Noise in the city

photo-icon Hayden Lihou

What can be done about unwanted noise in the neighbourhood

Adelaide is a fun, vibrant and growing city. With its busy schedule of events and festivals, there’s something happening day and night. The colour and vibrant atmosphere draws new people here to live daily.

Try before you buy

If you’ve not lived in a city centre before, it’s a great idea to try before you buy. The diversity of activity in the inner city generates higher levels of external noise than in suburban or rural areas, so it’s important you’re ready for it before you commit.

Visit the area at different times of day and consider the impact of things like transport, crowd movement, surrounding buildings and businesses (especially hotels and restaurants) and any construction nearby. If you can, stay a night in a hotel, so you’ll understand the ongoing sounds such as air conditioning and ventilation equipment and early morning noises such as waste collection, a vital part of keeping the city clean and healthy.

Remember: what’s acceptable noise for some, is not acceptable for others. Even at low volume, a sound may be annoying due to the characteristic of the noise such as pitch, duration, impulsiveness or how frequently it occurs. It all depends on what you are prepared to tolerate.

Property design

The design and features used in the construction of your property can greatly influence the noises of the city you hear:

  • Is your property under a flightpath, near a major road or event venue?
  • Are the doors and windows adequately glazed and insulated?
  • Are there air conditioner or other motors positioned near windows?

There are a range of building standards and codes that have regulations about noise and noise minimisation. South Australia's Online Planning and Design Code provides a single source of planning policy.

What to do if there is an issue

Given the vast variety of activity that generates noise, noise regulation in South Australia falls under a range of different legislation, administered by different agencies and authorities.

If you are experiencing noise problems from a neighbouring business or residential property, we suggest you raise the issue with them first. Invite them in for a cuppa or drop a polite note in their letterbox. Express your concerns honestly and respectfully. Remember: they may not even be aware of the issue. Once they are aware, given them time to reduce the noise. If this does not solve the problem, then you may need to contact the appropriate authority. 

Need more information?

For further information please visit our Local Nuisance page or read the Sounds in the City brochure. If you have specific questions, please contact the Customer Centre, Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 5:00 pm: