up to them whether to be woken at 8am for a few weekends or every saturday for 6 months..
I put in a counter claim against them. Dog barking!
A near neighbour has got two of those extremely stroppy Yorkie thingies that you can almost put in your pocket or handbag; all bark & no bite. They never get taken for “walkies” despite the fact we are very rural & all they do is bark, bark, bloody bark at each other the whole time they are in the garden &, unlike the rest of us, their owner seems totally oblivious to it. It gets on our bloody nerves & we live 100 metres away, god knows what it must be like for the poor old so d that lives next door to it who is in the final stages of dementia & his dear wife who looks after him. They can’t even go out to escape the incessant barking without undertaking a major logistical exercise to get him into the car. It’s not the first time I’ve had neighbour problems with this breed of dog & for two pins I’d choke the life from the bloody things, it’s such a common breed trait they should have their voice box removed at birth :evil: Give me some enthusiastic DIY noise anyday, I might even come around & help you :LOL:
If your neighbour makes a complaint to the council about the noise they may have problems if they try to sell, it has to be declared to the buyer, let them know that...
Thanks all.
I did check with the council and they said unfortunately that those hours do apply to DIY projects as well as commercial construction sites although normally there's an unwritten understanding amongst neighbours that these are unecessarily restrictive. Not much use when your downstairs neighbour is a lawyer and is insisting you stick to the letter of the law.
Seems like all we can do is talk to them to see if they're planning to be out of the house at all, allowing us the extend the hours a bit. Not looking forward to that conversation. We cannot afford a full blown conflict with them as our future plans for the flat require a degree of cooperation. They do also involve putting in proper sound proofing - an incentive for them at any rate. I guess there'll be no more saturday morning lie ins - for us or them in the near future! :(
I did check with the council and they said unfortunately that those hours do apply to DIY projects as well as commercial construction sites although normally there's an unwritten understanding amongst neighbours that these are unecessarily restrictive.
Letter of the law :eek: thats bolloc ks, I would question that. You’re not subject to the same rules as commercial development & can only fall foul of creating excessive noise. Your council either don’t know what they are talking about or feel under some pressure by your stupid lawyer neighbour (do lawyers really live in a downstairs flat!) that they are snowing you; who did you speak to, the tea lady!

I would not condone unreasonable behaviour on your part but the times you’ve been quoted by your neighbour are, IMO, “unnecessarily restrictive” by the councills own definition & unenforceable as they are not consistent with council guidelines. Don’t be frightened by the power your prat, egotistical lawyer neighbour thinks he has (perhaps he’s also a Mason), tell him to shove it where the sun don’t shine. Council websites generally state the same DIY working times but it’s important to remember they are only guidelines. Creating excessive noise has to be scientifically measured & proven in the environment where it’s claimed to be a nuisance & is only enforceable under noise abatement of which you will gernerally get some warning of enforcement.
i always thought you had a god given right to improve your home as long as you were curtious to the surrounding neighbours,which by the sound of it you are?

but remember to put this situation in the memory banks for future usage when they decide to carry out any diy/refurb work ;) THEN jump on them from a great height.
Whoever at the council told you that was WRONG!

go back down, ask to see the same person then insist that they provide you with the exact legislation that they are referring to.

It is NOT illegal, in fact the lae allows for DIY & making noise and your neighbours should expect it from time to time.

It is when it is constant and outside the hours of 7AM-11PM that something can be done.

You are NOT bound by the same rules as commercial companies are.

After something like that I'd be setting the circular saw up in the garden and finding every scrap of wood I can to cut up!
run a generous bead of D4 around his front door, see if he makes any DIY noise out of hours trying to open it.

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