Make sure you’re aware of the noise restrictions that apply in your area before you start your big renovation project.
Renovating your home is almost a rite of passage for many Australians. Ripping out a new kitchen and putting in a new one, creating a man cave or even doing a complete knockdown-rebuild are all ways you can add value to your home and make it more liveable on a day-to-day basis.
But there’s one very important group of people you need to keep in mind at every stage of the renovation process: your neighbours. Even though you might be able to get a whole lot more work done if you pull an "all-nighter" like the contestants on The Block, creating too much noise and disturbing your neighbours can get you into a whole lot of trouble.
Each state and territory has its own rules regarding noise restrictions, so check out the regulations that apply where you live before you get out the jackhammer.
When can you make noise? State-by-state cheatsheet
The below are guidelines only. Please contact your local council for accurate guidelines for your particular situation, as some councils may have different noise restrictions to the below
|NSW||7am - 6pm||7am - 6pm||7am - 6pm||7am - 6pm||7am - 6pm||8am - 1pm||No work|
|VIC||7am - 8pm||7am - 8pm||7am - 8pm||7am - 8pm||7am - 8pm||9am - 8pm||9am - 8pm|
|QLD||7am - 7pm||7am - 7pm||7am - 7pm||7am - 7pm||7am - 7pm||7am - 7pm||8am - 7pm|
|WA||7am - 7pm||7am - 7pm||7am - 7pm||7am - 7pm||7am - 7pm||7am - 7pm||9am - 7pm|
|SA||7am - 7pm||7am - 7pm||7am - 7pm||7am - 7pm||7am - 7pm||7am - 7pm||No work|
|ACT||7am - 8pm||7am - 8pm||7am - 8pm||7am - 8pm||7am - 8pm||7am - 8pm||8am - 8pm|
|NT||7am - 7pm||7am - 7pm||7am - 7pm||7am - 7pm||7am - 7pm||7am - 7pm||9am - 6pm|
|TAS||7am - 6pm||7am - 6pm||7am - 6pm||7am - 6pm||7am - 6pm||9am - 6pm||10am - 6pm|
Read more about the restrictions for your state or territory
The hours for allowable construction work in NSW are specified on the development application, so you’ll need to contact your local council for details of the hours for a specific construction project. The NSW Interim Construction Noise Guideline provides recommended standard hours for construction, but these are recommendations only and the local council might allow more or less hours depending on the situation.
For normal construction:
- Work is allowed Monday to Friday 7am to 6pm, and Saturday 8am to 1pm
- No work on Sundays or public holidays
Finally, noise from power tools and equipment during a home renovation is also restricted. If the noise can be heard in a neighbouring residence, it must not occur from 8pm to 8am on Sundays and public holidays, and 8pm to 7am on weekdays and Saturdays.Back to top
In Victoria, s48A(3) of the Environment Protection Act 1970 prohibits unreasonable noise from residential premises, including construction noise. Under the Environment Protection (Residential Noise) Regulations 2008 it is an offence to emit noise from construction equipment and vehicles where it can be heard by your neighbours. No construction work is allowed between the following hours:
- 8pm-7am Monday to Friday
- 8pm-9am on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays
However, it’s also worth pointing out that construction work carried out during other hours may also be deemed unreasonable, so Environment Protection Authority Victoria recommends keeping your neighbours in mind at all times.Back to top
Noise restrictions in Queensland apply to a wide range of items you may use during a renovation, including:
- Power tools
- Compressors or generators
- Impacting tools
No clearly audible noise is allowed from 7pm to 7am Monday to Saturday, or from 7pm to 8am on a Sunday or a public holiday.Back to top
If you’re using power tools on residential premises in WA, the noise from those devices can exceed allowable sound levels as long as the equipment is operated in a reasonable manner and for no more than two hours per day. The equipment can also only be used between 7am and 7pm Monday to Saturday, and 9am and 7pm on Sundays and public holidays.Back to top
Under the Environment Protection Act 1993, noise issues from residential properties could be classed as an environmental nuisance in South Australia. Construction noise with an adverse impact on amenity must not occur:
- on a Sunday or public holiday, and
- on any other day except between 7am and 7pm
However, there are certain situations where a noisy operation may be allowed to occur during these hours, such as if there is a need to avoid unreasonably interrupting pedestrian or traffic movement. You’ll need written approval from the EPA in such situations.
When it comes to the use of power tools, the Noise Policy also requires that non-fixed domestic machines emitting a continuous noise level greater than 45 dB(A) or a maximum noise level of 60 dB(A) can only be used between 9am and 8pm on a Sunday, or 8am and 8pm on any other day.Back to top
Restrictions in the ACT can be a little confusing to wrap your head around. Different "Noise Standards" apply in specific areas at different times, so contact the Environment Protection Authority for full details. For example, from 7am to 10pm Monday to Saturday in a residential zone, the noise standard is 45dB(A).
For building work that does not require building approval, it’s accepted that the work will sometimes exceed the applicable noise standard, but this can only be done between 7am and 8pm Monday to Saturday and 8am and 8pm on Sunday and public holidays. The noise standard also cannot be exceeded for more than 40 hours during an eight-week period.Back to top
In the Top End, noisy activities need to be restricted to between:
- 7am and 7pm Monday to Saturday; and
- 9am and 6pm Sunday and Public Holidays
If you want to use power tools, percussion tools, compressors, generators, pumps and the like in Tasmania, you’ll need to restrict their use to the following hours:
- Monday to Friday: 7am to 6pm
- Saturday: 9am to 6pm
- Sunday and public holidays: 10am to 6pm
How to keep the noise down
In addition to following the regulations, some basic considerations will help keep the noise down when renovating and keep your neighbours happy.
- Not just power tools. Moving materials outside permitted working hours could disturb your neighbours and could be deemed unreasonable, so don’t automatically assume your work will be quiet enough even if you’re not using power tools.
- Use common sense. Wherever possible, avoiding noisy work every single day of the week is a good idea, while scheduling quiet jobs for the evenings and weekends (when neighbours are more likely to be at home) is also wise.
- Tell your neighbours in advance. If you’re planning a renovation and you know it’s likely to cause a bit of a disruption, give your neighbours a warning well in advance. This will usually mean they will be less likely to complain or they can stay away if needed.
- Consider their needs. Where possible, keep the best interests of your neighbours in mind at all times. For example, if your closest neighbours are shift workers, try to find a renovation schedule that will work around their work timetable and when they’re likely to want to sleep.
- Look after your equipment. Maintaining and regularly servicing your tools will make them less likely to make excessive noise. Upgrading older machines to newer, quieter alternatives can also make a big difference.
- Work wisely. Do you really need to crank up the jigsaw right outside your neighbour’s kitchen window? If there’s work that can be done in a quieter, more distant area of your residence, think of your neighbours and do it there.