Residential construction includes building: 

  • apartments 
  • townhouses 
  • houses 
  • mixed-use developments. 

Under the Environment Protection Act 1970, any unreasonable noise coming from a residence, at any time of day, is an offence. This law also applies to all residential construction sites. Construction noise can be unreasonable if it goes on for too long or is excessive under the circumstances. 

Managing residential construction noise

You should take reasonable steps to reduce noise from residential construction. Ways to manage construction noise include: 

  • restricting work and vehicle movements to normal working hours 
  • scheduling noisy activities to less sensitive times 
  • advising neighbours of noisy activities 
  • providing signs with contact details for builder or project manager 
  • using the lowest noise equipment or technique to do the job 
  • site and car radios – keep radios close to workers, and at a lower volume.  

Learn more about the different working hours and requirements you need to comply with, by residential construction type.  

  • Large-scale residential construction in residential zones

    Large-scale residential construction in residential zones include construction of apartments and mixed-use development, or multiple dwellings on a subdivision. 

    The Environment Protection (Residential Noise) Regulations 2018 (the Regulations) apply to large-scale residential construction in a residential zone. 

    Prohibited times under the Regulations

    The Regulations prohibit noise from construction equipment, on weekdays – before 7 am and after 8 pm. On weekends – before 9 am and after 8 pm. This is if a neighbouring resident can hear it in their home. However continuous, noisy work throughout these non-prohibited times can still be unreasonable.

    Our advice for normal working hours

    Our advice is to follow normal working hours to manage construction noise and help to prevent unreasonable noise. These are: 

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

    A later Saturday finishing time may be acceptable for sites with a 9 am start. The local council can manage decisions on these issues, with EPA’s advice where required. 

    Other noise requirements

    There are other noise requirements that apply to large-scale residential construction activities, including management roles and measures to reduce noise. For more information, see Civil construction, building and demolition guide (publication 1834), this guide helps you manage noise from residential developments.

    Councils enforce residential construction site noise guidelines. They do this through permits and local laws, or as a reference in compliance decisions under the Environment Protection Act 1970.  

  • Large-scale multi-storey residential apartments in non-residential zones

    Large-scale multi-storey residential construction in non-residential zones are residential or mixed-use buildings under construction that are:

    • at least four storeys above ground, or two storeys below ground  
    • in a non-residential zone such as business zones and special purpose zones, but not a mixed-use zone.  

    Large-scale multi-storey residential construction in non-residential zones is exempt from the Environment Protection (Residential Noise) Regulations 2018. However, if part of the building is being renovated and another part of the building is occupied, the exemption doesn’t apply. Instead, these sites are like commercial construction and the Civil construction, building and demolition guide (publication 1834) applies. This guide describes how to manage noise so it is not unreasonable under s48A of the Environment Protection Act 1970.

    Our advice for normal working hours

    The normal working hours for large residential construction in non-residential areas are: 

    • weekdays – 7 am to 6 pm  
    • Saturday – 7 am to 1 pm.
  • Building individual houses or small unit developments

    Environment Protection (Residential Noise) Regulations 2018 (the Regulations) apply to construction of houses and small unit developments. 

    Prohibited times under the Regulations

    The Regulations prohibit noise from construction equipment, on weekdays – before 7 am and after 8 pm. On weekends – before 9 am and after 8 pm. This is if a neighbour can hear it in their home. However continuous, noisy work throughout these non-prohibited times can still be unreasonable.  

    Our advice for normal working hours

    Our advice is to follow normal working hours to manage construction noise and help to prevent unreasonable noise. These are: 

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

    More ways to prevent unreasonable noise

    Other ways to prevent unreasonable noise when building individual houses or small unit developments include managing: 

    • work hours – avoid doing noisy work, seven days a week. Where projects need longer work hours, schedule quieter work for between 6 pm and 8 pm or on weekends 
    • site preparation – avoid early morning site preparation works, such as moving materials, before 7 am weekdays or 9 am weekends  
    • noisier work – arrange for short-term, noisier activities to occur later in the workday, not early in the morning. Give regular short breaks, or a longer break during the workday 
    • morning truck movements and concrete pours – manage deliveries so they occur within normal working hours. If vehicles arrive shortly before the normal work times, turn the engines off
    • behaviour – loud talking early in the morning can disturb neighbours as much as the work itself. Keep voices to a minimum before 7 am weekdays and 9 am weekends. 

Reviewed 19 January 2021