How to Make a Noise Complaint

Let’s speak about how to make a noise complaint properly.

It’s late, and your next-door neighbor is making so much noise. You’re trying to focus at your office but the room next to you cannot stop with their constant chatter. You’re trying to relax then suddenly a loud jackhammer disturbs your quiet (more about noise pollution on silencewiki.com). This is so frustrating!
When the noise surrounding us becomes unbearable, it can feel as though there is nothing we can do about it but just let the noise pass. You’ve done all the self remedy you can ever think of but nothing has succeeded, it seems like there’s only one thing you can do… complaint.
We clearly cannot stop the noise, whether it be the constant beep that punctuates our lives, a plane passing overhead or heavy machines at work. You must first consider the different kinds of noise in order to correctly measure and analyze it (read about sources of noise on silencewiki.com).

Noise

Types of Noise

1. Continuous noiseThe continuous noise is precisely as it sounds like: it’s the noise that is made on a continuous basis, such as by equipment that runs continuously. Factory machines, engine noise, or heating and cooling systems may all contribute to this.
2. Impulsive noiseThe building and demolition industries are the most prominent sources of impulsive noise. Because of their fast and unexpected nature, these abrupt bursts of noise can startle you. Explosions or building vehicles, such as pile drivers, or the next-door neighbor doing some DIY on a Sunday morning, are typical sources of impulsive noises.
3. Intermittent noiseIntermittent noise is defined as a noise level that rapidly goes up and down. A train speeding past, industrial machinery that runs in loops, or aircraft circling over your house may all be to blame.
4. Low-frequency noiseLow-frequency noise is a common occurrence in our everyday lives. We’re continuously subjected to low-frequency noise, whether it’s the low background hum of a local power plant or the booming of massive diesel engines. It’s also the most difficult form of noise to eliminate at the source, so it can quickly travel for miles.

Video: Noise complaint – How loud is too loud in your neighborhood?

Noise Levels and Their Measures

The decibel level is a measurement of how loud a noise is (dB). The higher the decibels, the louder the noise. Typically, human hearing can be adjusted using decibels. So, noise has different effects depending on how much of it an individual is exposed to (more info about decibels on silencewiki.com).
Hearing damage can be caused by prolonged exposure to noisy sounds (75 dBA for eight hours a day for years). The body can also adapt to lower noise levels for example a 40 dBA outside noise can disrupt sleep. Look at this table to get more idea how loud some daily objects you encounter.

Examples of Noise Sources and Human Responses by Noise Level

DecibelExample of noiseHuman response
0 dBANo sound is audibleThe threshold of hearing
10 dBABreathingThe sound is barely audible
20 dBAWhispers that can be heard a meter away, faint wind in the treesA profound sense of peace
30 dBAHushed tone or low conversationsA feeling of peace and calmness
40 dBALibrary, refrigerator, a quiet street at nightA peaceful area
50 dBAModerate rain, washing machineThe beginning of disturbance
60 dBANormal conversation
70 dBABusy street, vacuum cleanerDisruptive when on the telephone
80 dBAAlarm clock, factory, noisy restaurantDifficult to have a conversation; a feeling of heavy noise
90 dBASubway, lawnmower, alarmFaint disturbance
100 dBADrill, chainsaw, motorcycleFaint disturbance
110 dBALoud concert, clubBearable for a short period of time; maximum vocal effort to be heard
120 dBAEmergency vehicle siren, airplane takeoff heard from about 300 metresBeginning of pain
130 dBAJackhammer, pneumatic toolMild pain
140 dBAAirplane takeoff heard from about 50 metresUnbearable pain
Scale of decibels

Noise Ordinances in Different States

If you’re having problems hearing noise from the inside-outside, or your neighbors to be exact, you should file a report with the appropriate authority. Before that, familiarize yourself with this summary of the noise ordinance governing different states.

Residential Noise and the Law

Making excessive noise from a residence is unlawful, according to the Environment Protection Act of 1970 (more info about this Act on planningtank.com). Any disturbance from a home at any moment may be considered irrational.
The residential property consists of the following elements:
● Any area of property, building, or outbuilding used in conjunction with a home. Driveways, warehouses, and warehouses are all examples of this.
● Any plot of land on which a house has been built.
When it comes to residential noise, the local council’s investigation officers determine if the noise is excessive.
They consider:
● volume
● source and intensity
● time and place
● circumstances
● how long the noise continues
● whether the noise repeats or recurs

Noise Guidance for Businesses: Residential Construction

Every excessive noise emanating from a residence, at any time of day, is an offense under the Environment Protection Act of 1970. Both residential building sites are subject to this rule. Construction noise may be considered unreasonable if it lasts for an extended period of time or is disproportionate in the circumstances.
Residential construction includes building:
● apartments
● townhouses
● houses
● mixed-use developments

Noise Guidance for Businesses

Commercial and industrial noise may have an effect on local communities, especially if it wakes people up at night. You must ensure that your company does not produce disruptive, irritating, or dangerous noise.
Noise from commercial and industrial establishments includes:
● commercial, industrial, and trade premises like offices, farms, shops, and factories
● commercial construction
● land development
● residential construction
● music from entertainment venues, concerts, and outdoor events
● roadworks and major infrastructure projects
● wind farms
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA official website) offers advice on how to avoid noise emissions. They review concerns about noise and impose noise limits and controls on companies.
After familiarizing these guidelines, you must first know the actions you can take before making a noise complaint. A simple conversation can often overcome your problem with noises. However, if noise appears to be a constant concern in your house, there are measures you can take.

How to Make a Noise Complaint:Actions Before

1. Talk to Your Neighbor

If you are experiencing noise problems in your neighborhood, EPA highly advises that you first talk with your neighbor or the person who is causing the noise. People aren’t always aware that they’re causing excessive noise or that they’re bothering you. The easiest way to inform your neighbor is to leave a small polite note on their front door.

Sample Letter

Sample Letter
Source: Pissedcustomer.com (more info about Noise Complaint Letters on letters.org)

2. Engage in Mediation

Both of you and your neighbor can try mediation at some time during the dispute period, the noise, even after legal proceedings have begun. The right time to mediate your conflict is determined by the facts of the situation.
The quicker the better, as in other processes that promote negotiated resolution. The important thing is to have enough information so that the parties can have realistic, sensible, and knowledgeable conversations, regarding the noise problem.

3. Find the Legal and Responsible Authority

If speaking with the person who is causing the noise would not address the matter, you must determine which authority is responsible for coping with the noise issue; this may be Council or another authority, such as the EPA or the police.

4. Make a Diary About the Noise

Keep a noise diary for the first two weeks and email it to Health Services. The problem must be properly reflected in your diary pages. EPA requires you to report the following information in order for the matter to be investigated:
● When does the noise happen? (dates and times of day)
● How long would the noise last?
● The kind of noise that is a source of concern
● The kind of noise that is a source of concern,
● When you hear a noise, which room are you in?
● An indicator of its volume,
● What effect does this noise have on you?

Video: Some Fun – The neighbors that make noise complaints

After taking these actions, it’s now time to make the actual noise complaint, here’s how your process works.

How to Make a Noise Complaint

After making the noise complaint, the proper authority evaluates the evidence after receiving the noise diary to ascertain if the noise is an annoyance under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 (more info on health.vic.gov.au)and/or excessive under the Environment Protection Act 1970.
As part of their investigation, they may gather facts such as notes, statements, photos, and sound meter readings at the source of the suspected noise.
They also seek to remedy the problem by giving advice about how to minimize noise to a reasonable degree for the individual responsible for the noise.
They will give you guidance on how to do this if the evidence does not justify a nuisance or if they think the matter can be best resolved privately.
But, if the noise issue resorts to filing a case in court, here’s what will happen:

Default Judgment and Dismissal of the Statement of Claim

After you, as a plaintiff, have lodged a declaration of claim with the judge, the defendant must be presented with it. After that, the complainant has 28 days to file his or her defense. You may apply to the court for a default judgment if the defendant fails to file their defense.
Alternatively, the court will terminate the proceedings after nine months if the complainant fails to file a defense and you refuse to file an appeal for default judgment.
Court attendancesThe case is set to be tried in court six weeks after the defense is filed. The court would send the parties guidance for a quick decision at the first appearance. If a trial date is not set, the case will be rescheduled for a second appearance, which will normally take place 28 days after the first.
Proceeding to trialFour weeks before a trial date, a pre-trial hearing is scheduled. The court will check if both sides have followed all prior court orders during a pre-trial investigation.
At this point, it’s important that both sides are able to go to trial. If the plaintiffs have not complied with prior court rulings or directives, the court has the authority to dismiss the case or issue a cross-claim.
Discover of evidenceFinally, discovery is a pre-trial process in which you may ask the other side for evidence. This evidence would most definitely be based on the situation. This is where your noise diary will take into account, plus, any evidence that may stake our claim can also be allowed in the court as long as it adheres to the laws and regulations of EPA.
Take away, if you really want to file a noise complaint, there are many ways to do it. But, you have to make sure that you follow the regulations imposed by the EPA.
Noisy neighbors, co-workers, construction sites, or establishments can surely be a nuisance, it can be irritating! So, if this problem arises and affects your well-being, it’s your right to do something about it (read more about Noisy Neighbors on silencewiki.com). Lucky for you, we have laid out a possible plan to address this problem.

Video: Neighbor Noise Complaint! You’ve Got To Try It!