Noise

Noise

 

What Is Unreasonable Noise?

Equipment Commonly Used At Home

Parties, Amplified Music and People's Behaviour

Security Alarms

Building and Work Sites

Essential Services

Mechanical Noise (Air Conditioners)

I Want To Do The 'Right Thing' and Be Considerate Of My Neighbours

I Am Affected By Noise But Want To Maintain Good Neighbourly Relations

I Am Still Affected By Unreasonable Noise - What Do I Do Now?

What is Unreasonable Noise?

Most of us have been disturbed by loud noise at some stage during our lives. Some of us may have been responsible for causing noise that has affected our neighbour. With the current trend towards smaller block sizes and denser land use, the chances of producing noise affecting others has increased.

Noise not only creates a nuisance due to its loudness, but it can also contain annoying characteristics such as being impulsive (a banging hammer, knocking) or modulating (a siren, music) or tonal (whining sounds, music).

For problems with noise from barking dogs, please go to Dog Barking whereby City Rangers can take action under the Dog Act 1976.

The Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997 (the Regulations) set limits depending on the time of day or night and/or day of the week. The Regulations do allow certain 'noisy' activities (as described below) being carried out subject to strict conditions. Noise emitted in excess of the noise limits or not in accordance with an exemption is deemed to be unreasonable. As a guide, noise which is clearly audible at a residential boundary may exceed the limits.

Please note that roosters must not be kept within the City under its Health Local Laws (for further information on poultry please go to Health Services).

For an overview of the types of noise and obligations please go to Quick Guide.

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Equipment Commonly Used At Home

Your home should be a place of privacy, comfort, peace and harmony. However, the Regulations do provide exemptions for the necessary chores and leisure activities routinely taking place in the home environment which may create noise.

 Such activities may be carried out between:

  • 7am - 7pm Monday to Saturday
  • 9am - 7pm Sundays and Public Holidays

Equipment that requires the constant presence of an operator e.g. lawn mower and power tools, may not be used for more than 2 hours per day. Musical instruments, sporting equipment may not be used for more than 1 hour per day. The equipment must be used in a reasonable manner e.g. as intended by the manufacturer or, if playing musical instruments, inside the home with the windows and doors closed.

Noise from equipment or activities carried out at home but normally associated with a commercial operation would not be deemed reasonable and must comply with the noise limits.

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Parties, Amplified Music and People's Behaviour

Music may likely be regarded as unreasonable by neighbours if it can be heard clearly at their boundary. Noise limits significantly reduce after 10pm Monday - Saturday and after 7pm on Sundays. Disruptive party music and/or anti-social behaviour e.g. screaming, yelling, abuse and intimidation should be referred to the Police on 131 444 (Police have noise authority and are trained and properly equipped to deal with these types of noises).

Neighbours will more than likely tolerate 'one off parties' if they have been given advance warning through a letterdrop providing the:

  • address and date of the party (neighbours may wish to make alternative arrangements and go out);
  • time the music will be switched off or turned down significantly;
  • party organiser's phone number who should be contactable at all times.

Neighbours are still entitled to seek Police assistance should the music/noise be unbearable. Some party organisors mistakenly believe that party music can legally be played until midnight. There are no such exemptions under the Regulations, although neighbours may be accepting of this situation on Friday or Saturday nights.

Outdoor speaker use should be minimized and directed away from neighbours' homes, the bass kept low and the party moved indoors with windows and doors closed if its going to be a late finish.

Music levels from concerts and other major events are exempt from the noise limits of the Regulations subject to various conditions. This includes the sound check and the 'bump-in/bump-out' (set up and set down) periods.

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Security Alarms

Police have powers to enter any premises where an alarm has been sounding for 30 minutes. Please call the Police on 131 444 to arrange for the alarm to be deactivated. The cost will be recovered from the owner of the house or business.

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Building and Work Sites

Tips when undertaking building and other types of works:

  • Use tools out of direct sight of neighbours' windows and doors or behind barriers.
  • Avoid using tools early in the morning and late in the evening.
  • Ensure tools are properly maintained and used for the task at hand.
  • When proposing to use a piece of equipment repeatedly, plan to do so in block periods.
  • If undertaking renovations, advise your neighbour/s of the likely timeframe of the work.

Tips should you be affected by noise from building and other types of work sites:

  • Speak to the site manager or contractors' supervisor and make them aware of your concerns.
  • Contact the building company responsible for the site. Often workers are sub-contractors and the site manager may not be aware of any issues.
  • Be patient. Remember that the work is of a temporary nature and the noise will eventually cease.

Builders, agencies (Main Roads, Public Transport Authority), utilities (Water Corporation, Western Power) and local governments may at times be required to carry out works after hours eg emergency repairs or to prevent increased congestion during peak hours. These bodies are issued with special noise exemptions under the Regulations.

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Essential Services

Essential City services such as road/verge cleaning, parks and gardens maintenance and waste collection are required to keep the health and amenity of our City at the highest possible standard.

The majority of these activities occur during the day that occasionally commence prior to 7.00am or continue into the evening. The City is very much aware of the potential intrusion on residents lives but carries out its activities under strict controls.

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Mechanical Noise (Air Conditioners)

If you are considering installing a new air conditioner system, please refer to the Department of Environmental Regulation's 'An Installer's Guide to Air Conditioner Noise'.

The Fair Air website is also a great resource for dealing with noise issues and helping the consumer save money and energy. Easy to use calculators are provided for air conditioner sizing, energy consumption and noise levels.

 Regular servicing and maintenance of your existing unit to ensure wear and tear and/or aging parts are addressed will keep noise to a minimum. Is it time to replace your old unit?

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I Want To Do The 'Right Thing' and Be Considerate Of My Neighbours

The impact of noise can vary depending on the location of your house, proximity to your neighbours, building design, aging or inappropriate locations of mechanical installations, traffic etc.Ensure your car, truck, motorcycle and lawn mowers have effective mufflers fitted. Refrain from allowing vehicles/equipment to idle unnecessarily.

Operate pool pumps between the hours of 7am -  7pm Monday to Saturday and 9am - 7pm Sunday and Public Holidays.

Cover or bring bird cages in at night to prevent vocal birds from waking neighbours.

Please do not keep roosters.

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I Am Affected By Noise But Want To Maintain Good Neighbourly Relations

Have a polite, courteous and casual conversation with your neighbour or the person causing the noise. In most cases, they are not even aware of the loudness of the noise or the impact they are having and will only be too happy to help.

Such an approach to your neighbour may have some spin-off benefits such as establishing a trusting and friendly relationship that can help you both to address common local issues eg hoon drivers, home invasions, as well as keeping an eye out for each other. If the initial approach doesn't work out, you should feel proud of yourself for at least trying.

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I Am Still Affected By Unreasonable Noise - What Do I Do Now?

I have spoken to my neighbour and the situation has not changed or I feel uncomfortable approaching the neighbour. To seek further advice or clarification on the above information or just wish to lodge a noise service request (complaint), please contact the City at mail@vincent.wa.gov.au or on 9273 6533. 

On lodgement of a request, a log sheet will be forwarded for you to keep a record of each noise incident for up to 2 weeks. The log will help officers assess the situation and incident patterns, if any, and likelihood of breaches.

Within 3 business days of receiving your request, the City will notify your neighbour of the alleged noise disturbance and the need for them to comply with the Regulations. The City's experience is that in most cases the noise ceases or reduces significantly soon after the warning letter is sent out.

Please go to Noise Investigation Procedure for a quick guide on how the City seeks to resolve your issues as quickly as possible.   

Unfortunately, there are occasions when the City through warnings, education and advocacy is unable to encourage alleged offenders to do the right thing. The City may then need to gather evidence by taking sound level measurements from your home. Should breaches be determined, the legal tools available to the City include issuing on-the-spot fines (penalties up to $500) and/or directions (penalties up to $25,000 where breached), seizing offending equipment including stereos and finally prosecution. Owners of rental properties can also be held responsible for offences created by their tenants.