Neighbourhood Noise

Noise is classified as unwanted sound.  Too much noise can seriously disrupt peoples’ lives, causing loss of sleep, interference to activities and emotional stress. 

Many of us have been disturbed from time to time by neighbourhood noise. As a first point of call you should always attempt to resolve any dispute with a neighbour by talking to them and trying to reach a satisfactory solution. 

This information sheet is to give residents further direction on the Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997.  

Fixed Equipment

When installing fixed equipment such as air conditioners and pool pumps, remember that they may be operated for several hours per day and sometimes when neighbours are trying to sleep. Constant noise can become very annoying even if it does comply with Australian Standards.  It is advisable, if possible, to position fixed equipment away from neighbours and sleeping areas.


Loud music accounts for up to 40% of all noise enquiries received. As a guide, music that is clearly audible at the boundary of a property may cause a disturbance and is likely to exceed allowable noise levels. Music with a dominant bass component can be disturbing even when it doesn’t appear to be loud.

Party Noise

The hosting of the occasional party or a 'one off' large party is not considered excessive noise provided consideration is given to your neighbours. If you are considering entertaining outside it may be worth trying the following suggestions to avoid strained relationships with your neighbours.

  • Start your party earlier in the day so that it can finish earlier.
  • Avoid using speakers outside the house.
  • Let your neighbours know about the party time and the time you expect to finish.
  • Adjust the volume control (especially the bass) to ensure the music does not annoy your neighbours.
  • If possible move your guests inside if the party is likely to finish late at night (after midnight) and close all windows and doors to contain the noise to your home.

Musical Instruments

It is often very difficult for musical students to effectively practice the playing of a musical instrument without the neighbours being able to hear it; however the level of noise can be reduced if the following steps are taken:

  • Play the instrument in a suitable room (a garden shed is not considered a suitable room).
  • In the case of electronically amplified instruments maintain the volume at the lowest level possible.
  • Consider utilising the sound off pads and cymbal silencers on drum kits.
  • Only practice during the day for a maximum of one hour per day.
  • If possible, advise the neighbours of your intentions - for example - practice days and times.

 Power Tools

The use of power tools is inherently noisy so some careful consideration by the user should be adhered to.

The use of power tools should be restricted to between 7am and 7pm Mondays to Saturdays with a later start of 9am on Sundays and Public Holidays, and operated for no longer than 2 hours per day. 

The equipment should be in good working order and compatible with the work being undertaken.  If using a static unit such as a brick saw or compressor it is advisable to position it away from neighbours and sleeping areas.

Noisy equipment such as lawn mowers, leaf blowers and whipper-snippers should be used later in the day to avoid disturbance.

Construction Sites

Work that creates noise on a building site can be carried out between 7am and 7pm on Monday to Saturday (excluding public holidays) provided:

  • The equipment is the quietest reasonably available; and
  • Construction work is carried out in accordance with the control of environmental noise practices set out in section 6 of the Australian Standard 2436 – 1981.

For work carried out on a Sunday or public holidays, the builder will need to have an approved noise management plan which should include how they propose to do the work and respond to any complaints should they arise.

Intruder Alarms

Noise arising from the activation of audible intruder alarms can often cause considerable disturbance. If an alarm has been sounding for thirty minutes or more, contact the local police.

Further information

A copy of the Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997 can be found on the State Law Publisher website at