Residents of the Dorchester House Want Pile Driving Pushed from 7am to 8:30am – Reasonable?


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Part of a letter from The Dorchester Residents Alliance to Borger Management:

Residents of the Dorchester House Apartments received notice on May 10, 2013 that the pile driving phase of the expansion project would, after a short delay, begin today. The notice stated that “there will be a significant amount of loud noise” starting at 7:00 a.m. and lasting approximately three to four weeks. The notice also invites residents to contact Borger Management regarding concerns that pertain to the expansion project.

To further minimize the impacts of noise on residents and the community, we respectfully request that the Dorchester House and Clark Construction delay the start of pile driving until 8:30 a.m. on weekdays. In past construction projects, the Dorchester House and Borger Management have observed a policy of delaying start times of construction inside the building until 8:30 a.m. on weekdays. The purpose of this policy was to limit disruptions caused by construction noise occurring within close proximity of residents’ homes.

Although pile driving is a necessary part of the construction process that provides foundation support for future buildings, the noise created through this process is disruptive to the residential community near the expansion project. Given the close proximity of the expansion project to our homes, delaying the pile driving to 8:30 a.m. would be a reasonable accommodation—consistent with past practices— that the Dorchester House and Clark Construction should take to minimize the impact on
hundreds of residents affected by expansion project.

Do you think requesting the start time from 7am to 8:30am is reasonable?

58 Comment

  • I lived in Highland Park while the construction of their new building was taking place and know how much it sucked, but we were told that we had no rights when it came to their start time as long as it was not before 7:00 a.m. The worst was on Saturday mornings, that really really sucked

    • Saturday mornings would be bad. I can’t see weekday pile driving hurting anyone with a 9 to 5 job (and people with unusual work schedules get screwed when it comes to everything anyway so they’d just have to deal with it).

  • As a neighborhood resident: hell yes it is a reasonable request.

    • Weren’t you one of the people yesterday who thought it was reasonable to keep neighbors up until 3:00 am with drunken chit chat on the porch?

      • If you cannot remember what I wrote, please go back and reread. Because that is not what I said, at all.

  • Yes, it’s not the construction workers fault themselves but whoever schedules this early morning stuff is crazy. I used to hear it outside my sublet when I was leaving at 7:30 in the morning. Not everyone is on a 9 to 5 schedule, some people need to sleep then!

  • What are is being constructed next to the Dorchester House? I live just down 16th so I’m quite curious.

    As for whether this is a reasonable request, I think it is but they should probably split the difference and settle on 8am.

    • *what IS

    • Luxury condos

    • Dorchester House Construction- to be known at 2425 17th St., NW

      The project will create 117 apartments to be rented and two levels of underground parking for a total of 175 spaces that will be shared between the existing building and the new building. 2425 17th St. will be five stories tall. The project will take approximately the 20 months

  • ah

    Totally reasonable request . . . I don’t live there, but I deal with construction in my neighborhood (fortunately not pile driving) and the 7am start is onerous enough with just hammers and saws, particularly on Saturday.

    Why does the construction industry start so early (and end early for that matter)?

    • Traffic and heat

    • To beat the heat of the afternoon. Also, they want to take advantage of as much daylight as possible. Working at night drives up costs (need to haul in lights, more generators, electricity costs, etc.)

    • Exactly – most construction workers live pretty far out of the city in affordable areas, so 7 a.m. start is good for them. Not unreasonable for weekdays – weekends should be later.

  • It’s only a few weeks. Deal with it neighbors.

  • As someone living behind a restaurant that has their trash picked up by the noisiest truck possible six days a week at hours ranging from 5:00 to 8:00, I’ll go with yes. I know that is not relevant, but misery loves company.

  • I need to find out where these people work and get a job there. If I got up after 7 I’d be mega-late to work.

    If it’s happening on Saturdays too, then no, I don’t think that’s okay. But I think 7AM is fine during the week.

    • What time do you start work? I live in DC, work in MD at 8:30. I don’t wake up until 7:30 most days, so I don’t see that being strange.

      • Agreed.

        I live and work in D.C. I start work at 9:30. My alarm is set for 7:30; I typically hit the snooze button for an hour and finally get out of bed at 8:30.

        • You guys must not have military clients. They’re all in before 6am, and I feel late getting in at 7:30-8.

          • INGO world, baby. Official start time is 9:00…. upper mgmt rolls in ’round 10. I drop my kids off at school at 8:15, go home, shower, mosey out the house around 10 to 9.

          • That must be nice. I only live a mile from work, but I have to be out of the house by 7 or risk getting dirty looks from coworkers (who somehow get there way before I do, even though they all live at least 50 miles away).

      • Live in DC, work in Rockville, it’s a 55-70 minute commute depending on the day. Since we’re in the burbs and most people in my office live even farther in the burbs, coming in at 9 makes me one of the last people in. Meetings can start at 7 here without any international call ins.

        Could I get ready in 30 minutes? Sure, I guess so, but I like to shower and make my lunch in the morning. I think 7 is reasonable to expect people to be awake, save for those with off hour jobs.

        I walk by the Dorchester House everyday on my commute and I haven’t heard this overwhelming noise.

        • Even if they’re awake who wants to be subject to heavy construction sounds first thing in the morning. When I worked downtown I could get up at 8, be out the door by 8:40 and roll into work at 9 so I really don’t think your schedule applies to everyone anyway.

          • Of course my schedule doesn’t apply to everyone, I wouldn’t think it does. Though I am kind of flabbergasted that there are office that require employees to come in at 10, I would hate that. I would rather have my late afternoon/evening free than sleep that late.

            Also, I really do not at all subscribe to the idea that once you’re out of bed you’re in some ogre like state where noises and human interaction aren’t acceptable (I absolutely cannot stand the “don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee” behavior. You were a functioning person before you started drinking coffee, don’t use it as an excuse to be a jerk). If you’re awake who cares how loud it is? And if it bothers you think of the end game- additional units in this city that is desperate for more housing and less demand induced price hikes.

  • I think the request is reasonable, but good luck with that. I can relate — for months now, they’ve been jackhammering the street outside my bedroom. It starts no later than 7AM and sometimes the noise starts even a few minutes earlier. It is really, really bad. I’ve started putting in ear plugs as soon as the noise starts. They really do work, but as a result, I consistently sleep through my alarm now.

  • squish

    I consider moving out the Dorchester House as one of my Top 5 Best Life Decisions. Borger Management is the worst!!

  • Anybody who says the request to delay pile driving by 1.5 hours is “unreasonable,” and who insists that residents just “deal with it,” lacks empathy and has succumbed to the apathetic outlook of, well, way too many people these days.

    The letter sent by the Dorchester Residents Alliance is quite admirable. And, if it proves effective, it will serve as an example and inspiration to residents everywhere who are fed up bullshit they’re made to believe they just have to “deal with.”

    • I guess I don’t have empathy because I don’t see 7am as being early for a weekday. Don’t you have any empathy for the construction workers who are trying to get in a full day’s work? It seems awfully selfish to want everyone to reschedule their work schedule around your banker’s hours.

      • Yeah, well, I don’t see midnight or 1am being all that late for a weeknight. I don’t have to be up til 8:30, so you’re pretty selfish to want me to stop the party just because your schedule demands you be asleep by 10.

        • I’m usually still up by midnight or 1, but that’s besides the point. I’m glad to see your need to party more than two nights a week is more important than people’s livelihoods.

      • +1. Also, delaying constructions start time by 1.5 hours a day x 5 days a week = 7.5 hrs x 4 weeks = 30 hours to make up. So there you go Dorchester Residents, there is an additional week of construction noise. You can here it now, or put it off, but you’re going to here it either way.

  • From DCRA:

    Legal Construction Hours

    Construction is allowed Monday through Saturday from 7 am to 7 pm without any special permits.

    • I don’t think anyone is disputing that the construction company is legally allowed to do construction starting at 7 a.m.; the residents are just hoping that the construction company will agree to save the noisiest work for 8:30 and beyond.

    • Which is to say that yes, that’s a reasonable request, however it would also be reasonable for a construction company under contract to complete a building who is working within regulations to choose to ignore said reasonable request.

      • It would be legal to ignore a reasonable request – but it wouldn’t be reasonable. The legality is not at stake at all here.

  • Speaking as one who has lived through a lot of really close construction, oh yes, that is reasonable. Those 7 AM start times totally suck.

  • I’d say get it out of the way as quickly as possible. Listen to the racket for 3-4 weeks by having them start at 7am , opposed to having them start at 830 and having to listen to it for 5-6 weeks instead. Construction is a pain but it increases property value and viability of the neighborhood.

    Unlike the 9am white collar DC workforce, blue collar start at 6 or 7 to maximize the use of daylight hours. Give them a break. It benefits everyone in the end.

    • + 1. Get it over with as quickly as possible. I lived through the Sherman Ave construction project. They started the machines outside my house by 6:30am and let them idle. At 7am they were jack hammering and running the large equipment. It shook my house and for weeks, if not months.

  • I live close to this project. I haven’t had a problem with the previous construction noise (excavators, etc) starting at 7; they need to get their work done after all. The pile driving however is quite loud and shakes the entire apartment; it would be nice if it started later when more people have gone to work. It must have started later today as it had not started when I left for work.

  • I work right next to the 11th Street Bridge project. Try getting work done when there’s loud noises that shake the building (when we had that earthquake a few years ago we all thought it was just the construction at first). I’m usually out of the house by 7am anyway, but if I wasn’t I don’t think it would be a big deal to hear pile driving while brushing my teeth. Much better than listening to that racket while at the office working!

  • I guess the people who want to delay construction until 8:30 won’t have a problem with the construction project dragging on for months past the scheduled completion date due to the lost morning hours?

    • No, I don’t have a problem with it. I’d rather a project run six weeks from 9-3 than four weeks from 7-3 if it means I can sleep until 7:30 or 8 instead of being jarred awake at 7 or so. Jackhammering outside is painful to listen to.

      • Ok, and the guy next door who doesn’t have to be up until 9:30 is going to be upset that the 8:30 noise wakes him up… you can’t arrange this stuff so it accommodates everyone’s sleeping schedule. Starting at 7 is reasonable because most people are up, if not gone for the day, by then, even if a few of you aren’t.

        • A 7 a.m. start on weekends is not reasonable. The time should be adjusted at least on weekends.

      • I’m sure the construction workers who are responsible for this project totes wouldn’t mind only working 6 hour days rather than 8 hour days to accommodate you. I mean yeah they are paid hourly, but their wages are SO high that they can easily survive in the DC area when they aren’t getting 40 hour weeks.

  • As a property manager, we traditionally do not allow work before 9. When construction begins, or pile driving we would normally begin at 8 if its a second phase or addition. If we dont have any residents, the guys will start as early as legally allowed 7am. I would think 8am is fair on weekdays assuming you all are paying rent already to this company. The sqeaky wheel approach might get you somewhere. Saturdays at 7am is borderline asking your current residents to move out haha

  • Have any of you heard a pile driver? This will not just be loud, it is wall-shakingingly loud every 3-4 seconds for hours on end and it will reverberate off the adjacent buildings to create even more noise. You will be able to hear this for blocks, so it is not just the apartment residents that are effected. I lived across the street from a pile-drive that started illegally started at 6 every morning including Saturdays. Police did nothing b/c the construction crew locked the office and refused to answer when police came. Even if they “agree” to the later start (which they won’t) good luck enforcing it.

    • Yep, been listening to it (and feeling the building shake) most days when I’ve been at work for the past 4 years or so. But what can you do? The construction workers need to get the project done sometime, and there’s always someone that’s going to be inconvenienced by it.

  • If you guys were actually clever, you’d take full advantage of the pile driving, and beat match some hardcore industrial music to it. But nooooooo, all you want to do is complain!

  • No. I empathize, I do. I had to deal with pile driving next door to my office all day every day for an entire summer. Stuff would fall off my desk regularly because it would cause the building to shake. Not fun at all. But if this is lasting four weeks, you’re asking the company to give up 30 hours of work over that time (1.5 hours/work day for four weeks). That is almost an extra week of work. And you’re pushing the people who need to work outside to work in the hotter time of day and in the hotter weeks of the year. And making them do it for an extra week. Balance that against people who are most likely already getting up for work, or close to it. Plus, you add an extra week of inconvenience for everyone with the pile driving because of those lost morning hours. So, while it sounds like a reasonable request, when you look at the other side, on balance, it isn’t.

  • It’s a part of living in a city folks. Yes…no empathy here. Just deal with with it! Don’t like the sound of gargabage trucks either….move to the burbs. There’s plenty of people lined up to buy or rent your place.

  • austindc

    Not reasonable. Most construction sites need to start work early. A large part of this is because they need to move equipment and materials at off hours because of traffic. I also know a lot of construction guys who end up taking a second job in the afternoons and evenings, so they depend on working a 7-3 day instead of 9-5. I am sure the residents can be grownups and deal with a little noise at 7:00 am for a few weeks. Everyone else in the city seems to be able to handle it.

  • I regularly work until 2-3 AM. Not by choice, but long hours are part of my job. I’ve been waking up from this awful pile driving every morning after only a few hours of sleep. Some of you are posting hypothetically about construction noise. I’m waking up from the piledrivers at the Dorchester house, and it is AWFUL. We’re across the street and blocked by another building and still our apartment shakes and we can hear every pound as though someone is banging on our walls. We also had a jackhammer right outside our window for a separate construction. The piledriver is actually worse, it is unrelenting.

    Many people work from home, work late, have small children, and are in situations that differ from the normal 9-5. And for those people living nearby the Dorchester construction has been awful. My priority is not to provide early morning jobs to construction workers. It is for my own well-being and the enjoyment of my property, which right now is being hindered.

    • With all due respect, if construction crews have to work around every person who works early or works late or who has small children or anyone else without a routine 9-5ish schedule, no work will get done, anywhere, ever. I feel for you, I really do, but they are trying to get a job done as quickly as they can while trying to minimize the impacts as much as possible. I’m sorry that doesn’t mean no disruption to you, but them’s the breaks.

      • Yes, obviously they cannot work around everyone’s schedules, and I never suggested they should. However, a significant percentage of people who do not have 9-5 jobs are not already up at 7. If they are going to make so much noise that my building literally shakes, it is completely reasonable that they commence work during normal business hours, which is 9am. Fortunately they have started later than they did originally, so the letter must have had an impact, and I know many in the area including myself are grateful.

        Obviously the Dorchester House is permitted by right to build a new building. When any developer performs construction that they know will cause tremendous inconvenience to their neighbors (noise, road access, etc), it is courtesy for them to do what is in their power to be considerate. I’m glad the message finally got through.

        • If you’re willing to pay them the cost of delaying construction activities, sure they might change. haha jk, But seriously folks, there is a multi-million dollar construction contract, and the contractor has a time limit and a budget constraint. Time is money and as others have mentioned, I think its ridiculous to ask for an hour delay just so you can eat your cheerios in peace. Honestly its the price you pay for living in the city. Its noisy. If you don’t like it, I hear West Virginia is pretty quiet.

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