Acceptable noise levels and complaints

Noise can disrupt sleep and interfere with daily activities. If loud enough, it can also have a negative impact on people's health.

Complaints not handled by Council

Brisbane City Council does not deal with noise complaints about:

Exemptions

The Environmental Protection Act 1994 provides exemptions from noise created from:

  • road maintenance
  • road noise
  • traffic signals
  • railway or railway signals
  • public transport infrastructure
  • maintaining public infrastructure, including:
    • water and sewage services
    • facilities for telecommunications or electricity
  • preventing or removing public health risks.

Guide to decibel levels

Some noise regulations include a maximum loudness in decibels. Here are usual decibel levels for everyday situations:

  • quiet room in a house - 20 to 30 decibels
  • daytime in a quiet residential street - 35 to 45 decibels
  • large busy office - 50 to 60 decibels
  • lawn mower from 15 metres away - 70 decibels.

Residential premises

Council can issue an on-the-spot fine or a Direction Notice for nuisance residential noise. A Direction Notice will detail the offence and the timeframe the offender has to fix the problem. If the Direction Notice is not complied with, Council may issue an on-the-spot fine or prosecute the offender in severe cases. 

The Environmental Protection Act 1994 outlines allowable noise levels for different types of equipment and activities.

Commercial and industrial premises

Some commercial and industrial properties have development approvals and conditions which must be complied with. If a company does not comply, Council may issue a Show Cause Notice or an Enforcement Notice.

An Enforcement Notice can require the company to comply with the development conditions, take specific action, or stop the activity causing the noise issues. Council can also prosecute offenders under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009.

How to lodge a complaint

Find out how to lodge a complaint about a nuisance issue.

Last updated:30 April 2019