In October 2008, EPA released the Environment Protection (Residential Noise) Regulations 2008.
The Regulations replace the former 1997 regulations with some changes to the way large scale construction noise is managed. EPA consulted extensively with residents, local government, police and the residential construction industry to develop the Regulations.
This change gives greater flexibility for construction/alteration of large apartment buildings and mixed used developments, aligning the requirements with those applying to other multi-storey developments in these areas (e.g. retail, office). It exempts these premises from the prohibited items and times if the building:
- will have at least 4 stories above ground when complete or 2 stories below ground; and
- is in a non-residential zone (e.g. business zones and special purpose zones – but not a mixed-use zone (MUZ) as this is a residential type); and
- is not occupied (if an existing building under alteration).
These premises are still subject to the general unreasonable noise provisions of the EP Act (s.48A(3)), but are not subject to the automatic prohibited times in the table (s.48A(5)).
EPA's Noise control guidelines (formerly publication TG302-92) for commercial construction sites apply to these sites. This guideline sets working hours and noise management expectations. See noise publications for the Noise control guidelines (PDF 0.18MB).
In addition to unreasonable noise controls under the EP Act and the guidelines, local laws and permit conditions can be used to apply times for the site.
This change enables councils and industry to apply the same flexibility as for equivalent scale commercial construction, but still protects people living in entirely residential areas from early morning weekend work.