Major infrastructure noise can come from large building projects. These include: 

  • tunnels 
  • freeways and toll roads 
  • replacing sewers 
  • building rail lines. 

Common causes of infrastructure noise include: 

  • rock breaking – machines used to break up rock and concrete 
  • piling – boring steel and concrete into the ground 
  • vibratory rolling – machinery rolled over a surface to make it compact 
  • heavy vehicle movement to, from and at the site 
  • other machinery during works. 

Understanding the impacts of major infrastructure noise

Loud and ongoing noise can impact the quality of people’s lives and health. This risk is greatest when construction noise isn’t well managed and it’s near sensitive use areas, including: 

  • people’s homes
  • people’s workplaces
  • kindergartens, schools and child care centres
  • hospitals.

For more information visit Noise and your health

Reducing noise from major infrastructure projects

The Environment Protection Act 2017 applies to construction activities relating to building major infrastructure projects.

Businesses must comply with the general environmental duty to take reasonable steps to minimise harm to human health and the environment from pollution and waste, including noise. The GED applies to all construction activities. This means those who manage, or control construction of major infrastructure projects must understand and proactively manage the risks of harm from noise.

In addition, there is a requirement to not emit unreasonable noise.

Construction noise requirements are usually part of a project’s approval conditions. They should be consistent with the Civil construction, building and demolition guide (publication 1834).

The infrastructure project builder will also have contractual obligations to manage noise and vibration.

The Compliance Code for Victoria’s Big Build Projects (publication 1998) applies to some large infrastructure projects. It describes how the projects will meet the general environmental duty and not make unreasonable noise.

You can report noise from major infrastructure projects.

For more information see Construction noise and the law.

About road repair and maintenance

Noise from road repair and maintenance should be minimised so it doesn’t impact residents. The GED applies to activities related to maintenance of roads and road-related infrastructure.

Also noise from road infrastructure operations, including construction and maintenance activities must not be unreasonable.

The guidelines and time schedule in the Noise control guidelines (publication 1254) apply to road repair and maintenance.

The road manager, usually Department of Transport or local council, is responsible for managing the noise from roadworks.

You can report noise from roadworks.

Unreasonable noise from construction

EPA has published the unreasonable noise guidelines.

The guidelines explain the concept of unreasonable noise and the pathways for assessing if construction 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.

Read more about roadworks and major infrastructure noise

Report roadworks and major infrastructure noise 

Noise and your health

Reviewed 8 May 2023