What hours can builders make noise at our property in France?

There are several laws covering excessive noise nuisance from building work or other 'chantiers' (worksites) in France. We explain 

13 October 2021

Rules on nuisance from professional works differ depending on whether or not they are subject to prior declaration to the mairie or not Pic: Rido / Shutterstock

By Liv Rowland

Reader question: We have builders on our property, painting the house. Our neighbour complained, insisting they should not start before 10.00, which was too late for the builders. Does he have the right to do this?

We are surprised your neighbour would complain about painting, which is not usually of a noisy nature, however, there are several laws covering excessive noise nuisance from building work to be aware of.

Rules on nuisance from professional works differ depending on whether or not they are subject to prior declaration to the mairie or not. Unless your home is in a protected area due to historic interest, for example, this is unlikely to be the case for repainting work.

In this case, a general rule applies from article R1337-7 of the Code de la santé publique, which says the work should not cause noise likely to harm the peace of the neighbourhood and people’s health, whether because of how long it goes on, how repetitive it is, and how loud.

Mairies also often have their own local bylaws on time periods when noisy work must stop, but this is most commonly set between 20:00 and 7:00.

It is unlikely your neighbour has any reasonable legal grounds to insist painting work starts only from 10:00 as this is likely to be later than required, and it is unlikely to generate excessive levels of noise.

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