Do-it-yourself (DIY) noise

Advice for Do-it-yourself (DIY) enthusiasts

Do-it-yourself activities can be very noisy and cause a surprising number of complaints. Many people have jobs which need doing in their home, particularly if they have just moved in or are redecorating. We recognise that you may work during the day may only have the opportunity of carrying out these works in the evenings and at weekends.

However, it is important to note that this does not mean you may annoy neighbours at all hours of the day and night. We have powers to stop people causing unreasonable noise but owners and occupiers could avoid neighbours' complaints by following some simple guidance:

 Before starting the work

  • Talk to your neighbours. Tell them what work you are carrying out and how long you think it will take. If you let them know when you intend to carry out the works and when skips or materials will be delivered they are much less likely to have complaints
  • Discuss reasonable working hours that suit both of you. Remember you may have to consider your neighbours lifestyle as reasonable times may be different for shift workers, people with young children or people with medical conditions.

Once work has started

  • Once you have agreed the hours, stick to them 
  • When using equipment think carefully, check you have purchased or hired the quietest available and make use of any guards etc. which may reduce the noise further. Most equipment also requires maintenance and poorly maintained equipment may make more noise and prolong the job
  • Warn your neighbours about any particularly noisy operations and be clear about how long it will go on for
  • If the work is likely to take a number of hours or days take breaks from the noisy work and continue with something quieter in between.

Recommended hours for noisy DIY work

If such work cannot be done during weekdays between 8am and 6pm the following:

  • Monday to Friday noisy work between 9am - 9pm
  • Saturday noisy work between 8am and 5pm
  • Sunday noisy work 10am and 4pm.

There is nothing to stop you doing the quieter activities out of these hours e.g. painting as long as you do not make noise which affects your neighbours.

If there is a serious problem which requires immediate attention, such as a water leak or electrical fault, it may mean noise is necessary at unsociable hours. However we ask that you consider carefully if it is possible to solve the problem another way, such as turning off the water so the leak may be repaired the next day. If there is no alternative explain the situation to your neighbours and hopefully they will understand.

Examples of noisy activities 

  • Using hand tools such as hammers, saws etc.
  • Using power tools such as drills, planers, electric saws etc.  These can be extremely noisy
  • Use of larger "professional" tools such as pneumatic hammers, large disc cutters, compressors, generators etc.  These can be hired in and noise levels can be similar to those to be found near to a building site.

Remember work on shared walls or floors between properties can give rise to surprising levels of noise. Work such as drilling or even wallpaper stripping can sound very loud next door. Work on the floor, such as plumbing, rewiring and (especially) sanding, can be very loud downstairs.    

Often, people put the radio on when they are doing DIY.  If you want to do this, please keep the volume down, especially in the evenings.

What we will do

So finally, please remember people need a rest from noise at the weekend and in the evening. If a complaint is registered with us about DIY noise, it will be investigated. If you are not working within the hours mentioned above a Noise Abatement Notice could be served after the officer has carried out their investigation and witnessed the nuisance. Failure to comply with the notice may lead to seizure of noise-making equipment and/or a fine.