Advice for Home Owners

PKA have extensive experience in assisting home owners with a variety of noise issues. We strive to give practical and easy-to-understand acoustic advice while providing expert solutions.

Councils often require an acoustic report for air conditioner or pool pump installations. Some Councils have stricter noise policies than others and the conditions for installation and operation vary greatly which leads to confusion about what is required acoustically. Typically there are two approaches:

Prediction prior to install

Council may want a prediction of the noise impact of the proposed air conditioner or pool plant prior to installation. This is carried out by calculating the expected noise due to the air conditioning unit based on standard information supplied by the manufacturer. This is then compared with the existing background noise level measured by us at the site prior to the installation of the unit.

Where the predicted noise level is greater than the defined Council limit we can then design suitable noise controls for your contractor to construct.

Testing post installation

The second approach is to carry out measurements of noise generated by an existing or recently installed AC unit. In this instance, a background noise reading is carried out at the most sensitive boundary with the AC unit switched off. The unit is then switched on and the reading repeated, with the level above the background noise compared to the Council criteria as in the first approach.

Where compliance is achieved a report is prepared, certifying that the noise levels comply with Councils noise limits. If compliance is not achieved we can design suitable noise controls for your contractor to construct.

Aircraft noise is a big issue for many home owners living in and around Sydney. Major airports, such as Sydney’s Kingsford Smith, have noise contour maps (with ANEF contours) developed by the government to show the extent of aircraft noise affected areas. If you are about to develop a new house or renovate an existing home, your Council or private certifier may require an acoustic report complying with Australia Standard AS2021:2000 Recommended design sound levels and reverberation times for building interiors.

PKA can provide expert advice to ensure building elements such as your walls, roof, windows and external doors, are designed to minimise noise disturbances and comply with any acoustic requirements.

We can also perform aircraft noise testing at your home post construction if required.

Council’s often require an acoustic report when a new house or renovation is in close proximity to a major road or railway. PKA can provide expert advice to ensure building elements such as your walls, roof, windows and external doors, are designed to minimise noise disturbances and comply with any acoustic requirements.

This may include the following:

  • SEPP – State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure) 2007
  • Department of Planning: Development Near Rail Corridors and Busy Roads – Interim Guideline
  • AS 3671-1989: Acoustics – Road traffic noise intrusion
  • Council specific criteria

We can also perform noise testing after construction of your home if required.

Hard floor installations have been the cause of many noise complaints within apartment complexes. Apartments with carpeted floors have very high levels of impact sound insulation achievable; therefore typical hard floor installations will compromise the amenity of the unit below.

If you are proposing to install a hard floor in your apartment you will first need to identify the criteria applicable to your unit. The noise criteria can vary from:

  • Generic strata by-law
  • Strata by-law specific to the building
  • BCA (Building Code of Australia) impact sound insulation
  • AAAC Guideline for Apartment and Townhouse Acoustic Rating

PKA can provide expert advice where required to:

  • Predict the proposed impact sound insulation and determine the appropriate acoustic underlay
  • Perform impact noise tests of a timber or tile sample with a variety of acoustic underlays
  • Inspect the hard floor during installation and provide advice regarding the installation method
  • Perform impact noise tests of the completed floor to determine if the hard floor complies with the criteria
  • Provide certification for the hard floor

If you have been subject to a hard floor installation in the apartment above and are experiencing an undesired level of noise intrusion PKA can provide expert advice and perform acoustic testing to determine if the hard floor was installed correctly and according to all relevant requirements.

If you are designing a purpose built home theatre PKA has extensive experience in providing acoustic advice in this area. We can recommend building materials that will provide the required sound insulation to adjoining rooms and can utilise acoustic software such as EASE to calculate room modes and provide acoustic treatment to ensure an optimised listening experience.

PKA can also provide detailed acoustic advice for both the renovation of existing rooms or the construction of a new home theatre.

The above list is just a selection of the projects we have done. It is to show a cross-section of the solutions we can achieve for your project. But each job is different, and we engineer a solution to fit. So please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have a situation which is not listed here. Call PKA on 02 9460 6824 or Send an email to