Noise

Neighbourhood noise

Barking dogs, air conditioners, pool pumps and intruder alarms are some examples of the noise that can disturb you or your neighbours. Council, Police and other government agencies share responsibility for regulating noise pollution. If a source of noise is a problem for you there are several things you can do.

Where to get help

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.

It can be hard to approach people with issues relating to noise. You’ll find a lot of valuable information on dealing with neighbourhood noise on the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) website. There is information to help you regarding neighbourhood noise, barking dogs, intruder alarms as well as noise from vehicles. 

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

Other types of noise that government agencies may be able to assist with are:

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

What times are residential noise restrictions in place?

There are time restrictions in New South Wales where some equipment on residential premises should not be heard inside a habitable room of a neighbour’s home. The Protection of the Environment Operations (Noise Control) Regulation 2017 sets out these time restrictions. 

Noise source from residential premises

Time restrictions when noise should not be heard in a habitable room in a neighbour’s residence

Power tools such as:

Power tools and equipment (powered garden tools - eg. lawn mowers and leaf blowers; electric or pneumatic tools, chainsaws, circular saws, gas or air compressors)

 

Monday to Friday: 8pm to 7am

Saturday, Sunday or Public Holidays: 8pm to 8am

Swimming pool and spa pumps Monday to Friday: 8pm to 7am

Saturday, Sunday or Public Holidays: 8pm to 8am

Musical instruments
Sound equipment

Monday to Thursday and Sunday: 10pm to 8am

Friday, Saturday or any day preceding a public holiday:
midnight to 8am

Air-conditioners
Heat pump water heaters

Monday to Friday: 10pm to 7am

Weekends or public holidays: 10pm to 8am

Motor vehicles (except when entering or leaving residence)

Weekends and public holidays: 8pm to 8am

Any other day: 8pm to 7am

Refrigeration unit fitted to motor vehicles

Monday to Friday: 8pm to 7am

Weekends or public holidays: 8pm to 8am

Information and tips to reduce noise 

Air conditioning

When installing a new air conditioning system you should consider the location where the equipment will be placed on your property and where possible find a position that is not close to any of your neighbours bedroom or living room windows. If you do place the air conditioning unit along the side of the house where there are neighbours windows you may need to install an enclosure around it to reduce noise. As a general guide, the background noise levels at night in residential Ku-ring-gai are very quiet and between 30 - 40dB(A). Before purchasing an air conditioner you should check the manufacturers noise output specifications for the outdoor condenser unit to select the quietest unit that you can. You may wish to engage an acoustic consultant to aid in your selection of a suitable air conditioning unit and to find the best position for your outdoor condenser on your property to minimise noise.

Before installing a new air-conditioner, check the proposed location and operation will comply with the requirements of the development standards for air conditioning units as per the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008.

 

Pool pumps

When installing a new swimming pool pump you should consider the location where the equipment will be placed on your property and where possible find a position that is not close to any of your neighbours bedroom or living room windows. If you do place the pool pump along the side of the house where there are neighbours windows you may need to install an enclosure around it to reduce noise. Enclosures around pool pumps should be maintained and repaired or replaced if they become deteriorated.

If you have a new swimming pools being installed under the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 the pump must be housed in an enclosure that is soundproofed.

 

Intruder alarms

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

If you have an intruder alarm on your house make sure that you maintain it. 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. Further information about managing noise from intruder alarms can be found on the EPA website.

If the intruder alarm continues to sound and is unattended to, contact us.

Parties

If you’re disturbed 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. Make sure your speakers are not facing towards the neighbours’ home and if possible turn down the bass. 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.

 

Barking dogs

Barking is one way dogs communicate but excessive barking can disturb neighbours and cause annoyance. The first step you should take is to speak directly with the dog owner. They may be unaware that their dog is barking and will often be happy to work with you to solve the problem. The Environment Protection Authority has information about actions to take to make life better for dogs, dog owners and neighbours.

If after speaking with the dog owner the barking does not reduce please complete the online form or call 9424 0000. Please provide as much information as possible including address of the dog, description of the dog, how long it has been happening, when you spoke with the dog owners, when the dog is barking and potential causes of the barking.  You might be asked to keep a diary of when the noise occurs to substantiate the complaint.

If you suspect a dog is being mistreated, contact an RSPCA inspector on (02) 9770 7555 or 1300 278 3589, or visit the RSPCA website.

 

 

Construction

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.

If you are concerned that a building site may be operating outside of approved hours, contact us.