1.1 Types of noise in a strata building | Owners Corporation Network

1.1 Types of noise in a strata building

Most of today’s units built are built under the old Building Coad of Australia requirements. Noise transfer between units will most likely be a problem as people have greater expectations for noise mitigation today.

The various regulations and rules for apartment building construction provide a minimum level of noise control within apartment buildings. However, a minimum level is not an ideal level. And even with adequate noise control mechanisms you will find noise issues in apartment living may still arise. Noise irritation is not just from people in an adjoining apartment. The building and external environment can be a rich source of noises. The types of noise that can drive you batty can basically be categorized under four headings;

Neighbourly noise– from general living activities, TV, music, showering, toilet flushing, extra loud talking or music, crying babies or children, pets or late night parties. They may not realise that you can hear their or their daughter’s violin practice sessions, the new TV installed on the common wall of their master bedroom or the wind chimes on their balcony.

The master bedroom of our apartment was connected to o the master bedroom of our neighbours by a long common wall. One evening after just getting into bed we noticed a low persistent murmur. We ignored it for a few days hoping it would go away. When it didn’t we walked around the apartment listening through windows and with our ears up against walls. We tracked it down to the master bedroom common wall and to noise of TV programmes.  All sorts of negative, unhappy thoughts immediately flooded in. “how could they bring a TV into their bedroom – don’t they realise it is a common wall and we might be wanting to sleep?”, “How do we solve it?”, “What of they don’t care that we can hear it?”, “What if we have to wear earplugs forever”. You get the picture. Assuming the worst and to heated up to consider knocking on their door it I wrote a note saying we could hear it and asking them if they would move the TV out of the bedroom or not watch it after 10pm? Well, a day or so later the wife knocked on our door and apologised for the noise and said they’d moved the TV out of the bedroom. Moral of the story: Sometimes asking nicely will get a considerate response.

Whatever the noise is do everything in your power to sort it out amicably as you have to live next to them afterwards. A quiet and polite request in writing or verbally can often result in a genuine effort to fix the problem, but if you start off accusingly and aggressively then expect an aggressive response. A simple rule of thumb about your right to make a noise that disturbs your neighbours – you don’t have one. If you want to have constant late night parties with loud rock and roll music you shouldn’t be living in an apartment.

Flooring– Noise generated from hard floors is one of the greatest sources of complaint within residential apartments, with many people installing timber and tiles as cheaply as possible, creating headaches for others. Poorly installed and noise insulated flooring can  mean  downstairs neighbours hearing residents walking around in heels, the scraping of chairs and tables over hard floors, children playing with balls, marbles, running, remote controlled cars etc.

When looking for an inner city apartment to rent many years ago there was one where there was suspicious looking plant machinery 20 meters away on the roof of the next door building. Luckily the current tenant was home at the time of the viewing and I asked what they were. He replied that they went on over-night and were extremely loud!

Building noises– A whole range of noises can be generated by a strata building including water pipes, midnight intercom buzzing, fire alarm drills, strange, unexplainable things that go bump in the night. Find out where the buildings services rooms and machinery are located, central air conditioning plant the rubbish bin removals and recycling, the gym, the pool, the lift and lift plant room.

External disturbances– Generated from outside the strata complex include, local celebrations, fireworks, the pub down the road, traffic, air conditioning or machinery from the building next door. Look out the window and one of your windows look over next buildings air-conditioning plant or rubbish pick up area.