Noise can disrupt a person’s life, causing a lack of sleep and unnecessary stress. Noise is considered unreasonable if it interferes directly or indirectly with the health, welfare, convenience, or comfort of any person in any premises. Under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 it is an offence to create unreasonable noise.
The Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997 adopted under the Act allow for maximum levels of noise at certain times of the day and night.
Noise is considered unreasonable if the allowable levels in the Regulations are exceeded or if it is deemed by an Authorised Officer to interfere directly or indirectly with the health, welfare, convenience, or comfort of any person in any premises. Under the Act it is an offence to create unreasonable noise.
Loud noises late at night or very early in the morning are likely to impact more on neighbours than noise during the day. As a guide, noise which is clearly audible at the boundary of a property may cause a disturbance and exceed the allowable noise levels.
The City’s Environmental Health Officers are authorised under the Act and play a key role in managing environmental noise pollution issues.
Major sources of noise
- Amplified noise and noise from patrons of hotels, clubs, bars, restaurants and sporting facilities
- Stereo music
- Parties and gatherings
- Musical instruments
- Air conditioners
- Swimming pool and spa pumps
- Power tools (i.e. woodwork or metal work machinery, drills, etc.)
- Construction sites
- Security alarms.
Music with a dominant bass component can create a noise disturbance and should therefore be kept to a minimum. Stereo music is required to comply with the allowable sound levels of the Regulations at all times.
Noise from parties can be disturbing, particularly if it is excessively loud or happens regularly.
If you intend to have a party and don’t want to upset your neighbours, try the following:
- Let your neighbours know about the party in advance and its expected finishing time
- Close all windows and doors
- Don’t use speakers outside the house
- Start your party earlier so that it can finish earlier
- Turn the music down by 10pm to ensure that it is not audible inside your neighbour’s home after this time
- Ensure your guests leave quietly.
Complaints concerning excessive noise can result in the police or City seizing equipment and fines in excess of $1,000.
The playing of a single musical instrument on residential premises is permitted to exceed the allowable sound levels, providing the instrument is played in a reasonable manner and for no more than one hour per day between the hours of:
- 7am-7pm, Monday to Saturday; and
- 9am-7pm, Sundays and public holidays.
Swimming pool and spa pumps
Swimming pool motors commonly create noise problems, particularly in summer. This is often when noisy equipment is left operating overnight or in the early hours of the morning. Pool owners are encouraged to run the pool pump during day time hours when higher noise levels are permitted.
Noise from air conditioners can disturb neighbours. The noise can disrupt sleep, interfere with normal daily activities and can have significant impacts on people’s health. Installation of an air conditioner that emits unreasonable noise is illegal. Before installing an air conditioning unit it is important to consider whether the location is likely to have an unreasonable impact on your neighbours. Air conditioners should not be located adjacent to neighbours windows, bedrooms or living areas. The best location for refrigerative air conditioners is generally facing the front or rear yard. Placing the unit at the side of the house close to a neighbour’s house is likely to create excessive noise.
The City of South Perth may require relocation of a noisy air conditioner or modification to reduce the noise if the air conditioner does not comply with the Regulations.
If you are using power tools such as saws and drills, use them at times and places that will minimise annoyance to your neighbours. The best places are inside enclosed garages, in your house or behind a barrier and out of direct sight to neighbours’ windows and doors.
Hand-operated equipment can be used for up to two hours (accumulative) on any one day between the hours of:
- 7am–7pm, Monday to Saturday
- 9am–7pm, Sundays or public holidays.
These restrictions do not apply to a construction site. See construction site information below.
Builders are permitted to work Monday to Saturday between 7am and 7pm. No noisy works are permitted on Sundays or public holidays without prior approval from the City's CEO. The CEO will not approve Sunday or public holiday works unless they are absolutely justified and they must meet a strict set of conditions. If approval is granted, all nearby residents will be notified of the work 24 hours before it commences.
Equipment used on building sites which are close to residences should always be maintained in good order and be fitted with good quality engine exhaust mufflers, so that noise emissions are minimised. Radios should be operated on building sites so that they are not audible from nearby homes.
False activation of security alarms can create a noise disturbance to neighbours, especially when this occurs frequently. If an alarm has been sounding for more than 30 minutes, you may contact the police to have the system disconnected.
Security alarms should be installed by a licensed security agent and comply with Australian Standard AS 2201.1 – 2007.
Reporting a noise complaint to the City
If you are annoyed by noise created by neighbours, there are a number of things you can do.
Try speaking with your neighbour about the noise. Often people do not realise they are causing you a problem and in many cases will be happy to do what they can to help.
If this approach is not possible or successful, you can report the issue.