The Impact of Vibration Monitoring on Construction Projects

A construction project carries certain responsibilities within its execution. Construction methods such as drilling, bulldozing, and excavating can shake the ground under buildings all around a construction site. In the interest of maintaining good relations with the surrounding businesses and occupants, efforts are made to minimize the annoyance associated with moving large amounts of earth and the use of forceful methods that disturb the work site. But these efforts go beyond reducing annoyance. They must also aim to prevent cosmetic and structural damage to adjacent buildings. Rattling windows and throbbing sonic pulses can be temporarily bothersome, but the potential damage to nearby property is a much bigger concern. Construction vibration monitoring must be implemented in order to mitigate this damage. It is the “ounce of prevention” that saves the project from being beset with costly legal action, and the associated bad reputation that follows. Vibration monitoring is the key to success in this effort.

Construction vibration monitoring services begin by identifying the likely areas of trouble before the construction process begins. This is accomplished by evaluating the construction site, gathering information on the construction methods that will be used, and modeling the expected vibration consequences. In this way, there are no surprises, and the combination of field experience and knowledge of vibration mitigation methods can create solutions before the problems happen. These solutions are written into the project specifications, including specific recommendations for subcontractors. Community noise and vibration concerns are noted, along with local statutes and requirements regarding noise control.

During construction, vibration monitoring is used to continuously measure peak particle velocity (PPV). At any given time, the PPV must remain below required levels. Monitoring is done with seismographs, which are fed information from vibration monitoring sensors. In addition to the PPV, vibration frequency distribution is also taken into account. Modern vibration monitoring services consider the greater damage potential of lower frequencies, and set correspondingly lower allowable PPV at these frequencies. Also, an explosive blasting impact of even a very short duration can significantly amplify ground vibrations. This amplification can take a nominally “safe” ground vibration and turn it into an unsafe building vibration.

Property owners normally lack the knowledge, experience, and scientific background to address vibration damage in the same way as a company that may be responsible for it. As such, they are often left with no other option but to pursue legal action. Furthermore, if there is substantial damage to one property, there will almost certainly be damage to others. In the interest of avoiding the legal fallout and associated lost project time, it is incumbent upon any construction project to include vibration monitoring services within their official project documentation. The inclusion of these services ensures the best possible mitigation of property damage, and a project that gets completed within all safety standards.

For information on how Valcoustics can help your next project, contact us to schedule a consultation.