Neighbours See Red as Construction Hours Extended
Earlier this month we published an article confirming that construction companies operating in Ireland have been given de facto permission to continue to work outside of regular or permitted construction hours. This permission comes under the guise of 'discretion', which local authorities have been instructed by the Housing Department to show. This guidance was issued in a circular from the Department and you can read more about this here.
Almost immediately, the Sunday Independent reported that 'Neighbours see red as build time extended for CyprusOne', which is a large - and critically important - data centre project on the outskirts of the capital.
CyprusOne is a global data centre builder and the project is now facing backlash because of extended working hours at the €400 million site in Grange Castle Business Park, South Dublin. While the operation of data centres in Ireland was classed as an 'essential service' during the period of Covid-19 shutdown, the construction of them was not. Therefore, construction activities on the Grange Castle site, like all other data centre construction sites, were halted for much of March, April and May. As we entered the first phase for reopening Ireland after the pandemic, construction companies slowly began to get back on site and finally break ground after a two/three month shutdown. In an effort to regain momentum onsite and to make up for productivity losses as a result of the shutdown and of implementing ongoing pandemic safety measures, including social distancing, building sites have been given leeway in terms of out-of-hours activities on site. CyprusOne, like most sites, was given new open hours to accommodate two daily shifts until November 2020, these are: 7am to 11pm from Monday to Saturday and 7am to 7pm on Sundays.
Unsurprisingly, not everybody agrees with these extended hours and local residents have started to complain to the local authority's planning enforcement offices to have the regular hours reinstated. The Sunday Independent reports that the residents feel aggrieved that the construction sector was not the only one affected by the pandemic shutdown so why should they get special treatment? Also, they have indicated that they will consider legal action if the late night disruptions are to continue.
Matt Pullen, EVP Managing Director Europe of CyprusOne has said, in response to recordings that neighbours made from the late night construction noise, "All works associated with the derogations are internal and seek not to disturb the surrounding areas in any manner". This backlash is just the most recent in a series of bad publicity for the data centre sector, which is vital for all of the cloud services that we have come to rely on in recent years, and particularly during this period of working from home. In the space of 8 years, from 2010 to 2018, it is estimated that roughly €7.13 billion had been contributed to the Irish economy by the data centre industry. Also, Ireland's ICT sector is one of the highest performers across developed countries, per 2019 data. According to the France Ireland Chamber of Commerce, Ireland has become known as the data bridge between America and Europe due to the network of submarine cables that connect Ireland to America. The sector is routinely linked to the overconsumption of vital resources, including water and energy, and it is criticised for not generating employment relative to the scale and value of the operations, however, millions of people use the cloud on a daily basis to store all kinds of information from their mobile devices. Resisting the building of data centres simply delays the upgrades and improvements that have to be made to this service on a consistent basis, in line with consumer use and behaviours. To put it simply, if this is a service that you use, and want to continue using, these data centres must be allowed to be built. But there is a better way for the site owners and managers to navigate community engagement. This is something the specialist team here at Sonitus Systems advise on every day.
Sonitus Systems supply robust and reliable sound level monitoring equipment globally from their base in Dublin. Their award-winning products and services allow users to easily monitor and assess noise levels in any scenario to ensure compliance. For more information, call the team Sonitus Systems on +353 1 6778443 or email firstname.lastname@example.org