Noise Management

Noise is classified as unwanted sound, which among other things can be disruptive, causing loss of sleep, interference to activities and emotional stress.

The City's Environmental Health Officers manage neighbourhood noise in the city, investigate and monitor noise complaints, and take steps as appropriate to prevent and reduce offensive noise. Sound is measured in decibels (dB) by using an instrument called a sound level meter, which records sounds as perceived by the human ear. 

Noise Regulations

Noise in Western Australia is governed by the Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997 (Noise Regulations) . Its aim is to protect people from unnecessary disturbance from noise, defined under the Act to include any vibration of any frequency, whether transmitted through air or any other physical medium.

The regulations address:

  • noise passing from one premises to another;
  • noise from public places as it affects adjacent premises;
  • and acceptable noise levels in relation to land use.

The regulations don’t deal with:

  • noise within one premises,
  • noise from traffic on roads or trains (except model trains),
  • noise from aircrafts (except model planes) and noise from safety warning devices.

There is no single government authority in Australia with overall responsibility for controlling or reducing noise pollution. The Federal Government takes responsibility in areas such as aircraft noise and emission standards for new motor vehicles, while each state's environmental protection agency regulates its environmental noise.

Typical City Noise Sources

  • Licensed Premises and Entertainment Venues
    The city has a rich and vibrant night life. Noise associated with its many clubs, bars and nightclubs can sometimes reach levels that could be considered offensive or a nuisance. This could be from music, patrons, deliveries, or other related activities. All Liquor Licensed premises are obliged to respond quickly and positively to resolve complaints received from neighbours. 

    The City’s Environmental Health Services Unit monitors noise from licensed premises and will investigate noise complaints associated with entertainment venues.  The Liquor Control Act 1988 also contains provisions that allow action to be taken for unreasonable noise. 
  • Commercial Activities

    The city is a mixed-use environment with a vast array of commercial businesses. Potential noise issues can differ from those in a suburban neighbourhood.  For instance:  

    • Non-standard operating hours apply in the city. Some businesses are permitted to operate at variable hours and may require regular delivery of goods or regular rubbish removal. 
    • Service delivery vehicles, forklifts and loading dock operations all have the potential to cause offensive noise. 
    • Mechanical system noise from commercial buildings can disturb residents. This can be from equipment such as commercial air conditioning units, ventilation and refrigeration systems. 
  • Construction Sites

    Construction noise is common within any City.  In recent years, our city has experienced an increase in the amount of residential and mixed-use development. The noise levels generated by construction works can be very high and continuous, which can affect sleep, concentration and mental and physical health amongst residents and city workers.

    Noise from construction sites is exempt from the Noise Regulations between 7am and 7pm Monday to Saturday (excluding Public Holidays) if the works are being carried out in accordance with AS 2436-2010 - Guide to Noise and Vibration control on Construction, Demolition and maintenance sites. 

    Construction work may be carried out outside the permitted hours under a strict set of conditions if the applicant has obtained an “out-of-hours construction” approval from the City of Perth’s Compliance Services Unit. 

    Special circumstances include: 

    • Where there is possibility that the community may be negatively impacted upon by the noise the application is based on, for example, the delivery of an oversized plant or structure, emergency works, maintenance, repair or works of public infrastructure, or public infrastructure works; or 
    • Where the applicant can demonstrate that no one within the community will be adversely impacted upon by the construction work.  

    It is recommended you contact the site manager/supervisor as a first step towards the resolution of a construction noise issue. These details are always provided on the builder’s signage at the entry to the construction site. If this does not resolve the matter, or you remain unsatisfied with the outcome, please contact the City.

  • Waste Collection

    Traffic noise from roads is exempt from the Noise Regulations. Problems with individual noisy vehicles on public roads can be directed to your local police station. 

    Vehicles on private property are subject to the Noise Regulations, where a vehicle is creating a noise nuisance from misuse (such as regular over-revving). If you have concerns over the noise nuisance from a vehicle on private property within the City of Perth, please contact the City for advice and/or further assessment. 

    Where cumulative traffic noise along major roads is an issue, contact Main Roads Western Australia on 138 135

  • Traffic

    Traffic noise from roads is exempt from the Noise Regulations. Problems with individual noisy vehicles on public roads can be directed to your local police station. 

    Vehicles on private property are subject to the Noise Regulations, where a vehicle is creating a noise nuisance from misuse (such as regular over-revving). If you have concerns over the noise nuisance from a vehicle on private property within the City of Perth, please contact the City for advice and/or further assessment.

    Where cumulative traffic noise along major roads is an issue, contact Main Roads Western Australia on 138 135

  • Events and Concerts

    Concerts and large sporting, cultural and entertainment events add vibrancy to the City and provide commercial opportunities for local traders. 

    Many of these events may result in excessive noise emissions. However, if the event is approved by the City and deemed to be justified, a noise exemption may be granted. In cases where exemptions are given, noise levels considered reasonable for the event will be stipulated and conveyed by the City to the event organiser. These are required to be met without exception and the City monitors the event to ensure organisers comply with this approval.

    Residents likely to be affected by an event are informed of the event details so they are aware of potential noise impacts, giving them an opportunity to make alternative arrangements during that time. Residents are also advised of a complaints telephone line to call, should the need arise. 

    Community Events

    Under the Noise Regulations, noises from some community activities are exempt from usual acceptable levels. Exempt noise can include children in school playgrounds, noise from fairs and fetes, crowds at sporting events, and church services and community concerts. The City may take action over an exempt noise if it considers the noise impacts are excessive. 

    Parties

    The City of Perth is not available to respond to noisy parties or manage behavioural problems associated with private parties. To make a complaint about a party, please call Police Operations on 131 444

  • Neighbouring Homes

    Audible Security Alarms

    Audible alarms can be annoying if they sound intermittently. The Police have the power to gain entry and deactivate house or car alarms if they have been emitting unreasonable noise for more than 30 minutes. All requests of this type must be directed to the police on 131 444

    Air Conditioning & Ventilation Equipment

    Noise emanating from air conditioning units must comply with assigned levels stated in the Noise Regulations. Home owners and installers have a responsibility to ensure compliance with these levels. Where the city receives an investigation request, noise measurements may be taken from the requesting residence to determine compliance. 

Acoustic Design & Treatment Options 

  • Renovating
    Noise inside a building can be reduced if the internal and external walls have high sound reduction measures in place. Heavy, dense materials such as brick walls are better for sound reduction, but there are lightweight solutions. For example, interior walls that have layers of plasterboard with sound-control material in the cavity can be very effective in reducing noise. 

    Windows and doors are often the weakest link in sound insulation. Double glazing is particularly effective for windows, especially if the airspace between the two panes is as wide as possible. Solid-core doors are best, particularly for those that open on to external areas. All gaps and openings around both doors and windows should be well sealed – even the smallest openings can leak significant amounts of noise. 

    It is recommended you engage the services of an acoustics engineer if you would like further information and assistance with installing noise reducing measures in your home. 
  • Appliances & Audio Equipment
    When purchasing new products for your home or workplace, consider those that have been engineered to reduce noise emissions. 

Making a Noise Complaint

If you are experiencing a noise disturbance, first speak to the person or business causing the noise as soon as the problem arises, expressing your case honestly and respectfully. In many instances, they are unaware they are causing a problem and will quickly remedy the situation. 

Before reporting a noise disturbance, please consider:

  • What happened? Be prepared to describe the noise in as much detail as you can.
  • Where did it happen? It is always helpful to know where the noise is occurring. If you don't know the exact address, the cross streets and other landmarks are very important.
  • When did it happen? Timely reporting is critical. Please contact us as soon as possible when you observe violations. 

You can complete an online Noise Complaint Form for noise issues related to:

  • Dog Barking 
  • Street Maintenance 
  • Mechanical Plant and Construction noise 
  • Fixed Domestic Machinery (eg. air conditioner),  
  • Domestic Activity (i.e. power tools) 
  • Waste Collection
  • Pubs and Clubs 

The City of Perth does not investigate anonymous complaints. We ask for your name and phone number so that we can follow-up with you and let you know how the incident was resolved. This information is kept confidential and your complaint will remain anonymous to the offender. 

For urgent noise matters, you can contact the Police. 

Police 

131 444

Please contact the police for noise complaints related to intruder alarms, party noise, antisocial behaviour and vehicle noise. 

New Metro Rail

1800 110 075

Please contact New Metro Rail for complaints related to railway passenger trains 

Department of Planning & Infrastructure 

(08) 9216 8999 

Please contact the Department of Planning and Infrastructure for complaints relating to boat noise 

Worksafe

1300 307 877 

Please contact Worksafe for complaints relating to noise within a workplace 

Inner City Living & Noise

One of the many attractions of living in Perth city is the diversity of activity. However, this also means that noise levels can be higher than those in the suburbs from time to time.  

Moving to the city - what to expect

If you're considering moving to the inner city, but aren't sure of the noise levels, try to get to know the neighbourhoods you're considering. To get the best sense of life in the city you can:

  • Stay in a hotel or apartment for a day - try find something with a balcony or opening windows to assess the sound levels 
  • Explore the streets to find out what's around you - this could include construction sites that may produce considerable day time noise, and hotels, clubs and bars in the evenings
  • Consider how busy traffic is in the area at various times of the day, whether it will increase in future and whether these levels of traffic noise are likely to impact you
  • Talk to other residents in the area where you are thinking of moving to about their experience of noise
  • Check the location of car parks in relation to the area you are interested in, note entrances and exit ways

The degree of sound proofing in residences throughout the city varies significantly. Consider hiring an acoustic consultant to conduct a noise assessment of your potential city property. They will be able to report on existing noise levels and recommend noise control options such as acoustic seals around windows, upgraded glazing or other soundproofing measures.