neighbourhood noise

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 neighbours. With the current trend towards smaller block sizes and denser land use, the chances of producing noise that may affect 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), modulating (a siren, music) or tonal (whining sounds, music).

The Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997 (the Noise 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) to be carried out subject to strict conditions. Noise emitted in excess of the assigned noise levels or that is not in accordance with an exemption can be deemed to be unreasonable. As a guide, noise which is clearly audible inside a property boundary may exceed the limits.

Home maintenance (e.g. power tools)

The Noise Regulations provide exemptions for necessary maintenance or projects around the home. 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, this also applies to sporting activities (e.g. basketball, tennis, etc). 

For more information please visit the Department of Water & Environmental Protection's noise publication page:

DWER noise publications

Musical instruments

The Noise Regulations provide exemptions for practice of musical instruments in a residential premises. This may be undertaken between:

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

Musical instruments may not be used for more than 1 hour per day (this doesn't necessarily mean consecutive minutes, but they must be used in a reasonable manner i.e. cannot be played infrequently throughout a whole day despite one hour accumulative total) and the windows and doors should be closed.

For more information please visit the Department of Water & Environmental Protection's noise publication page:

DWER noise publications

Parties, amplified music and human 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 can attend after hours and have noise authority 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 more accepting on Friday or Saturday night.

Outdoor speakers should be minimized and directed away from neighbours' homes, the bass kept low and the party moved indoors with windows and doors closed particularly after 10pm.

Commercial premises (e.g. function centres, bars)

Commercial premises are required to comply with assigned noise levels at the nearest receivers. Sometimes they may have a once off event and approval granted by the City to exceed to assigned levels.

Events

Noise from public events such as concerts etc will usually have approval from the City if they are deemed to exceed to normal assigned noise levels at the nearest noise reciver. The approval contains strict conditions such as event times and noise levels and which will be monitored either by the City's Environmental Health Officers or an acoustic consultant. Notification is required to be delivered to affected noise receivers prior to the event. 

If you experience noise issues from an event, the City will investigate the matter to determine if approval was issued and the event complied. Non-compliance may affect future events. 

Security and car 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 City cannot assist with intruder alarms. 

For car alarms, the City may be able to assist by identifying the vehicle owner. Please email the vehicle details to mail@vincent.wa.gov.au 

For more information please visit the Department of Water & Environmental Protection's noise publication page:

DWER noise publications

Construction sites

Construction noise resulting from a construction site is only permitted from 7am to 7pm Monday to Saturday (excluding public holidays). Outside these hours a noise management plan is required to be submitted to the City at least 7 days prior to the intended works and approved. Please click here for the application form. Most works which are considered essential to complete early morning or late at night will be approved such as emergency power work, road/power/water repairs and maintenance (where traffic is a safety issue) and large concrete pours (which require significant time for curing).

As defined by the Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997, construction work includes:

  • the construction, erection, installation, alteration, repair, maintenance, cleaning, painting, renewal, removal, excavation, dismantling or demolition of, or addition to, any building or structure, or any work in connection with any of these things, that is done at or adjacent to the place where the building or structure is located
  • work on which a hoisting appliance or any scaffold or shoring is used
  • work in driving or extracting piles, sheet piles or trench sheet
  • work in laying any pipe or work in lining pipe that is done at or adjacent to the place where the pipe is laid or to be laid 
  • work in sinking or lining or altering, repairing, maintaining, renewing, removing, or dismantling a well or borehole
  • reclamation or site works including road works and earth works
  • tunnelling

If you are affected by noise from a constructions site try and have a friendly chat to a worker onsite and ask to speak to the site supervisor. If you don't feel comfortable approaching them in person, have a look for the builders details on the signage displayed at the front of the construction site and give them a call. 

For more information please visit the Department of Water & Environmental Protection's noise publication page:

DWER noise publications

Essential services (e.g. waste collection)

Essential 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.

These activities are permitted between 7am to 7pm Monday to Saturday and 9am to 7pm on Sundays and public holidays.

If works are completed outside these hours, please contact the City via email advising of the contractor name (e.g. for waste collection please specify whether it was a City truck or private waste contractor) to mail@vincent.wa.gov.au

Mechanical noise (e.g. air conditioners, pool pumps)

If you are considering installing a new air conditioner system, ensure your installer is aware of the 'An Installer's Guide to Air Conditioner Noise' obtained from the Fair Air website. 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. 

Only operate pool pumps between the hours of 7am-7pm Monday to Saturday and 9am-7pm Sundays and public holidays.

Animals (e.g. birds, roosters)

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

Roosters are not permitted to be kept anywhere in the City due to the intrusive noise. 

For dog barking issues, please refer to the Rangers webpage.

What do I do if I am affected by my neighbours noise?

We suggest in the first instance that you have a friendly chat to your neighbour - they may not even be aware of how loud they are. If you do not feel comfortable approaching them face to face, drop an anonymous note in their letterbox. You can print the noise information off this webpage which my assist. 

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!

If you have attempted to resolve the issue yourself but the problem persists then please contact the City's Health Services via the Report It form or send an email to mail@vincent.wa.gov.au

Please note that the City will not investigate once-off noise issues like parties.

For complaint investigation you will requested to complete a noise log sheet which provide us with valuable information and evidence of the noise nuisance. You must keep a record for a minimum of:

  • Parties - complete for at least 4 weeks
  • Mechanical noise e.g. air conditioners, pool pumps, power tools that operate more than once per week - complete for at least 2 weeks
  • Construction noise - complete for at least 2 weeks

Noise investigation log sheet

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 City can issue infringement, formal directions to cease noise (penalties up to $25,000 where breached), seize equipment such as stereos and prosecute. Each case is assessed on it's merits and enforcement is graduate and proportionate.