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.
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 - from residential premises
||Time restrictions - when noise should not be heard in a habitable room in a neighbour's residence
|Power tools and equipment (eg. leaf blowers, chainsaws, swimming pool pumps)
8pm - 7am on weekdays and Saturdays
||8pm - 8am on Sundays and public holidays
|Music (eg. live instruments, radios, TVs, CD and DVD players, home theatre systems)
10pm - 8am Sunday to Thursday
||Midnight - 8am on Friday, Saturday or any day preceding a public holiday
|Air conditioners and heat pump water heaters
10pm - 7am on weekdays
||10pm - 8am on weekends and public holidays
|Motor vehicles (except when entering or leaving residence)
8pm - 7am on weekdays
|Noise from residential premises
||8pm - 8am on weekends and public holidays
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 requirements of the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008.
This guide may assist you in considering the external noise and positioning of your new air conditioner prior to purchase Assessment Tool Air Conditioner (pdf. 1MB).
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.
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 noise on building sites
The times during which construction may occur on a residential building site are managed by conditions of consent on development approvals or complying development certificates.
Under development approval the permitted hours of operation on a building site are 7am to 5pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 12 noon Saturday. Where excavation equipment is being used on the building site further restrictions may be applied to reduce noise impacts. These include requiring a respite break of 45 minutes between 12 noon and 1pm weekdays and no excavation using machinery on Saturdays.
Where a complying development certificate has been issued the hours of operation are 7am – 5pm Monday to Saturday.
No work on the building site is permitted on Sundays and public holidays.
It is sometimes necessary for works to occur outside of the standard approved hours. These circumstances may be where building processes require the use of oversized trucks and/or cranes that are restricted by Roads and Maritime Services from travelling during daylight hours or placement of concrete for floor areas on large residential developments. Such building activities are subject to the issue of an outside of hours work permit issued by Council. It is a requirement of the permit that nearby residents be notified of the proposed activity in accordance with Council’s Local Approvals Policy.
If you are concerned that a building site may be operating outside of approved hours you can contact us.
Other noise sources
Some types of noise complaints are investigated by other government agencies.