Tools and maintenance noise | Brisbane City Council

Tools and maintenance noise

Regulated devices

Noise limits apply to the use of these regulated 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 noise can be heard at residential premises at the following times, the person making the noise may be issued with a fine.

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 still be deemed a nuisance when assessed against certain noise criteria.  In this situation the responsible person may be issued a Direction Notice.

Exemptions

If a development condition is inconsistent with a noise level detailed in the Environmental Protection Act 1994 the person/company must comply with the development condition. In some cases you may need to comply with requirements imposed by the development condition and the noise levels detailed in the table.

These noise limits do not apply if Council has issued an approval for specific equipment or activities under a local law and conditions regarding noise have been placed 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 and is outside allowable hours, Council will need to attend the site and affected address to conduct an investigation. Council urges customers to report these complaints by phoning Council, preferably when it is occurring on 07 3403 8888 to ensure a prompt response can be made. 

Where the affected person is not comfortable having Council attend their property, specific information and evidence can be submitted to Council. The information required will include a noise diary, recordings or 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, you may be required to present the evidence before the court.

Noise diary

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

Below you will find a noise nuisance diary for you to complete. The diary needs to be returned to Council within 20 working days if the complaint has not been resolved. The information provided in the diary helps Council to action your complaint.

Download the: 

Recordings

The use of technology to record regulated device noise nuisance is encouraged as it can assist to substantiate a complaint. For example, 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 can be good supporting evidence.

When you submit a recording, a video or a picture to Council certain particulars need to accompany that submission in order to ensure it is useful to the investigating officer.

The particulars needed to accompany the electronic evidence include:

  1. When the recording, video or picture was taken, identify: 

    • t​he date
    • start time
    • your name
    • your location
    • the location of the regulated noise being recorded 
    • where the recording was taken 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.

02 November 2018