What you need to know

Neigbourhood noise

Everybody should expect some degree of noise in their neighbourhood from time-to-time.

Noise control is not intended to regulate everyday residential activities such as mowing lawns and vehicles driving on the road etc.

If you have a problem with noise from your neighbour's place, try speaking with them first. Often a friendly word over the fence is all that's required.

While such noise may be a nuisance to you temporarily, provided the hours of operation are reasonable, noise control may not consider the noise excessive or unreasonable.

Be a good neighbour:

  • be aware at all times of the impact of your noise on your neighbours
  • talk to your neighbours first if you intend to have a party, carry out building work or any other noisy activity on your property
  • mow your lawns at reasonable times during daylight hours, at the weekends or on public holidays avoid mowing early in the morning
  • comply with any resource consent noise restrictions for commercial land development or construction work.

Construction noise

Noisy work such as using power tools or carrying out activities that cause impact noise such as banging and dropping materials should not occur before 7.30am and after 6pm on weekdays, Saturdays and at any time on Sundays and public holidays. Some concrete pours necessarily must be carried out before 7.30am. Although concrete pours are disruptive when they occur, the are usually a one-off event.

These are the types of noise levels and times when construction work can be carried out in a residential area:

Monday – Friday
6.30am – 7.30am

Quiet level

Quiet setting up or tidying

7.30am – 6pm

Standard construction level

With some thought still

6pm – 8pm

Reduced noise level

No pumps or power tools

8pm – 6.30am

Night time level

Not audible outside

7.30am – 6pm

Standard construction level

With some thought still

6pm – 7.30am

Night time level

Not audible outside

Sundays and public holidays
7.30am – 6pm

Very quiet level

Quiet internal work only

6pm – 7.30am

Night time level

Not audible outside

The specific decibel noise limits are contained in NZS 6803:1999. These limits are related to the duration of the construction:

  • short term (up to 14 days)
  • typical duration (14 days to 20 weeks)
  • long term noise (more than 20 weeks).

The longer the work, the stricter the noise limits become. The best practicable options must also be taken to minimise noise during the construction day. This means being thoughtful about the way some jobs are done at any time and taking the time to consult with neighbours, which will reduce the risk of complaints.

Step 1: YOU

1. Contact Noise Control

To complain about excessive noise, contact Noise Control 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

So we can assess its level, contact us when the noise is happening.

By phone

07 838 6699

2. Give us your details

We will use your details for our records only, these will not be shared.

3. Tell us where the noise is coming from

4. Tell us if our noise control officer can assess the noise from your property

For a more accurate assessment of how it affects you. 

A noise control officer assesses the noise and takes appropriate action. If the noise starts again, contact us and a noise control officer will revisit the address.

5. Let us know if you want to know the outcome

6. Phone us back after 30 minutes if the noise is still happening

For calls from 7am to 8pm. The 30-minute period helps reduce costs to ratepayers, as often the noise stops or decreases within 30 minutes. If another household complains about the same noise within 30 minutes of your call, we investigate without you phoning us back.

Step 2: Council

What you can expect from us

A noise control officer assesses the noise and takes appropriate action. If the noise starts again, contact us and a noise control officer will revisit the address.

Step 3: You

If a noise complaint is made about you

If you are the noise maker and your feel the complaint is unjustified, please contact us to discuss your concerns. ​

Frequently asked questions

What happens to equipment that has been seized?

The noise control officers may remove equipment, like stereos and amplifiers if the owners don't reduce excessive noise to a reasonable level for 72 hours after a written direction has been issued.

Any equipment taken can be reclaimed from the Council Office at 260 Anglesea Street when the officers are satisfied that its return will not lead to resumption of noise beyond a reasonable level.

What if there's persistent noise problems?

If there are ongoing complaints, further action can be taken to achieve the required outcome.

This includes the issue of a formal abatement notice, issued under the Act.

Non-compliance with this notice carries severe penalties.

Immediate fines are also imposed in some cases on non-compliance with either a written direction or an abatement notice. These are called infringement fines and are $500 and $750 respectively.

Does the Resource Management Act 1991 cover all types of noise?

No. There are other kinds of noise, which are specifically covered or controlled by other pieces of legislation.

For example:

  • Barking dogs are covered the by the Dog Control Act 1996.
  • Noisy vehicles on the road are covered by the Traffic Regulations Act 1976.
  • Noise within the workplace is covered by the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992.
  • Noise between tenancies with the same landlord is covered by the Residential Tenancies Act 1996.

The noise control provisions of the Resource Management Act 1991 are designed to:

  • protect people from unreasonable and excessive noise
  • provide effective noise control in our community
  • protect the rights of people and industry to make a reasonable level of noise.

The act points out that it is your duty, as an occupier of land, not to make noise that disturbs or annoys people by ensuring noise does not exceed a reasonable level.

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Last updated 13 July 2022