Building better neighbourhoods
No-one wants to live next to a noisy building site. To balance the needs of the building industry and residents, the City of Sydney manages the amount of noise produced by construction works. Its code of practice governing the industry demands builders:
- include measures to reduce noise in development applications
- get advice from qualified and competent acoustic consultants on noise-compliance measures
- restrict all potentially noisy construction activities to between 7.00am and 7.00pm, Mondays to Fridays and between 7.00am and 5.00pm Saturdays for projects within the City Centre
- work between the hours of 7.30am and 5.30pm Mondays to Fridays and 7.30am and 3.30pm Saturdays in other parts of the City
- not work on Sundays or public holidays anywhere within the City boundaries. In certain instances these hours may be modified to restrict the use of particularly noisy machinery such as rock breakers, rock saws and pile drivers
- take reasonable and practicable steps to prevent offensive noise.
Acceptable noise limits
Noise should be no more than 5 decibels above background noise level during the first working hour, then no more than 10 decibels above background noise level for the remainder of the day.
If possible, quieter machinery should replace noisy equipment. Noisy equipment can also be retrofitted with damping materials and mufflers. Acoustic barriers should be built around noisy operations if possible.
The City won't necessarily stop the work if the contractor exceeds the levels within the code of practice. There are occassions where the sound levels from certain construction activities and equipment may not be able to meet the desirable criteria within the code despite the contractor taking all reasonable measures.
If activities and equipment can’t meet noise-restrictions, the City may require developers to take regular breaks and respite periods to minimise impact on neighbours. These restrictions may be implemented during the development-application phase or imposed if complaints arise during construction. The City can also restrict the use of highly intrusive equipment.
Contractors are expected to implement a complaint-monitoring-and-resolution procedure. A representative’s contact details must be publicly displayed at the site and made available to neighbouring noise-sensitive properties. Complaints and any subsequent action taken must be logged and available if requested by the City.
Noise Management Plans
If construction works are likely to have a significant impact on the local community, the developer must submit a Noise Management Plan to the City. The plans should be completed by a suitably qualified and competent person, who possesses qualifications that make them eligible for membership of the Australian Acoustic Society, Institution of Engineers Australia or the Australian Association of Acoustic Consultants.
The plan must contain comprehensive details of the work methods the developers will employ on site to fully comply with the Code.
Where unforseen problems with offensive noise occur during construction works, the City can require additional controls under law. Developers may have to amend and review Noise Management Plans and work methods when necessary.
To keep improving our City, we are reviewing the code and plan to publish it in the future.
City of Sydney
Tel: 02 9265 9333
Last updated: Tuesday, 21 May 2013