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. 

SEPP N-1 and NIRV don’t apply to noise from roads and railways, noise from residential properties or noise from wind turbines at wind energy facilities.  

For further guidance on SEPP N-1 and NIRV, see the following publications: 

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.  

Reviewed 19 October 2021