Noise on University Sites

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Policy and Procedures


James Cook University may be considered as comprising three basic functional areas of use:

(a) academic / research / administration;

(b) residential;

(c) recreational.

It is acknowledged that the needs of the occupants of each of these three areas must be allowed for. It is also acknowledged that the needs of each group are not always compatible, either in regard to the type of noise, its intensity, its duration, or the time of day during which it occurs. Indeed, the reaction of some occupants to certain types of noise will vary depending on which area they are inhabiting at the time. There is therefore a need to have some generally accepted limits to the production of noise on University sites.

It is anticipated that in most cases, the question of noise will be resolved without having to resort to testing procedures.

This policy shall apply equally to any person or group when present on a University site and may be applied to any noise-producing activities which contravene the requirements of the Code.


Five noise level categories have been established. They are:


up to 40 dBA


up to 45 dBA


up to 50 dBA


up to 55 dBA


up to 60 dBA

Noise levels will be measured according to the requirements of AS 1055.

These levels must not be exceeded during the respective times identified as follows:


0700-1800 : III

1800-2400 : II

2400-0700 : I



0700-1600 : III

1600-1800 : V

1800-0100 : IV

0100-0700 : I


0700-1200 : III

1200-1800 : V

1800-0100 : IV

0100-0700 : I


0700-1200 : III

1200-1800 : V

1800-2400 : II

2400-0700 : I

The following provides an indication of levels to assist with category identification:

40dBA : Residential areas in a large town at night; quiet office
50dBA : Light traffic @ 30 metres; conversation
60dBA : Heavy traffic; large store; busy office

(When the background noise level is 60 dB(A), normal conversation can be carried on easily with someone up to 1.5 metres away. Conversation is extremely difficult if they are more than 3 metres away.)


Outdoor electronic amplification of sound will not be permitted outside of the Union precinct, and is restricted to category IV and V periods.


The Organiser of any activity that is likely to generate sound levels of 50 dBA or greater (i.e. categories IV and V) must lodge (with the Director, Facilities Management Office or nominee) advice at least 7 days before the activity is due to occur. In the event that permitted noise levels are exceeded, the person responsible for control of the activity must take immediate action to comply with the requirements of this policy.


Activities generating noise levels beyond the limits defined in this policy will be permitted only with specific written approval from the Vice-Chancellor or nominee. Application must be submitted to the Director, Facilities Management Office in the same form as the Form of Advice, at least seven days before the proposed activity.

Related documents, legislation or JCU Statutes

Australian Standard 1055.

Approval Details

Policy sponsor:

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Services and Resources

Approval authority:

Estate Board

Approval date:


Version no:


Date for next review:


Modification History


Revision date

Description of changes




Policy sponsor and approval authority amended to reflect approved policy framework

Quality, Standards and Policy