Advice for commercial premises

Plant and equipment

Plant and equipment often associated with commercial premises includes chiller units, air conditioning, and extract ventilation systems. Unless noise control measures are taken, these can cause disturbance to local residents, especially late at night when background noise levels fall.

If you are installing plant or equipment you must give consideration to its location and the noise level it is likely to produce. Ideally, plant and equipment should be positioned away from noise sensitive premises such as housing as to ensure residents are not disturbed. If this cannot be achieved, you can use additional controls to reduce noise levels to an acceptable level. Such controls can include silencers, time switches and acoustic enclosures. It is recommended that you seek specialist advice on controlling noise from plant and equipment.

Deliveries and waste collection

Theses services can give rise to disturbance especially when carried out in the early hours of the morning and late at night. Scheduling such activities to take place during the day between 7.30am and 6pm Monday to Saturdays, and not on Sundays, will minimise this disturbance.

Refuse and bottle storage areas should be sited away from housing and ideally housed within purpose designed structures. At all times, you should adopt working practices to avoid unnecessary noise disturbance.

Garden and play areas

Noise from gardens and children's play areas is often a cause of complaints, particularly during the summer months, and is difficult to control. The following steps can help:

  • site away from housing and gardens
  • restrict the hours the area is used
  • provide screening/fencing


Customers are often a source of complaint. Reasonable steps should be taken to ensure that customers arrive and leave without causing a nuisance to your neighbours.

Controlling noise through design

Good building design is essential to control noise breakout/transmission from premises, in order to prevent disturbance to local residents. Common sources of noise breakout include doors, windows and vents which, when open, offer no resistance to noise.

Many potential problems can be avoided by good design of windows, doors and ventilation systems. Ventilation grilles that are prone to noise breakout can be treated with acoustic baffles.

Structures such as conservatories offer little resistance to the transmission of noise and should not be used for loud music or similar entertainment if they are too close to other residential properties.

Outdoor events

Functions such as outdoor music events, barbecues, bouncy castles, firework displays, charity events and PA systems may need a licence from the council. Event organisers should contact the council's licensing team well in advance of proposed events. Such events are not generally encouraged in residential areas but, if carefully planned, disturbance can be kept to a minimum.

Industrial noise

Industrial premises can cause noise problems, particularly when located close to residential properties. Noise from construction activities can be loud and often disturbing. It is, however, recognised that certain activities will generate noise and that there are often no other reasonable alternatives.

If you would like us to investigate then please contact environmental health.