Dear PoPville – Are Afterhours Construction Permits Legit?

Dear PoPville,

I just had to bang on my neighbor’s door at 12:30 because he was doing construction, hammering on the party wall, table saws, the whole bit.

I said “Come on, you can’t do construction after midnight” but he said he had an after hours permit. And that they were finished.

I’ll talk to him tomorrow when I’m less exhausted and less angry, but does an after hours permit really trump noise regulations and allow you to do make that much noise after midnight?

I couldn’t find anything on the dcra website.

15 Comment

  • There is an after-hours permit. It usually only goes to licensed contractors, and is used for emergencies – gas leak/water leak, etc.., where the lack of work could cause more damage. I would guess that it would trump noise regulations for the same reason that water/gas mains can be worked on outside of a house at any time.

  • An after-hours permit would be unusual for this type of project, but not impossible. However, it does not give them permission to break the noise at night law, which allows for the arrest of any person who creates noise that can be heard inside another person’s residence after 10pm. There’s no fine for it, only arrest (thanks to city council)

  • Here’s what the Regs say: Limitations on After-Hours Work in Residential Areas.
    No after-hours permit shall be issued for work in an area zoned “residential” under the Zoning Regulations then in effect, or in an area within 500 feet (152 400 mm) of such residential zone, or within 500 feet (152 400 mm) of a building with sleeping quarters, unless the code official determines that not issuing such permit would pose a threat to public safety, health and welfare.

    D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 12, § 105A

  • From 10 PM until when? My upstairs neighbor routinely beings to pick up and drop heavy objects above my bed at 7 AM every morning..

  • This post reminds me of the Tom Waits song, “What’s He Building in

  • I’m the OP – it’s not an emergency repair, just general renovations. I have no objection to him working outside of the 7-7 M-Sat time frame. After hours as in until 10pm and on Sundays is fine. I just need to be able to sleep.

    But yeah, trying to convince me that hammering on the party wall from 11pm-12:30am is legal isn’t going to go over well. If it happens again, I’ll bring over the regs and reason with him and if that doesn’t work, I’ll call the cops.

    • Sue, you sound generous — I’d be inclined to just call the cops on him next time! I mean, you already spoke with him in person once.

  • Wouldn’t he have to post his after hours permit for inspection just like any other permit?

    • Yes. After hours permits are building permits and issued on paper and need to be posted like regular building permits. If he has one, the description of work field would say something like, “Permission to work after hours.” That simple. He was lying. Seek a compromise with him: you won’t call the cops before, say, 11:00. He gets to do some after hours construction, and you get to sleep.

  • Banging on the walls is inconsiderate and should be avoided.

    However, we live in close quarters with walls that are missing mortar in places behind the plaster, using power tools after 10pm on occasion should be permitted.

    Your neighbor should have respected your wishes though.

    • Banging on walls in response to midnight construction is inconsiderate? Seriously? My neighbors have been taking down walls or something – no permit, period, from 1-4 am for some reason. When I (and several other neighbors) called the police after repeated requests to stop were ignored, they went crazy and said I was doing so on an 80-something year old man. Now they have a dog they let out on their roof, next to my bedroom, and encourage it to bark nonstop to antagonize me in retaliation. It’s awful & I can ignore a lot – I lived under meth addicts with an indoor skate part for two years.

  • In my experience, every contractor that has claimed to have an after hours permit has been a liar. Look carefully at the permit. I guarantee you it does not say after hours.

  • You can find out if he actually has a permit on the PIVS website.

  • great statue in the picture

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