Permitted noise levels

State law specifies permitted sound levels (dB levels) for all times of day. These level become strict after 7pm and stricter still past 10pm.

If you can hear noise from your property at your boundary line past 10pm the levels are almost certainly above the permitted levels and may be impacting your neighbour. There are different permitted dB levels for different types of noise, see the tables below:

To allow for reasonable activities that are likely to accede these levels, some exemptions apply, these include:  

Musical instrument use

It is deemed reasonable that a resident can practice a musical instrument for up to an hour a day over the permitted dB levels. 

When: Up to 1 hour a day permitted between: 7am – 7pm, Monday – Saturday or 9am – 7pm Sunday & Public Holidays. 

Section in regulations: Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997 r.14(2)(b)(ii)

Hand held/operated equipment 

It is deemed reasonable that a resident can use hand operated tools or equipment (hammers, drills, lawn mower, whipper snipper etc.) for a maximum 2 hours a day.

When: Up to 2 hours a day permitted between: 7am – 7pm, Monday – Saturday or 9am – 7pm Sunday & Public Holiday’s

Section in regulations: Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997 r.14(2b)(b)(i)

Construction work

Construction work is often required in residential areas and is deemed reasonable when carried out appropriately.

When: Anytime between:  7am – 7pm, Monday – Saturday

Section in regulations: Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997 r.13(3)

See also: Building and construction site management for advise on Noise Management Plans.

Waste collection

Noise from waste collection is deemed reasonable when carried out appropriately.

When: Anytime between: 7am – 7pm, Monday – Saturday and  9am – 7pm Sunday & Public Holidays. (unless otherwise approved by the council)

Section in regulations: Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997 r.14A

Vehicle noise

Vehicle noise (from a vehicle operating on a road) is exempt from the regulations, car stereos need to comply with the permitted levels, but the noise from the operation of the vehicle is exempt.

When: at all times

Section in regulations: Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997 r.3

People noise/voices

People noise (talking, yelling, crying baby etc.) is not investigated by the City under the relevant regulations.  

Other

There are other exemptions related to emergency works, safety alarms, trains, safety beepers and approved concert noise.

Noise complaints

If you have a concern about noise in your neighbourhood, the City recommends you first approach your neighbour to explain how the noise is affecting you.

Often your neighbours may not even realise that they are disturbing other residents.

Negotiate with your neighbours and keep each other informed of any potentially noisy events such as parties.

If you wish to have your formal complaint investigated by the City, please complete and return a Noise investigation request below.

Noise investigation

The City can assist with enquiries about the following types of noise sources, and investigate complaints regarding:

  • Stereo noise and music instruments
  • Construction noise, commercial and industrial noise
  • Hand held equipment (including lawn mowers, hammers etc.)
  • Roosters and other noisy birds
  • Air conditioner units and other equipment noise
  • Alarms.

See also: Barking dogs.

The City’s Health Services cannot investigate noise associated with:

*Please contact the Local Police for advice and assistance on 131 444.

Page Last Reviewed 2 December 2019