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The Waterside and LICA building sites have been criticised by students for creating too much noise and disruption during exams. Whilst the rest of the university must succumb to Quiet Period, students are saying that their revision is being greatly disturbed by loud building work and noisy builders.
Questions have been raised as to why this building work has been scheduled during such a crucial time of the academic calendar. Many feel that with the possibility of a £40 fine for students being disruptive during Quiet Period, there should be more measures put in place to reduce the noise coming from the construction sites.
In reaction to the situation students have set up the Facebook groups ‘The noise from the LICA building is completely unfair!’ and ‘Grizedale Construction-Site Noise is Completely Unfair!’ to raise awareness about the noise disturbances.
For most students it is not the noise from the construction itself that is the main problem but the builders who are causing them to wake up at 7.30am.
Charlotte Wilkins, creator of the LICA Facebook group, told SCAN:
“[the building work] has woken up one of my flatmates at 7.30am. We are told [that] building work is not meant to start until 8am although I still think this is too early as it should be up to the individual when they want to sleep or wake up. There have also been complaints about builders singing or shouting at students.”
The noise from these sites makes it difficult for some students to revise in their rooms, particularly as the weather gets hotter and windows are opened.
Tom Woods, creator of the Waterside Facebook group, said:
“Even though there are many places on the University where you can go to work, some people just prefer to work in their own rooms. If you’re really close [to the site] it means that you can’t really relax in your own personal space. I have a room-mate who has resorted to industrial type ear-muffs.”
County College JCR President Matt Saint is targeting the issue. “I have received several complaints from students which I am going to forward both to Estates and to the project managers of County South and LICA,” he said. County is the closest college to the LICA building site.
Despite the uproar from students the Residencies Manager, Candace Davies, has only received two official complaints and both have been about the Waterside construction, with no mention of the LICA site.
She told SCAN:
“We do try to offer other study areas for people and try to keep them informed about as much as we can about what is up and coming and what will create noise.”
One of the student complaints has been the lack of information received prior to the work taking place.
“We were not given notification that [the LICA construction] would be taking place until three weeks after they had started the work,” said Wilkins.
However, Davies commented that:
“We always have a paragraph on our webpage saying ‘Please be aware that construction may be going on in the college during the year’. We update [the page] each year when we know what projects are coming up.”
The severe winter weather conditions are a significant reason that progress at the sites has been slow.
“What we normally hope is that the building work has progressed and they get more of the outside structure of the building done so that the noise is lessened since it is within the envelop of the building,” Davies added. “However, because of the winter weather it is still an open structure.”
The university’s Facilities department is in charge of new constructions and manages them throughout the course of their completion.
“We do put in a contract clause about the University’s Quiet Period but we don’t stop work as we would never get anything built,” said Mark Swindlehurst, Director of Facilities. “All contractors are reminded at the monthly progress meetings to minimise noise where at all possible, but construction activities are not quiet.”