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Noise

Noise

Sound is a normal part of everyday life. Noise is unwanted or unpleasant sound and can interrupt our daily lives. The Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997 set noise levels for different parts of a neighbourhood at different times of the day. The Regulations allow a level of noise and do not require absolute quiet. Where noisy activities are permitted, some of these are restricted to certain times and duration. 
Below are some of the most common sources of noise that may impact your day, and what you can do to resolve them it is recommended you review this information prior to lodging your noise complaint.

Airconditioners

Noise from airconditioners is required to comply with the levels set out in the Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997. Property owners and installers need to be aware they have a statutory responsibility under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 to ensure the noise from new airconditioner systems when positioned on a property, complies with these levels.

There are significant penalties for non-compliance and an installer of a noisy airconditioner can face legal action under the Act.  Non-compliant equipment can be restricted from being used and required to be relocated or have appropriate noise reduction measures implemented.     

With the size reduction of the average residential block and houses becoming closer to each other, it's important that property owners and installers locate air-conditioners in the most suitable location and all practical noise suppression options are used. While you may not be able to hear noise from your air-conditioner on your property, your neighbours may experience unreasonable noise from your air-conditioner at their property.  

In general, if noise from air-conditioner system can be heard inside a neighbour's home after 10pm, the noise is unreasonable and wouldn't comply with the assigned noise levels. If the City receives a complaint, an Environmental Health Officer may undertake noise measurements from the complainant's residence to determine the noise levels and regulatory compliance.

The Installers Guide to Air Conditioner Noise provides information to installers and residents regarding various factors that influence noise received by a neighbour. It is strongly recommended for consideration prior to the installation of an air-conditioner.

Additional information, guidance and calculation tools to help you select and locate an appropriate air-conditioner is available at the Fair Air website and the City's Visual and Acoustic Privacy Guideline for Swimming Pool, Spas and Air-conditioners.

Further to this you may wish to consult an acoustic consultant for professional guidance/assistance to provide a level of surety that your airconditioner won't emit unreasonable noise for neighbours.  Prior to installing an airconditioner, you may wish to discuss with neighbours. They can inform you of noise sensitive areas on their property which you may take into consideration.

Alarms
House security alarms and car alarms can be annoying if they sound for a continuous period. Police are authorised to turn off alarms if they have been sounding for more than half an hour. Environmental Health Officers can assist where the alarm system becomes an ongoing problem.

For information regarding reverse alarms please refer to the City’s information sheet on this topic.

Construction sites
The Regulations permit construction site activities between 7am and 7pm, Monday to Saturday.  Workers can be on site outside of these hours during quiet times; however, noisy activities are not allowed. Examples of quieter activities which could be undertaken and shouldn't cause a noise nuisance are:
• putting up string lines
• digging with a shovel
• rendering with an electric mixer inside the walls of the new building
• painting
• tiling without use of power tools
• paving without use of power tools.

Noisy construction work on a Sunday or public holiday is not permitted unless it is shown to be reasonably necessary and a noise management plan has been approved by the City of Nedlands.
Stereos on construction sites should not be turned on before 7am.

For more information on Noise Management Plans please refer to the specific section on the website

Council Essential Services
Council essential services includes the following activities:
• Waste collection
• Road and drain cleaning
• Cleaning of public places, e.g. parks, beaches, footpaths and beaches
• Maintenance of road verges and public open space

7 am-7 pm Monday to Saturday and 9 am-7 pm Sunday or public holiday. With an approved Noise Management Plan essential services may be conducted outside of these hours provided the relevant controls are in place.

Musical instrument on residential premises
Noise Regulation levels don't apply to noise emitted from a musical instrument used on a residential premises on any day if:
• the instrument hasn't been used for more than 1 hour since the beginning of the relevant day
• the instrument is used:

  • between 7am and 7pm on Mondays to Saturday; and
  • between 9am and 7pm on a Sunday or public holiday.

Band practice/multiple instrument sessions are not suitable in the residential area and an alternative location should be used for rehearsal.

Party Noise
Noise from parties can be disturbing, particularly if it is excessively loud or happens regularly. Most neighbours will tolerate one-off parties if they are told in advance.

It is generally accepted that music will be turned down or off at midnight but this is not law.

The City’s officers do not respond to noisy parties after hours or deal with behavioural matters associated with parties; these complaints should be referred to the Police on 131 444. Police have the power to issue directions, turn off music, confiscate equipment and maintain order.

If you intend to have a party and are concerned that some neighbours might be upset about the noise, try these suggestions:

  • Close all windows and doors, if possible, and use exhaust fans or the air-conditioner to make the inside comfortable.  This will help to keep the party noise inside.
  • Don’t use speakers outside the house.
  • Start your party earlier so that it can finish earlier.
  • Set the volume control, so as to ensure the music is not audible inside your neighbour’s home after 10.00pm on weeknights or midnight on Friday and Saturday nights.
  • Ensure that partygoers do not cause a nuisance with offensive language or behaviour while at the party or when leaving.
  • If possible, use a room that has few windows and doors to the outside.  Some rumpus rooms are built this way.
  • Let your neighbours know about the party and its expected completion time.

The City may assist where parties are an ongoing problem, occurring on a regular basis. 

Planes, trains, vehicles and vehicle deliveries
Noise from aircraft, rail, or the propulsion and braking systems of vehicles on public roads, is not controlled by the Regulations.
Vehicle deliveries and those servicing premises/shops should do so between 7am and 7pm (there are exceptions).

Power tools and like equipment on residential premises
Power tools and equipment which requires the constant presence of an operator can be used on residential premises for up to 2 hours (cumulative time) per day between the following hours:
• 7am - 7pm Monday to Saturday
• 9am - 7pm Sundays and Public Holidays
Such equipment would include power drills, grinders, welders, lawn mowers, lawn edgers, grass trimmers, leaf blowers, lathes and cutting machines.

Swimming pools/spa pumps
Noise form swimming pool and spa pumps are required to comply with the assigned noise levels set out in the Regulations.

As new homes get bigger or are built on smaller blocks, noise becomes a bigger problem in the community. So it's important property owners and pool installers give proper consideration to where pool or spa pumps are located, and all practical noise suppression techniques are used.

In general, if noise from pool and spa pumps can be heard inside a neighbour's home after 10pm, the noise is unreasonable and wouldn't comply with the assigned noise levels. Remember to carry out regular maintenance to pool and spa pumps, including regular servicing by qualified personnel.

For further guidance, refer to the City’s Visual and Acoustic Privacy Guideline for Swimming Pool, Spas and Airconditioners.