A proposal for standard methods and criteria for the assessment of residential noise complaints



Acoustical consultants often receive inquiries regarding noise complaints, particularly from occupants of multi-unit residential buildings. The noise complaints are typically regarding building services noise, other transient noises caused by the building or building elements, or due to noise from neighbours. While guidelines with respect to “acceptable” noise intrusion and levels for some sources exist, often the guideline criteria are not applicable, and the assessment must be based on proposed criteria by the acoustical consultant. This can leave uncertainty and ambiguity in terms of what is and what is not a valid noise complaint. The development of a standard procedure and criteria for the assessment of noise complaints would be a significant undertaking, but would be invaluable to acoustical engineers, multi-unit residential strata/condominium/co-op board members, property management, and the general public. This paper reviews relevant literature, outlines the major components for consideration in the development of a standard procedure and criteria, and will put forth a recommended framework for a standard approach.