Who Is Responsible?
If a traffic monitoring helicopter passes your house who do complain to?
The current guidelines of the World Health Organisation from 2018 are intended to be suitable for policy-making in the WHO European Region. They therefore focus on the most used noise indicators Lden and/or Lnight. They can be constructed using their components (Lday, Levening, Lnight and the duration in hours of Lnight), and are provided for exposure at the most exposed façade, outdoors. The Lden and Lnight indicators are those generally reported by authorities and are widely used for exposure assessment in health effect studies.How can a common resident who is not an acoustic engineer interpret or measure these?
Australian Standards (guideline only, over ruled by any other state/federal document but good for reference in absence of anything else or if you aim to show something else conflicts with standards).
WELL rating is new, and getting popular for commercial. But it also does residential. To my knowledge no residential contractor dares to go here: https://v2.wellcertified.com/v/en/sound. It’s worth thinking about why. Why is commercial seen as something that needs super quality to attract tenants and residential is a commodity that is built as cheaply and fast as possible? It’s a rating tool that is simply there for companies that would like to market a particular rating.
Greenstar is similar to WELL but focused on sustainability. It’s got indoor environment targets and can work in tandem with WELL (there is a ‘crosswalk’ document that says if you meet one you meet the other). https://www.gbca.org.au/
Infrastructure Sustainability Council Australia is similar to Greenstar but is for infrastructure jobs (roads, rail) and provides targets for good noise outcomes. It’s pretty weak to be honest; it pretty much says ‘meet the other shit’. https://www.isca.org.au/Who-We-Are
National Construction code provides minimum constructions and focusses on internal noise transfer between apartments (slabs, walls).
Don’t forget the OHS Regulations 2017; it limits how much noise should be possible at a construction site.
The AAAC (acoustic society) is a bit of a gold mine for ‘good practice’ and have this guideline that acoustic consultants who are part of the society (most of us) should follow it. The way out? Don’t hire an acoustic consultant (or get a shit one). https://www.aaac.org.au/resources/Documents/Public/Apartment%20and%20Townhouse%20Acoustic%20Rating%20V1.0.pdf
here is Victoria trying to get better. It’s a great read, because you’ll see Noise is #2 complaint in apartment environment, behind storage space. it’s pretty good but lacks teeth, because there’s no real requirement to come back and prove that acoustic requirements are met. https://www.planning.vic.gov.au/policy-and-strategy/better-apartments
I think you found SEPP N1 and SEPP N2 for industrial noise and music noise respectively. There’s also Patron noise which is notn covered by either, but is addressed in VCAT precedence and AAAC guidelines.
Some of these regulations are not available for free. This should make you angry. In particular, the NCC (I think). Why do you need to pay a lot of money to find out the minimum requirements that your apartment should be built to?
Construction noise is covered by EPA noise control guidelines 1254, City of Melbourne Noise and Vibration Management Guidelines, EPA Environmental Guidelines for Major Construction Sites 480. These basically say ‘do you’re best’.
Then there is state requirements for road and rail, but they’re heaps weak.
This is actually probably only half of what determines your noise environment; I couldn’t be bothered with everything. Which is bullshit right? Now this is why major projects have an EIS publicly available. it will include a chapter on noise with a ‘road map’ of which documents applied, and even include a little more to make sure the outcome on residents is ‘acceptable’. For example, construction noise guidelines say ‘do your best’ so the EIS author probably goes to NSW documents to find a more objective target. Go find the Metro EIS chapters on construction noise; they’re out there somewhere.
This piece was kindly provided by our resident Acoustic Expert.