Noise Control

Find out what is considered ‘too noisy’ and how to take action if there is a noise problem in your area.

What is excessive noise?

Excessive noise is any noise that is under human control and loud enough to unreasonably interfere with the peace, comfort and convenience of anyone living here. Examples of excessive noise might include loud music, parties, band practice, broken alarms or machinery.  

However, it doesn’t include every day activities such as lawn mowing, as long as these are carried out at a reasonable hour.

It does include Building and Demolition activities – they are required to abide by New Zealand Standard: Acoustic – Construction.

How to report a noise problem and what happens

If you have a noisy neighbour, try talking to them first. If the problem persists, phone us 24 hours on Queenstown - 03 441 0499 or Wanaka - 03 443 0024

  • Always report the excessive noise while it's happening.  Keep calling until the noise problem is resolved
  • We'll send out a noise control officer to assess the complaint 
  • If we find people are creating excessive noise, we'll issue a verbal or written notice (This notice is valid for 72 hours) to reduce the noise to a reasonable level (most people will cease excessive noise at this stage) 
  • If further excessive noise complaints are received, we may seize and impound stereos or any other offending equipment, or take other steps to reduce the noise

Avoid noise problems – be a good neighbour

Noise problems can often be avoided with a little consideration for your neighbours. There is no permit that allows you to make a noise, but there are a few simple things that are good to keep in mind:

  • Tell neighbours in advance if you're having a party (or invite them along).
  • Tell neighbours of any planned works on your property that may be noisy.
  • Ensure alarms are installed correctly and aren't over sensitive or faulty.
  • Keep doors and windows closed to contain noise from inside your house.
  • Turn down loud noise at a reasonable hour at night.
  • Don't start up noisy equipment early in the mornings or late in the evenings.
  • Be mindful that many people in this district work in hospitality and can have less sociable working hours.

 

Construction noise in residential areas

Construction is often inherently noisy, but a necessary part of Queenstown and the wider Lakes District.

Some construction activity does not generate excessive noise, and so is permitted to take place at any time. 

At other times, construction is unavoidably noisy, and must be restricted to the most reasonable times.

Policy

QLDC uses the New Zealand Standard on construction noise as a guide to assess and control construction noise in residential areas. The same residential limits also apply to any construction work that affects residential properties in the Central Area zone of the city.

Work is considered noisy if it is loud enough to unreasonably disrupt anyone's peace, comfort or convenience.

Hours for noisy construction work

These are the times when noisy construction can be carried out in a residential area:

Monday - Friday: 6.30am - 7.30am Quiet preparation work only is permitted
  7.30am - 6pm Noisy work is permitted, but should be kept to reasonable levels
  6pm - 8pm Noisy work is permitted, but at a reduced noise level
Saturday: 7.30am - 6pm Noisy work is permitted, but should be kept to reasonable levels

Try to plan your noisy work to be least annoying to people living and working close to your work site.

If you want to do construction work outside these hours, you need to apply for an exemption.

When noisy work is not allowed

Noisy construction work is not permitted on Sundays and public holidays.

Some construction related work may be reasonable to carry out on Sundays and Public Holidays. This is work that is not deemed to create excessive noise. For example, a homeowner periodically using power tools on a small project during daytime hours.

Tips for contractors on managing noise

Make a plan

Identify where noise issues might occur on your worksite and what you can do to try minimise them.

Consult the neighbours

It is a good idea to consult neighbours before you begin work as it lessens their uncertainty.

It helps to appoint a contact person who can inform neighbours of the likely type of noise and when to expect it. The contact person should also pass on any concerns that neighbours may have to the contractors.

Contractors are responsible for cooperating with Council staff over any excessive noise complaints resulting from their work.