Tools and maintenance noise

Regulated devices

Noise limits apply in Brisbane to the use of these devices:

  • compressors or generators
  • ducted vacuuming systems
  • grass cutters (lawn mowers, edge cutters)
  • impacting tools
  • leaf blowers or mulchers
  • oxyacetylene burners
  • electrical, mechanical or pneumatic power tools (chainsaws, drills, sanders, electric grinder, nail gun).

Note: these provisions do not apply to builders or building contractors working on a building site. There are special noise limits for building work.

Noise limits

If you can hear a noise at a residential premises at the following times, Brisbane City Council may issue a fine.

Permitted regulated devices noise levels.
Time Day Noise limit

7pm to 7am

Monday to Saturday

No clearly audible noise allowed

7pm to 8am

Sunday or public holiday

No clearly audible noise allowed

In some circumstances, activities and equipment operating within the prescribed levels and times may also be assessed against the general emission criteria and noise emission criteria identified within the Environmental Protection Act 1994. If the noise is deemed a nuisance when assessed against these criteria, the responsible person may be issued a Direction Notice.

Exemptions

These noise limits do not apply if Council has prescribed a limit in a development approval or local law approval for specific equipment or activities for regulated devices at a property. In this instance, the person/company must comply with the conditions placed on the approval.

Noise limits do not apply if Council has approved specific equipment or activities under a local law and those noise conditions are on the approval.

Ways to reduce noise

To help reduce noise from regulated devices you can:

  • limit hours of use
  • select quieter equipment or use alternatives
  • carry out work as far away as possible from neighbours and away from sensitive areas, such as bedroom windows
  • regularly service your equipment - lack of maintenance can cause higher noise levels
  • erect a solid fence or barrier
  • install an acoustic enclosure for fixed equipment such as compressors or vacuum equipment
  • modify equipment - discuss this option with the manufacturer or installer.

How to lodge a complaint

If a regulated device is causing a nuisance outside allowable hours, Council will attend the site to conduct an investigation. To report noise complaints, phone Council on 07 3403 8888. It is preferable to phone when the noise is occurring to ensure a prompt response. 

If you are not comfortable having Council attend your property, you can submit specific information and evidence to Council. The information required includes:

  • an environmental nuisance diary
  • recordings
  • any other form of evidence supporting your complaint; and
  • a statutory declaration that the information you provided is true and correct to the best of your knowledge. 

It is important to note, statutory declarations and supplementary information can be used as supporting evidence for enforcement action. In these circumstances, the court may require the evidence for presentation.

Environmental Nuisance Diary

Before Council can take further action we need to understand your complaint and how it impacts you.

You must complete an environmental nuisance diary. The diary must be returned to Council within 20 working days if the complaint is not resolved. The information provided in the diary helps Council to action your complaint.

Download the:

Recordings

Council encourages the use of technology to record regulated device noise. This can assist to substantiate a complaint and be good supporting evidence. For example, you could provide a video of the person creating the alleged noise nuisance or an audio recording accompanied by a picture of the activity creating the alleged nuisance.

When you submit a recording, a video or a picture to Council, include:

  1. When you take the recording, video or picture, identify: 
    • the date
    • start time
    • your name
    • your location
    • the location of the regulated noise you recorded 
    • where you took the recording at your residence
    • where you placed the recorder to record the regulated noise
    • when you finish recording, state the time again.
  2. Let the recorder run uninterrupted for the entire time.
  3. Provide a short declaration (via Word version or PDF version) that the information you provided is true and correct to the best of your knowledge.

Failure to provide the above information in support of your electronic evidence may lessen the value of the evidence.

Last updated:28 May 2019