Insights - Common problems faced by contractors working on city centre fit outs

24 March 2023

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Urban, high-density construction sites face a range of issues that other less congested construction sites don’t have to deal with. Here we take a look at these common problems and ways they can be overcome.


Damage to surrounding buildings


Regardless of the project at hand, any construction work carried out within a tight urban environment has the potential to cause harm to any nearby structures. This is due to the congested city centre environment. Three quarters of contractors asked about this problem, confirmed that damage to surrounding buildings could be classed as a critical issue when undertaking the management of an urban city centre project. Damage can come in the form of structural issues, pollution and on-site piling works.


Dust can be a huge issue for neighbouring buildings and their residents and/or employees. Implementing dust containment measures is vital in addressing the issue such as, watering down, debris netting and alternative construction techniques.


Contractors need to ensure that there is no health risk posed due to the emission of dust from their construction site to the immediate surrounding environment. Watering down procedures are particularly useful during demolition works or when removing material from the site.


Keeping noise pollution to a minimum


Noise pollution is another major concern for contractors. It can be difficult to control the level of noise that a site emits, especially if machinery needs to be used. Any city centre site will recognise that noise pollution is a problematic issue but particularly those which are within close proximity to residential properties or offices. Left unmonitored and uncontrolled, it’s very easy for tensions and conflict to arise between the contractors and the surrounding community.


Reducing the impact of noise can be addressed by ensuring work isn’t carried out at unsociable hours, pre-warning residents and office buildings about planned works, using noise screen and barriers, and opting for lower noise equipment.


Lack of external space for site offices and facilities


The lack of external space for site offices and facilities can be an issue for contractors and their employees. It is a legal requirement for contractors to provide employees with suitable welfare facilities on all projects. We’ve previously gone into more detail highlighting exactly what is needed on-site, but these include facilities such as changing rooms and lockers, toilets, washing facilities, clean drinking water and areas for rest. With city centre fit outs, the site doesn’t always allow for the addition of porta cabins due to a lack of external space. Despite the lack of space faced by urban construction projects, these facilities must still be provided.


Creating an internal, freestanding modular structure with Hoardfast internal site systems can overcome this issue. Hoardfast internal systems have lightweight panels that can be installed quickly, cleanly and simply and can be taken down and relocated as needed. Crucially, they are perfect for use in city centre fit outs where space is a real issue, meaning internal site rooms can be constructed with ease.


Whilst there are many issues facing contractors working on city centre fit outs, it’s reassuring to know that there are cost effective ways to overcome them.