In a city like New York, no one—including co-op and condo owners—is immune from the sounds of noisy construction work. With such things as loud jackhammers and buzzing saws going on, it's enough to drive anyone mad. Whether the construction is taking place at or near your property, it's a guarantee that someone is going to complain about the ruckus. But there are things you can do to resolve or minimize the problem while preserving your sanity at the same time.
The Polite Approach
If and when there are complaints, the common tact is to contact the people causing the noise and ask them to keep it down if possible.
“We normally contact the owner of the apartment under construction, the supervising architect and pay a visit to the contractor,” notes Jay Cohen, vice president and director of operations at A. Michael Tyler Realty Corp., a property management and brokerage firm in New York City. “We’ll send a nice letter off to them saying we’re having problems and ask them to curtail the noise because they’re causing discomfort to other residents and disturbing the quiet and peaceful enjoyment of the building—as specified in the proprietary lease or bylaws of the building.”
Advance Notice Helps
Often a polite letter or call will suffice. But according to Cohen, keeping the affected residents in the loop is probably the best way to avoid complaints. “From the time that we receive the alteration application,” he says, “there’s a review process that could take weeks and weeks if it’s a large project. But normally you’d let the residents in the immediate area know about 2-3 weeks before construction starts.”
Sometimes advance warning can't necessarily prevent loud construction noises from reverberating through the halls at all hours of the day. That’s why Cohen also suggests limiting the hours that crews can work in the building. “Normal working hours are from 8 to 4,” he says, “but we don’t allow any noisy work until 10 a.m. and they have to be packed up and out of there by 4.”