Strategy for managing noise and vibration affects to RSPE

Published in the Research School of Physics Event Horizon
Vol44 Issue6 11–15 February 2019

Strategy for managing noise and vibration affects to RSPE Stage 1 operations.


Overall Program

The overall building construction program for Stage 1A of the project is due for completion around October 2020.  The most severe noise and vibration is anticipated to occur during the bulk earthworks phase which has commenced and involves the breaking of bed-rock to a depth approximately 8 metres. The work is broken into three zones from East to West with approximate durations to completion as follows:

            Zone 1              April 2019

            Zone 2              Early May 2019

            Zone 3              Late May 2019

Beyond this period, site works will change to other activities which will involve typical hammering, materials handling, crane and lighter machinery.  The civil works phase and some services trenching will involve excavation into rock – this will be of significantly less scope and we will be able to schedule this more specifically.

The variations and precise dates for the Zone 1-3 excavation will be announced closer to the period via the Event Horizon, School-wide email and School website.

Mitigation Efforts

Note that the following mitigation efforts have either already been implemented or are being explored:

  1. The substructure has been redesigned to reduce the number of bored piers by approximately 35.  This reduces the extent of that activity and the overall duration.
  2. The shoring walls ground anchors have been reduced by approximately 100, this reduces the extent of this activity, which is a noisy pneumatic drilling activity, and reduces the overall duration of this phase by approximately 3 weeks.
  3. The link to Stage 2 has been reduced in extent and the piling and rock anchoring hard up to the Cockcroft Building has been deleted.  This reduces a significant impact to the area directly adjacent to Cockcroft and reduces the overall duration of the Zone 3 works.
  4. The excavation contractor is commencing works at 6am daily to take advantage of available daylight during a period of lower RSPE activity.  This strategy will continue and will involve the use of lighting for the works as we head into shorter days.
  5. explore working of longer days on Saturdays and potentially Sundays to reduce the effect on the regular work week. 
  6. explore the use of a larger excavator (50 Tonne) which may be able to rip the fractured stone material in a vertical face working with the natural fractures in the rock– if this is successful it would be a major benefit to reduce rock hammering significantly.
  7. explore use of rock grinder instead of rock hammer adjacent to buildings, see link to video

All these mitigation strategies have pro’s and con’s and I will be happy to discuss the effectiveness of each approach as results become known.

Management Strategy

  • HCA to continue to provide a two week look ahead summary of activities providing general advice of activities and which are the noisiest and cause most vibration, identified for Zone 1, 2 and 3.
  • HCA to provide a rolling 2 day look ahead schedule of activities identifying any available periods of “less noise” (eg no rock hammering or rock anchoring).  It is suggested that blocks of 3-4 hours advised 2 days ahead gives staff the opportunity to schedule their presence on campus around that activity with work from home or another location.  Note that works will not cease during periods with “less noise” but they might change in severity, eg. from rock hammering to loading of trucks.
  • RSPE and F&S are negotiating alternative work areas for respite – this has been targeted for L2 Leonard Huxley and L1 Jaeger 6 is to be confirmed.
  • Implement personal protection equipment – if you are in CPF, PRL, LPC, EME, AM or TP please speak with your Head of Department about personalised strategies.


  • Two week overall program
  • Two day program/plan (will be re-issued every 2 days until the end of May)


Please note all information will be published on the Building Project website






Updated:  27 November 2022/ Responsible Officer:  Director, RSPhys/ Page Contact:  Physics Webmaster