Neighbourhood noise

 Air conditioners, pool pumps and intruder alarms are some examples of noise that can disturb you or your neighbour. Noise disturbances are controlled under the provisions of the Protection of the Environment Act 1997.       

Resolving a dispute with a neighbour

Before taking formal steps to complain about noise you should attempt to contact your neighbour to discuss the problem and try to work out an appropriate solution. Be tactful when bringing the complaint to their notice as they might not realise there is a problem. You may wish to consider carefully what impact contacting authorities about noise will have on your future relationship with your neighbour and the potential benefits of coming to an agreement where possible.

View tips to help you talk to your neighbour

If your complaint is of a nature that Council can't assist with, the NSW Government's Community Justice Centres may be of help. These centres provide free, confidential mediation and conflict management.

Time restrictions

There are time restrictions when noise from items on residential premises should not be heard inside a habitable room of a neighbour’s house.

Noise Source Time restrictions
Power tools

8pm - 8am on any Saturday, Sunday or public holiday

8pm to 7am on any other day

Pumps and heat water pumps (incl. swimming pool and spa pumps)

8pm - 8am on any Saturday, Sunday or public holiday

8pm to 7am on any other day


Midnight to 8am on Friday, Saturday or any day preceding a  public holiday

10pm - 8am on any other day

Air conditioner or water heaters

10pm - 8am on weekends and public holidays

10pm to 7am on weekdays

Motor vehicles (except when entering or leaving residence)

8pm to 8am on weekends and public holidays

8pm to 7am on any other day

Refrigeration unit fitted to motor vehicles

8pm - 8am on weekends and public holidays

8pm to 7am on any other day

Air conditioner and pool pumps - preventing noise pollution

When installing new equipment such as air conditioning or pool filtration systems, consider the location where the equipment will be placed. Ideally, air conditioners and pool pumps should not be installed along the sides of your property near neighbours windows.

Before installing a new air conditioner you should check that the proposed location and operation complies with the noise requirements of the development standards for air conditioning units as per the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008.

As a general guide the background noise levels in residential Ku-ring-gai are between 30dB(A) - 40dB(A). You may wish to engage an acoustic consultant to have the background noise levels in your area measured to aid in your selection of a suitable air conditioning unit.


If you’re bothered by excessive noise or anti-social behaviour from a party late at night, contact your local police.

If you're planning a party, it’s a good idea to notify your neighbours in advance and give them your contact details so that they can contact you directly rather than the police with any concerns. Be considerate when locating your sound system and make sure that your speakers are not facing towards the neighbours home and if possible turn down the bass as this is often what bothers neighbours. If your party goes into the late evening, turn the music down, close windows and doors and move sound equipment and guests inside your house.

Intruder alarms

If you suspect theft is the cause of the sounding alarm contact your local police.

Intruder alarms on buildings should not sound for more than 5 mins if installed on or after 1 December 1997 or 10 mins if installed before 1 December 1997.

If you can’t resolve a noise problem directly with your neighbour, contact us.

Construction hours during COVID-19

In order to keep work sites and jobs flowing during COVID-19, the NSW Government has allowed standard construction hours to be extended to include weekends and public holidays from 7am to 5pm. During these extended hours such works cannot include rock breaking, rock hammering, pile driving or similar activities.

NSW Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes said the move allows workers to abide by social distancing rules while keeping construction projects progressing through spreading work across more days of the week. More information please visit NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment

Other noise sources

Some types of noise complaints are investigated by other government agencies.

Noise Source Contact
Pub, club or licensed premises - loud music or patron noise Liquor & Gaming NSW ph: 1300 024 720
Commercial airports and aircraft in flight

Airservices Australia ph: 1800 802 584 or 1300 302 240

Midnight - 8am on Friday, Saturday or any day preceding a public holiday

Freeways, tollways, main roads Recreational boating, jet skis

Roads and Maritime Services On-line Contact

Pollution from motor vehicles, noisy exhaust, smoky vehicle, littering from a vehicle

NSW Environment Protection Authority

Ph: Environment Line 131 555

On-line report

EnviroLine: 1300 550 402

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