Arriving Late and Departing Early in Old Braeswood

“At 11:20 pm last night, my husband and I heard the sound of heavy scraping, metal on concrete,” reports a neighbor of the recently sold teardown at 2530 Maroneal in Old Braeswood. “It is an odd sound to hear at that time of night. It was at least 8 hours too early for trash pick-up, and it went on for a long time. After about five minutes of listening to this my curiosity and frustration drove me to get out of bed, robe up, grab my eye glasses and see what I could see. The back of my property was dark but that’s where the noise was coming from. We called the police. By the time we finished giving the police our information, the sound shifted to that of a large truck driving away. I’d guess whatever they were doing back there took about 15 minutes to execute.”

Morning light revealed 2 new neighbors: the Dumpster pictured above and this machine:


Demolition began around noonish today. The neighbor wants to know: Is this sort of overnight demolition jumpstart typical — or even allowed?

Photos: Swamplot inbox

26 Comment

  • Exactly what did you tell the police? Please tell me you did not call 911. Hello 911…yes I hear progress, please come stop it!

  • It’s called mobilization. Someone is renting this equipment for the demo and the rental company delivered overnight for the next morning. Usually it’s done the night before or in the morning before work starts.

  • Since we are on the subject, is residential construction allowed on Sundays? The house next to me is being torn down, which is a good thing, and I am ready for months of construction noise, but I hope we get a break on Sundays.

  • It’s perfectly legal, COH does not technically have restrictions on times you can work. It is a bit early though, stuff like this usually is delivered at 6 am at the earliest.

  • You knew the house was being demoed so didn’t you think maybe it was the equipment? It lasted 15 minutes so really was it that big of a deal? I’ll admit it would be annoying, but did you really think you needed to call the police? I guess better safe than sorry, but yeah I really hope you didn’t use 911 for something so trivial.

  • In COH you can work 24/7 … but most people don’t. Some smaller cities like Bellaire and West U may have some stricter restriction. Also certain neighborhoods (usually gated ones) also have specific hours and days for construction.

  • If I heard construction noise next door in the middle of the night, I’d be concerned, too. There’s no way for a neighbor to know it was just a quick delivery. For all they knew, it could have been an unscrupulous contractor who didn’t quite have a demolition permit looking to pull a fast one on the City. And if you’re fair, noise is noise, whether it’s a party, a barking dog, a rooster, or a construction site – you’re within your bounds to call the cops if it bothers you.
    As far as official rules on when construction can start and what days they can work on – the City of Houston does not regulate it, but most Deed Restrictions do – even in older neighborhoods. That’s where I would look first to answer txdesign’s question.

  • There is no work hours regulation, but the noise ordinance pretty much is a de facto work hours regulation. Rolling out a dumpster at 11:00 pm at night is low class, scumbag crap. No reason that the delivery couldn’t be made during normal hours. Just introduce yourself to the contractor, ask for his cell number so you can get in touch if there are any problems with the construction. Then call him at 11 pm. When he gets bent out of shape, tell him that you don’t understand why he would be upset as he has no problem disturbing you at 11 pm just to deliver a dumpster.

  • That excavator appears to be whizzing hydraulic fluid.

  • I have lived next to the construction of a pack of townhouses for the last 7 months. Construction can take place at any time. Sometimes the workers show up at 6 am sometimes 9 am. Sometimes they live at 5 pm, sometimes 9 pm. Sometimes they show up on Saturday and Sunday, sometimes they don’t. The HOA is in service to the developer and the developer couldn’t care less about the quality of life of the people living within the same development. I am very much in favor of the COH putting in place regulations relating to construction hours.

  • I live in the other Braeswood (Place). And there are 3 new home sites adjacent to me with a soon to be 4th. Yep, I was surprised they work on Saturdays and Sundays as well. We do have a pretty active HOA and deed restrictions. I’ll have to check with them about the Saturday and Sunday gigs.

  • Construction workers tend to start quite early. During the summer they may knock off early, too; however, during the cooler months when it tends to rain more, they will pack in as much time as they can – it’s all a factor of the weather.

  • On a related note, a number of years ago I lived across the street from a condo complex. For no apparent reason, their dumpster started getting picked up in the middle of the night. After the second or third time this happened, I looked up the company president’s name in the public records; as luck would have it he had a listed phone number. The next time it happened I called and woke him up while the racket was going on.

    That was the last 3 AM pickup.

  • Houston Code of Ordinances
    Chapter 30 Noise and Sound Level Regulation

    Sec. 30-1. Definitions.

    Daytime hours means the hours between 8 a.m. on one day and 10 p.m. the same day.

    Nighttime hours means the hours between 10:01 p.m. on one day and 7:59 a.m. the following day.

    Sec. 30-5. Maximum permissible sound levels.

    (a) In addition to the violations established by the preceding sections of this chapter, it is unlawful for any person to make, assist in making, permit, continue, cause to be made or continued, or permit the continuance of any sound at any location beyond the property lines of the property on which the sound is being generated that when measured as provided in section 30-6 of this Code exceeds the applicable dB(A) level listed below for the property on which the sound is received:

    (1) Residential property:
    a. 65 dB(A) during daytime hours.
    b. 58 dB(A) during nighttime hours.
    (2) Nonresidential property: 68 dB(A) at all times.

    Any sound that exceeds the dB(A) levels set forth in this section under the conditions and measurement criteria set forth in this chapter is a violation of this chapter. Evidence that an activity or sound source produces a sound that exceeds the dB(A) levels specified in this section shall be prima facie evidence of a sound that unreasonably disturbs, injures, or endangers the comfort, repose, health, peace, or safety of others in violation of this chapter.

    (b) Regardless of the measurable dB(A) level established in this chapter and measured in a manner provided in section 30-6, the creation of any sound causing persons occupying or using any property other than the property upon which the sound is being generated to be aware of vibrations or resonance caused by the sound shall be prima facie evidence of a sound that unreasonably disturbs, injures, or endangers the comfort, repose, health, peace, or safety of others in violation of this chapter.

    Sec. 30-16. Defenses.

    The following defenses shall apply to any offense established in this chapter:

    (5) The sound was produced by the erection, excavation, construction, or demolition of any building or structure, including the use of any necessary tools or equipment, conducted between the hours of 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., which activity did not produce a sound exceeding 85 dB(A) when measured from the property line of the residential property where the sound is being received.

  • Noise ordinances are nice and dandy but notoriously difficult to enforce.

  • I did some digging around – 58-65 dB(A) is the range of normal conversation, 85 is on the quieter end of power lawnmowers.

  • Welcome to Houston.

  • Thanks for the responses. I forgot to mention that I have a home office. This is in response to the person who suggested I just “leave”.

  • It was my note to Gus that started this thread (thanks Gus!) and I appreciate the helpful comments. To be clear, the dumpster was delivered at noon Monday according to the property’s new owner and the dumpster rental company who called me back promptly yesterday. It was the delivery of the bulldozer that caused all the racket. The property owner and his GC confirmed this yesterday as they apologized.

    So yes, I knew the home would be demolished but I didn’t know when. We were concerned about a pre-permit demolition. No, we didn’t call the emergency number, we called the non-emergency police number. Actually, my husband did that while I called 311 and talked to a COH person who thought the situation was bizarre and troubling also.

    I’ve lived in Houston for 30+ years and have seen a lot of construction in the residential neighborhoods I’ve called home. I have never seen a bulldozer delivered in the middle of the night. That was a new one to me. Maybe this is part of the current real estate boom in our fair city but I hope you all don’t experience it!

    Thanks for publishing the noise ordinance, too, Anonymous and Mollusk. My husband is part of the deed restriction committee and I’ll share this info with him so they can review it.

  • Thanks Karen for the clarification/update.

    This is yet another reason we need the noise ordinance to stay. Some bars/entertainers are trying to get the COH to revert back to the old way, which would make it much harder to enforce the noise ordinance.

  • #19 txdesign,

    If you are referring to Duston’s #10 post, I think he was correcting the word “live” (in post 10) to the word “leave” (in post 11).

    And Karen, I don’t blame you at all. I’d be concerned too and more than likely I and 3 or 4 additional neighbors would be out there with flashlights checking out the scene.

  • “We were concerned about a pre-permit demolition. ”
    Karen, serious question: Why? I’m not trying to be a jerk, I’m just wondering why you would care?

  • Is pre-permit demolition is as bad a a premature “detonation”? ;)

  • Cody – I would be concerned about pre-permit demolition because to me that indicates the contractors might be trying to pull a fast one on the City,and if they’re doing that, then what else are they doing?
    I know pre-permit demolition could just be someone didn’t file the appropriate paperwork. The more complex the requirements, the more likely something will be dropped. But still, contractors owe it to themselves to stay on the up and up. And neighbors are absolutely right to be concerned when they don’t.

  • Cody – I worry about contractors doing stupid things like hitting gas lines or the electrical lines that run between our properties in back, damaging our property by doing demo in the middle of the night….lots there to concern me.