How Do I Address a Construction Site Eyesore?

Homeowners have the right to expect construction sites be kept clean and orderly. What should you do when it becomes a mess? The answer starts with communicating with the builder.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Question: They have been building a house down the block for the last several months. Besides the trucks coming and going, the site is a mess, with debris in the yard and a porta-potty out along the street. While I understand the realities of construction, there is no reason for this ongoing eyesore. What should we do? — Alejandro

Answer: Constructing a new home can be lengthy and complex, involving different contractors working in stages. Some messiness and noise are unavoidable. That said, this does not mean that the builder can ignore the safety and aesthetic concerns of the neighbors. You have the right to expect that the construction site is kept as clean and orderly as possible and that the builder follows the local regulations.

The first step to resolving any issue with a construction site is to communicate with the builder directly. You should be able to find the builder’s contact information from the signs on the site or from the city’s building department.

Reach out and politely express your concerns and ask for cooperation in keeping the disturbance to a minimum. For example, you can request that they remove the debris, clean the porta-potty regularly, set it back from the street, and limit the hours of operation to avoid disturbing the neighbors. You should also ask for a project timeline.

If the builder will not speak with you or does not address your concerns, contact your municipality’s building department and discuss your concerns with them. If there are any building code violations, such as improper waste disposal, lack of permits, or unsafe conditions, they can take action.

Similarly, contact the city’s code enforcement department to report any issues they are responsible for. Ask the authorities to inspect the site and issue warnings, fines, or stop-work orders to the builder if they find any problems.

When dealing with this type of problem, it is important to remember that the point is not to get the builder in trouble; it is to persuade the builder to minimize the disturbance to the neighborhood.

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