Land development activities include: 

  • earthmoving 
  • land clearing 
  • subdivision works, such as drainage, sewerage and building roads within subdivisions.

The general environmental duty applies to land development activities. When managing a land development, it is your responsibility to understand and assess the risks associated with your activities. This includes understanding how your activities can cause harm from noise.

Under the Environment Protection Act 2017, you must not emit unreasonable noise from any premises or place, other than a residence, at any time of day.

This law applies to all construction sites, including land development. Construction noise can be unreasonable if it goes on for too long or is excessive under the circumstances.

The unreasonable noise guidelines explain the concept of unreasonable noise and the pathways for assessing if land development noise is unreasonable. They also cover how unreasonable noise works with the general environmental duty and provide case study examples of compliance, enforcement and resolution of noise pollution events.

Construction – guide to preventing harm to people and the environment (publication 1820) explains to how to manage the risks in construction and what actions you can take to comply with the law.

Managing land development noise

The Civil construction, building and demolition guide (publication 1834) provides information about managing noise that is relevant to land development for residential subdivisions and commercial and industrial subdivisions. This includes information on how to reduce the impact of noise from your construction and land development activities.

Ways to manage land development noise include: 

  • restricting work and vehicle movements to normal working hours 
  • scheduling noisy activities, such as pile driving or rock breaking, to less sensitive times 
  • advising any neighbours residing close by of noisy activities 
  • providing signs with contact details for the builder or project manager 
  • using the lowest noise equipment or technique to do the job.

Normal working hours for land development

The Civil construction, building and demolition guide (publication 1834), advises normal working hours for land development for residential developments:

  • weekdays – 7 am to 6 pm
  • Saturday – 9 am to 1 pm.

Land preparation work for new subdivisions in designated growth areas and at the fringe of metropolitan Melbourne or rural centres may start at 7am on Saturday. This is with some restrictions on equipment used and distance from homes.

Normal working hours for land development for commercial and industrial subdivisions are:

  • weekdays – 7 am to 6 pm
  • Saturday – 7 am to 1 pm.

Read more about construction noise

Noise guidance for business: Residential construction

Noise guidance for business: Commercial construction

Construction noise

Reviewed 8 May 2023