Nashville will soon have a curfew for construction noise – at least the loudest kind. The city’s codes department has been authorized to create new rules, which would include a ban on blasting and jackhammering overnight.
A building boom has meant round-the-clock work on some projects downtown, where the city’s existing residential noise rules don’t apply. But a rising number of downtown dwellers took notice. Hotels have even had to comp the rooms of guests who complained.
Council lady Erica Gilmore had proposed a city ordinance, but it met stiff resistance from builders because it put a blanket ban on noise over 70 decibels.
"When a concrete truck is backing up and the bell is going off, it's probably over that decibel level," says Clay Bright of Brasfield & Gorrie's Nashville office. "So that possibility that we could not do certain activities at night that made sense to us and that we've always done, that's what probably got a lot of people concerned."
Bright was part of the working group of residents and contractors who got together and talked through the problems. They landed on a compromise that won’t need a change in law.
"It seemed to work itself out pretty quick," he says.
The final draft is still being drawn up. But broadly, the rules require contractors to get special permission to blast between the hours of 9 pm and 7 am. And for other noisy activity – like pouring concrete – the builders have to submit a plan regarding their efforts to minimize the disturbance and notify the neighbors.
“We’re hoping that it works," Gilmore says. "But if we hear complaints, we will revisit it.”