Noise, noise, noise – how to solve ....
You live in the city? There is going to be noise but you can cope.
The city buzzes with life. It is noisy but it is an active, alive noise. It is people doing things. Travelling on trams, digging up the road, constructing a building, fighting a fire, saving a life ...
This is good noise. The noise of living. But there is bad noise as well. The disco that runs until 3 am playing loud music so that you cannot sleep. There are loud motor bikes that tear up and down the streets at night disturbing the neighbourhood. Then there are the buskers who use amplification and play well into the night. Apart from their talents being questionable, residents object to them disturbing the peace at night.
There are noisy people in the streets. Happy noises of people laughing, fooling about, having fun. Nasty noise where people are angry, drunk possibly and maybe aggressive. We residents don’t want that noise!!
The Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) web site has excellent information about noise explaining the laws that are in place, making it an offence to cause unreasonable noise depending on its volume, intensity, duration and time of day. Too much noise can reduce people’s quality of life as it causes stress and sometimes severely affects sleep – vital for good health.
What can we do to mitigate noise?
There are many things that you can do. The EPA explains the avenues available in their many documents. Raise the issue with your neighbour or whoever is causing the noise, contact the City of Melbourne or the police (dial 000 at night) and there are other measures.
Another approach is to protect your apartment. In the past it has not been the custom to install double glazing that has the effect of reducing background noise as well as providing insulation from cold weather.
It is possible to install retrofitted double glazing, however. There are two types. One uses polycarbonate glazing attached to the inside of your window with magnets. The other uses glass that is also fitted to the inside of the window. Both methods cut down noise appreciably and reduce the need for air conditioning.
It is also possible to measure the noise level on your phone. There are several apps available for this purpose. When noise inside your apartment is greater than 75 decibels, rest assured, that is noisy and unreasonable!
Where taverns are licensed for live and/or DJ's music, the low frequency (bass) noise generated is difficult to measure but can disturb many residents with the vibration and repetitive sound. This is a modern problem that the licensing authorities should take into consideration. Many times double-glazing is not sufficient to block low frequency sound. Such venues need to be required to have adequate sound-proofing.
Most owners’ corporations have rules in place to ensure noise inside apartments is minimised. Floor boards are required to have sound insulation underneath. In new buildings, walls should be properly insulated from sound transmission. Older buildings built with thick brick or stone walls have good natural sound protection.
R3000 supports the idea of quiet, peaceful, enjoyment of our environment.
Authorities put laws and rules in place from time to time but it is up to the residents of the city to make sure that those policies are enforced.
Unless we take the effort to follow through on unacceptable noise issues then standards will inevitably fall and “less than ideal” will prevail.
Residents 3000 is a community group with a long history of representing our members when times get tough and living amenity in the city is threatened. We aim to work together with authorities to keep our city a happy, pleasant place to live.