Your Neighbours & Your Construction Project

How to manage the neighbours during a loud construction project

Undertaking a large scale landscaping project is exactly as it sounds … it’s large scale. It’s usually loud. It can span weeks at a time. It requires crews of people with equipment tearing up earth and laying new materials. It’s a major laborious job. Most of the time, in our experience, neighbours are understanding. If you’ve got a bit of distance between you, you’ve got a good rapport, or if they are thinking of undertaking some loud renovations themselves sometime down the road, neighbours are usually quite … er …  neighbourly. Other times, however, landscaping work can attract some … let’s just say … not-so-nice thoughts and opinions.


You’ve already committed to the plans. You’re definitely still committed to keeping good relations within your community. So how do you manage it?


At Exact Landscapes, we have quite a bit of experience working in tighter neighbourhoods. We’ve been around the suburban block in Ottawa from Barrhaven to Stittsville to Kanata and Carp. And being around the block has taught us a thing or two about respecting thy neighbour. We can’t always be perfect, but we do follow a handful golden rules for each and every job we undertake.


Here are a few best practices you can also follow if you’re planning to take on a loud construction project on your property:


1. Reach out, and say hello neighbour

Most neighbours simply want to be informed and for their needs to be acknowledged. Reaching out and saying hello, in person or through a nicely worded letter, can help bridge that positive communication. Let them know that you’re undertaking a large project, but that you are committed to respecting their environment. As a nice touch, ask them to let you know of any special occasions where the noise may be a problem (backyard birthday parties, for example). Hearing and respecting those requests can go a long way.


2. Respect the time of day

If you’ve ever lived next to road construction, you know that waking up to the sound of a jackhammer is not the greatest way to put you in the greatest mood. Similarly, if you’ve ever been the parent of a young child, you know the severe consequences that would befall anyone that jeopardized that wee sliver of an opportunity you had to put them to sleep in the evening. Communicating to neighbours when they can expect noise to start, and stop, and keeping those times respectful and consistent is a great way to help set reasonable expectations and well …  just be neighbourly.


3. Respect space

If you have a work crew, watch to make sure they are not walking over neighbour’s property en route to the project site, leaving equipment scattered around, parking in front of driveways, hanging their boots on the adjoining fence, lingering in front of the neighbours windows without their shirts on, or …  you get the idea. A respectable crew should be respectful of the environment they’re contributing toward beyond the job site. They should be dressed properly, keep their spaces tidy, and stay off and away from the neighbouring property. This is something Exact takes pride in.


4. Listen

Sometimes a crew has to work late to hit an important deadline. A neighbour’s expectations can be also be demanding and, sometimes, they can even be unreasonable. In times of conflict (better yet, before conflict happens) the most important thing to do is listen, understand, and find common ground. The best crews out there will not leave the homeowner to do this themselves; they will work with the homeowner and the neighbours to find compromise and work toward a reasonable agreement. Seek this quality out in the crew you hire for a large job.


5. Say thank you

At the end of the day, when the job is done, a knock on the door or a card in the mail to say thank you … or to welcome your neighbours over for a backyard BBQ … can be the icing on the cake to a job well done.


What experiences have you had with neighbours going through construction? We’d love to hear your stories. Give us a shout.


© 2018 Exact Landscapes Ltd.