Just before you go to the expense of hiring noise (or vibration) measurement equipment for use in noise disputes/legal matters or indeed the gathering of any noise evidence, you need to consider the following:
(1) Are you sufficiently impartial and detached from the matter to provide independent and impartial noise (or vibration reporting)?
(2) Are you suitably trained and qualified to measure noise or vibration?
(3) Is a court or legal party going to accept evidence from someone who may not be formally qualified in noise or vibration? In legal disputes, you may only find out on the day of the court that the opposing legal party refuse to accept your evidence, having incurred hire costs and legal costs.
(4) Has the hire company simply provided you with equipment that will remain unattended. It is well established that unattended measurements present risk and it is essential to ensure that a noise expert remains involved in the process.
So think again before you hire equipment as an alternative to hiring a qualified noise consultant who can provide you with impartial an independent advice, combined with providing you with proper expertise and advice.
Qualified noise experts who regularly present evidence in court are reluctant to rely on third party data due to measurement uncertainty.
There are specific standards and guidance that should be followed when gathering noise (& vibration) measurement information which comes with formal training and study.
We would always advise that while hiring noise & vibration equipment may ‘appear’ to be initially cheaper, it is not always the case and in long run.
For legal matters, having a qualified noise consultant who has both witnessed the noise climate and is in a position to assess the measured noise against relevant standards is vital. Remember the role of a qualified noise consultant is to gather noise measurement data that you (and your legal team) can rely upon.
It is also advised that any ‘noise consultant’ hired holds formal qualifications in acoustics. For example being an ‘engineer’ or ‘chartered engineer’ alone is not necessiarly sufficient. There are many disciplines within engineering, so always look for a consultants CV to establish that they have formally studied acoustic before appointment. In a court environment in cross-examination it is not uncommon to ask “Mr/Mrs/Ms. X, can you please state your formal qualifications for the court?”, so that the court can rely on the evidence presented. The strength of evidence can be compromised if it cannot be demonstrated that the consultant is suitably qualified.