Noise limits and recommended levels apply to commercial, industrial and trade premises of all sizes.
Noise limits for your business depend on the:
- business location
- location of noise sensitive areas
- land use zoning – the mix of businesses and residences in the area
- existing background noise
- noise from other businesses nearby
- time of day the noise occurs.
Understanding which noise standards apply
Noise standards for commercial, industrial and trade premises depend on whether your business is in metropolitan Melbourne or regional Victoria.
In metropolitan Melbourne, the State Environment Protection Policy (Control of Noise from Commerce, Industry and Trade) No. N-1 sets noise limits.
In regional Victoria areas, Noise from industry in regional Victoria (NIRV) (publication 1411) recommends noise levels. There are two approaches for setting levels for commercial, industrial and trade noise depending on your location:
- major urban areas – large regional towns, cities and the outskirts of Melbourne, or
- rural areas.
In major urban areas, NIRV adopts SEPP N-1 noise limits. In rural areas, the NIRV method applies.
For further guidance on SEPP N-1 and NIRV, see the following publications:
- SEPP N-1 and NIRV explanatory notes (publication 1412)
- Applying NIRV to proposed and existing industry (publication 1413)
Assessing compliance with noise limits or recommended levels
The SEPP N-1 method assesses businesses compliance with:
- SEPP N-1 noise limits
- NIRV recommended levels.
The SEPP N-1 method measures the noise coming from commercial, industrial or trade premises in decibels. When noise has a character people find disturbing, such as bangs, you may make an adjustment to measured level.
The SEPP N-1 method involves taking the measurement from any nearby noise sensitive areas where either a noise limit or recommended level applies. A noise sensitive area includes residences and other places where people live and sleep, such as hotels and tourist facilities.
You can arrange for a qualified acoustic engineer or consultant to measure noise from your business. The Association of Australian Acoustical Consultants or the Australian Acoustical Society can help you find the most appropriate person.
Find out more about noise assessment, see A guide to the measurement and analysis of noise (publication 280).
Exceeding noise limits or recommended levels
Sometimes, it is not possible to reduce noise sufficiently to comply with the noise limits or recommended levels. You will need to consult with the people affected by your noise. SEPP N-1 and NIRV have separate processes for addressing noise that exceeds the noise limits or recommended levels.
Contact EPA to find out more about these processes.
About boundaries for SEPP N-1 and NIRV
Find out about the boundaries of the SEPP N-1 area for metropolitan Melbourne and major urban areas in regional Victoria.
In the Melbourne metropolitan area, the State Environment Protection Policy (Control of Noise from Commerce, Industry and Trade) No. N-1 sets limits for noise from industry:
- SEPP N-1 overview map (PDF 395KB) – the SEPP N-1 area showing the SEPP N-1 boundary and the urban growth boundary (UGB). Other file formats are available.
- map of SEPP N-1 area to the north east (PDF 1.25MB).
- map of SEPP N-1 area to the north west (PDF 964KB).
- map of SEPP N-1 area to the south east (PDF 1.67MB).
- map of SEPP N-1 area to the south west (PDF 1.14MB).
In current versions of the Adobe Acrobat reader, the SEPP N-1 boundary and the urban growth boundary can be displayed or switched off using the layers tool to the left side of the map.
Major urban areas in regional Victoria are:
- Bacchus Marsh
- Clifton Springs
- Mornington Peninsula
- Ocean Grove
- Somerville & Hastings
- Swan Hill
Read more about commercial, industrial and trade noise
Reviewed 19 October 2021