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Restrictions on construction noise and operating times for diggers

Home News Restrictions on construction noise and operating times for diggers

Different time restrictions apply for commercial construction noise in the Auckland CBD, residential and industrial areas. It also depends on the days of the week and public holidays. There are upper decibel limits for different areas, different times of day and different days of the week.

In the CBD, commercial construction noise is allowed between 6.30am to 10.30pm Monday to Friday, from 7am to 11pm on Saturdays, and 9am to 7pm on Sundays.

In commercial and industrial areas, noise is permitted at any time, depending on what’s nearby, but is not permitted at night near residential activities, hospitals, accommodation and other noise sensitive activities. In these areas it may also depend on resource consent permits or pre-existing conditions.

In residential areas, noise is permitted Monday to Friday from 6.30am to 8pm, but only low level noise between 6.30am and 7.30am and between 6pm and 8pm. Low level noise generally means setting and packing down, or doing non-noisy work that doesn’t involve machinery, hammering, etc. On Saturdays in residential areas, noise is okay between 7.30am and 6pm. And on Sundays and public holidays, no construction work noise is permitted.

For commercial activity in residential areas, the table below shows allowable noise levels, measured in dB(A).

Chart from standards.govt.nz

If you’re not sure of the decibel rating of your machinery, or how proximity to the neighbours can affect this, contact the council for a clearer indication of what’s considered acceptable.

Action can be taken for non-compliance according to certain sections of the Resource Management Act and Auckland Council bylaws. Usually this happens as the result of a complaint.

Residential DIY home construction noise

Slightly different rules apply for DIY and home handy work (non-commercial). If you’re doing work on your own residential property, noise is generally acceptable any day from 7.30am to 8pm, according to the Auckland Council. However, complaints are assessed on a case by case basis.

If you’re hiring a professional digger service for residential work at your home, the commercial restrictions apply

A rule of thumb, especially in areas that are residential or partially residential: digger noise during the week during full daylight hours is okay, Saturdays less so, on Sundays and public holidays it’s best you take the day off too!

Ways to reduce complaints

If you’re planning to engage in noisy work, especially jack hammering, concrete cutting and pouring, grinding, but also ongoing use of power tools or vehicles of any kind – let the surrounding residents know in advance. You can do this with a sign outside, a leaflet, or just knocking on doors.

It’s really worth the effort to let the neighbours know what you’re doing – they’re much more likely to be tolerant if you take the time to show your concern, and if they know how long to expect the work to continue.

Explaining the hours you will be making noise, and how long it will continue, may reassure people and help prevent complaints. Make sure you are contactable if people do have a problem. Most people won’t want to try and get the attention of someone while they’re operating noisy or dangerous machinery, so they’ll lodge an official complaint instead.

Ways to reduce noise

You can surround the area with a solid barrier – certain materials are better than others for sound deadening. There are specialised acoustic