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Noise Abatement? Where do we stand?

By WonsWorld - 10 June 2008 137

The recent discussion in regards to fireworks got me thinking.  Where rights do private landholders have in regards to noise from a neighbour? A guy who is a member of a “professional” (his words) thrash metal band has moved into the house next door in a quiet residential suburban neighbourhood. The band now rehearses from 10 AM to 4 PM every second Sunday and the music from next door can be heard in the living room, kitchen etc. Basically all over the house and it is not definitely not possible to sit outside on a Sunday afternoon and garden etc or simply sit and have a coffee. I am not suggesting that what can be heard is the typical bump and thud of the bass, you can actually hear the music as good as if it was being played on your own stereo. The neighbour has been spoken to and asked to turn it down (not off). The neighbour has used some form of padding to attempt to quieten the music but at this level it does little.

The neighbour was spoken to again (and again) asked to turn the level down but at this point he has suggested that the have to rehearse as they are a professional band and it’s a like it of lump it situation. His words were, “you will have to just live with it”. I might add that there has never been any harsh words said either way and its all been very polite but as you can see, achieves nothing.

Any comments as to what the next step would be? What would you do?

What to do with a noisy neighbour?

  • Rat them out (46%, 121 Votes)
  • Suck it up (30%, 78 Votes)
  • Retaliate! (24%, 62 Votes)

Total Voters: 261

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137 Responses to
Noise Abatement? Where do we stand?
p1 2:29 pm 10 Jun 08

Take up gospel singing and practice on Saturdays?

piperdoon 2:17 pm 10 Jun 08

kel said :

I rang up someone in the then EPA when my partner and I lived in an apartment block in Belconnen and had a problem with people practicing their bagpipe playing in the community center across the road between 7 and 10pm on some weekdays – no joke. Bagpipes. It was terrible.

god, what next, guatemalan nose flutes or kazoos? Thibetan throat singing? Would you have preferred thrash metal?

While not a member of that particular pipe band that practiced at the belconnen centre, they also had/have learners and all levels of ability. Did they practice outside, or was it indoors? Was it really that terrible (and I know it can be :)) or just not to your taste?

Musicians need somewhere to practice ensemble work and by and large most organised community groups are considerate of others. It’s the home based ones that give rise to most problems unless they are serious enough to invest in the sound proofing etc.

EPA if polite discussion fails.

Give the pipers a break! 🙂

tap 1:37 pm 10 Jun 08

There are jam rooms available for not too much of a cost. I think sound underground still does it, the basement also does. Decent rooms too, im pretty sure they supply a vocal PA, which is a nice touch.

But it does cost the band… tough situation for all concerned…

Absent Diane 1:36 pm 10 Jun 08

I know many a muso who has done it… granted it isn’t quite as good, but if it stops the neighbours nagging without having to go off-site it is probably a good thing!!

Kramer 1:36 pm 10 Jun 08

I’d gently recommend them to get a practice hall or face the EPA. Excellent comments all!

If I were a bit sillier… I’d recommend setting up a large, high powered aerial in your backyard – maybe even pointed towards the offending location, and broadcast something like the Wiggles over a CB frequency. You’ll know when you’ve got the transmission frequency right as the thrash music will stop when they hear “Toot Toot Chugga Chugga Big Red Car…” mixing in with their jam… but if I recommended this I’d have to mod myself (and the EPA, or ACMA might have something to say to you).

zagons 1:36 pm 10 Jun 08

We had a similar problem – mainly in the middle of the night on weekends. We made a complaint to the EPA who sent a letter to our neighbours letting them know they were breaking the law. It totally settled down.

But if it hadn’t, you can ring the EPA (after the warning letter) and they will send someone out to take a noise reading. If they break the limit, it is a 2-3000 fine.

Quite a deterrent.

We were lucky that our neighbours were reasonable people. Good luck!!

justbands 1:35 pm 10 Jun 08

As far as thrash metal bands go, jamming every second Sunday 10am-4pm is being very considerate really…although I do understand your frustration. It sounds like they’re at least aware of how it bothers neighbours & try to address it (Sun 10-4, make-shift soundproofing), so I’m sure they’re open to negotiation. Maybe they could move every 2nd jam to another band members place? Try jamming in different rooms of the house that may better contain the noise? Improve the sound insulation?

FC 1:33 pm 10 Jun 08

similar problem here.
although mine are little punk 14 year olds who don’t go to school, but prefer to hang around ALL day, everyday playing shit rap music.
I sometimes tryo to battle them with some “angry girl music” but I give up usually becuase my stereo doesn’t go loud enough.

niftydog 1:30 pm 10 Jun 08

Ah yes, silent jamming… try suggesting to a bloke that he substitutes his most-valued appendage with a strap-on vibrator and see how far you get.

Woody Mann-Caruso 1:30 pm 10 Jun 08

Seconding EPA, and maybe even whoever looks after zoning. If they’re professionals, then they’re carrying on a business in a building zoned as residential.

niftydog 1:22 pm 10 Jun 08

Log a complaint with the EPA and let them decide. The law is virtually useless because it’s not specific enough and doesn’t deal with prolonged or repeated exposure. I think 45dBA measured at the boundary is the standard for that time on a Sunday, but if they held everyone to that then you’d risk a fine every time you sneezed.

Absent Diane 1:19 pm 10 Jun 08

suggest they buy a cheap mixer (couple of hundred bucks for a cheapo beringher – most come with pre-amps so they don’t need to DI) – a head phone splitter ($100 – $150) and get their drummer to buy an ekit (you can pick cheapos up for around $800 new or good ones second starting at $900 – $1k).. problem solved.. with bonuses.. ie they can jam at any time they like – noisless..and better for there ears.. so their music career will be elongated.

It really is a tough situation though.. as a muso you feel like you should have the right to play music during legal hours – and jam rooms aren’t the most convenient things.. however in life you need to be respectful of others (at the very least to avoid conflict)..

kel 1:15 pm 10 Jun 08

I rang up someone in the then EPA when my partner and I lived in an apartment block in Belconnen and had a problem with people practicing their bagpipe playing in the community center across the road between 7 and 10pm on some weekdays – no joke. Bagpipes. It was terrible.

This page should give you all the information you need on the noise pollution levels that are acceptable and when:

http://www.edo.org.au/edoact/fact_sheets/NoiseFactSheet.htm#restrictions

When I spoke to the person from the EPA (a couple of years ago now) they said that I would have to organise access to equipment in order to perform measurements though. Seeing as we had a semi-major road inbetween us and the offending people in the community center we decided not to pursue the matter, but it certainly sounds like it might be worth it in your case…

daveted 1:09 pm 10 Jun 08

Can’t they hire a practise hall. If they are professional, it’s tax deductible.

I used to be a band, and we regularly hired a room at the Belconnen community centre for practise.
Or maybe you and your neighbours can hire it for them. Is it worth $x a fortnight for the solitude?

Hamilton 12:49 pm 10 Jun 08

This one is easy – Take a recording of each of their songs and put them up on Youtube – Make sure you take credit for them yourself (or under an alias) and make no reference to their band. Drop a flyer in all of your neighbours letterbox (inclusing them) with a link to the songs.

Should shut them up pretty quickly if they think their music is being stolen and posted.

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