Stopping Noise Pollution

Woman frustrated of air and noise pollution from the buildings surrounding her.

A developer bought several pieces of property next to our three flat last year and tore down the two houses. A few weeks ago a construction company showed up, fenced off the empty lots and began to dig a foundation. Given the rainy weather, they have finally started to frame the house and they are working from daybreak to sunset, making it impossible for us to open a window or have a conversation in the backyard because of the incredible noise levels. We talked to a few of the men working and they referred us to the developer who has not called back. Do we have any options to stop the obvious noise pollution?

The City of Chicago does have a noise pollution ordinance, 11-4-1115, but it applies to “any radio, tape recorder, cassette player or other device for receiving broadcast sound or reproducing recorded sound if the device is located (1) On the public way; or (2) In any motor vehicle on the public way. The City of Chicago Environmental Department will respond to calls for noise levels other than those from devices such as radios or speakers but the noise level limits of 55db only apply from 9 pm to 8 am. There is no ordinance that applies during daytime hours for noise from construction or businesses.

While the State of Illinois has a lengthy list of noise standards under PART 901 SOUND EMISSION STANDARDS AND LIMITATIONS FOR PROPERTY LINE-NOISE-SOURCES of the Illinois Administrative Code, exceptions include lawn care maintenance equipment , agricultural farm machinery, snowmobiles, and sound emitted from equipment being used for construction used during daytime hours.

In order to pursue this you would have to prove the noise is excessive, unnecessary, and fixable, and the levels constitute a nuisance to your residential living environment and are harmful to your mental and/or physical health. You might consider contacting an attorney at Ankin Law. to have them assist you in crafting a letter to both the developer and the construction company to see if a compromise could be reached with perhaps a modification of the time periods when they are working. And remember, the building will be completed so the noise pollution is temporary.