How to be a good neighbor during construction

As a property owner, rarely do we look forward to construction, but rather our attention is focused on the outcome.  What we’re updating, expanding, or repurposing.  While we’re often looking at the outcome and anticipate hurdles such as access/displacement, noise, and dust, our neighbors just experience the construction process.  We’ve gathered together some sage advice for being the best neighbor possible during the construction process; we hope you find it helpful!

Meet Your Neighbors

It sounds silly, but it’s likely that most of us have neighbors we never met upon move-in.  Time has passed, and now you think it’d be awkward to introduce yourself.  Not so.  Starting a relationship before the first swing of the hammer will do wonders to open a channel of communication with that neighbor.  Give them your phone number, email address, and open yourself up to feedback from them if they are inconvenienced in unforeseen ways with your construction project.  Bringing a treat such as cookies, brownies, or another dish you’re known for doesn’t hurt when you’re building trust.

Introduce Your Contractor

Introducing your contractor doesn’t mean you must parade your GC from home to home, but provide your neighbors the name of the company and the general contractor you’ve hired to complete the work, so they know who to expect in the neighborhood and when.  Ask your neighbors if there are any special requests they have during construction, and if reasonable, discuss them with your contractor to see if it can be accommodated. More often than not it’s going to be a request surrounding start/stop time for the workday, avoiding weekends if possible, or if there is limited parking they rely upon as neighborhood residents.

Manage The Mess

Construction projects create debris, this is unavoidable.  Work with your contractor to keep things as tidy as possible at the end of each shift, and use a construction fence to manage flyaway debris.  If necessary, add privacy screen to the chain link fence if neighbors are concerned about the neighborhood appearance during construction (this can also help reduce debris flyaway).

Keep The Project Moving Forward

If you tell your neighbors your project will last 4-5 months, work to keep the project within the projected timeline as much as possible.  This can be accomplished by staying on top of decisions your contractor asks of you, pulling permits which require homeowner request, and remaining flexible for meetings or inspections with your contractor where necessary.

Respond Swiftly To Questions Or Concerns

While neighbors may not have specific requests initially, they may come partway into the project.  Be responsive with all questions or concerns they raise, and where necessary, discuss them with your general contractor at an appropriate time.  Solicit feedback from neighbors most impacted by your project, and be ready to listen and accommodate reasonable requests.

Overall, the best way to keep neighbors happy is to connect with them and help them to feel heard and that their concerns are taken seriously.  Good luck with your upcoming construction project, and give us a shout if you need construction or silt fences!

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