The Real Estate Board of New York to The New York City Committee on Environmental Protection, Resiliency, and Waterfronts on Construction Noise Legislation

Daniel Avery

Director of Policy

September 26, 2023

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The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) is the City’s leading real estate trade association representing commercial, residential, and institutional property owners, builders, managers, investors, brokers, salespeople, and other organizations and individuals active in New York City real estate. REBNY appreciates this opportunity to testify on legislation that would require a variance for after-hours work related to removing construction debris.

REBNY understands that noise from various construction projects can impact the public’s quality of life and be disruptive to certain activities. Simultaneously, construction, including that which is in the after-hours and weekends, is vital to the City’s growth and financial well-being.

The noise code is uniquely designed to address both matters, balancing important construction activities with public health protection and other needs. This includes allowing after hours variances for certain construction practices where needed and under specific conditions. After hours variances require the deployment of the site’s noise mitigation plan and are typically granted for emergency work, to avoid potential public safety issues, for certain City construction projects, construction that does not generate much noise, and where there is an undue hardship.

Bill: 777 of 2022

Subject: This legislation adds the removal of construction debris of various kinds to what is considered construction work, thereby subjecting this work to after-hours noise variances.

Sponsors: Keith Powers, Lincoln Restler, Julie Menin, Robert F. Holden, Lynn C. Schulman, Gale A. Brewer, Crystal Hudson, Erik D. Bottcher, Kamillah Hanks, Kevin C. Riley, Shaun Abreu

Under current practices, removing construction debris is often done in the early morning or at night and does not require an after-hours variance. REBNY is very concerned that requiring an after-hours variance for this work would add significant time and cost problems for developments in the City.

Removing construction debris from construction sites is an ongoing and time-consuming process at any site. Countless projects around the city do this work before or after the workday to facilitate the most productive use of a construction site.

If this work had to be carried out during business hours there would be a tremendous impact on the length of projects and on the cost of construction in the city. This impact is largely due to the constraint on vertical movement at a site, and debris removal would have to compete with other daytime vertical movement needs. As such, this change could increase the time to complete projects significantly, adding millions of dollars to projects in an already expensive market.

Thank you for considering these points.

Topics Covered

  • Quality of Life