21 Aug How to deal with a noise complaint in the hottest summer since 1976 (or at any time really)
High Court Conviction…… Liable Offence Contravene Section 80 Prohibition…… Aaaahhhhh….. Panic!!!
Shut up or shut down!
What have you done?
How loud was it last Saturday at Sarah and David’s wedding?
Did that DJ crank it up when you were helping the caterers to load up?
Was it the Iron Maiden cover band?
Which neighbour have you irritated?
Is it that nice young couple with the new-born?
Understanding the Acoustic Impact of your Events
…put the kettle on, make a cup of tea and take a breath.
There are some simple questions that you can ask yourself which should help you to scrape yourself off the ceiling and find some practical solutions to overcoming the state of anxiety you’ve just found yourself in.
Here we go…
- How many events are you doing a year?
- What time do they finish?
- How quiet is it where you live?
Measuring the problem
The reason we ask you these questions is that there are various pieces of acoustic legislation which guide us in helping you to set up your venue lawfully, and they’re all hinged around these three simple points. Measuring noise is on the whole an objective business. There’s little value in getting into a back and forth about who can hear what, where and when. We all have different ideas about what might be acceptable. There’s a tool called a type one sound level meter which acoustic consultants, environmental health officers (and us) all use to establish whether noise is at a nuisance level or not.
Based on the ambient volume level around your venue and how much that changes when the music’s on defines whether it’s too loud or not. That data; the number of events you run, and the time they go on until come together to provide a picture of what you might need to do to control the noise at your venue.
Build Relationships With All Parties
It’s always going to be most beneficial for you to engage in dialogue with your local council, and if possible your neighbours too. If you’ve been served a notice, you’re going to need to take some action and a conversation about what exactly the problem is, is going to be the best place to start. The next thing that you’ll need to do is make a plan – we call this a noise mitigation strategy – and this is something that we can work on with you, as we do with most of our clients.
A noise mitigation strategy lays out the steps that you are planning to take to reduce the impact of your venue on your neighbours. It may involve looking at the kind of speaker system you use, a review of the layout and usage of your venue, it may involve soundproofing, and deciding on what time to shut the doors and windows (if you have doors and windows). With a few simple and cost-effective steps, clearly laid out in a noise mitigation strategy, you’ll be making significant gains towards reducing the noise problems your venue is up against.
Your heart rate should be returning to normal by now.
Can I Continue to Run Events?
Each council operates differently, so there’s not a clear-cut answer. However, if you’re prepared to take steps to prevent upsetting the neighbours again in most cases you should be able to continue to trade.
A noise mitigation strategy will invariably turn into a noise management plan, which is your tool for developing your venue in a sustainable way, using appropriate equipment and controls to keep noise at acceptable levels, and, let’s not forget, to provide sufficient volume to keep your customers happy too!
We are called into provide solutions at various stage of the process – sometimes during planning and sometimes because a Noise Abatement Notice has been served. We like to think we’ve seen most circumstances, if you need advice on controlling sound for any type of entertainment event – please feel free to get in touch.
If you’d like to know more about how to resolve your noise problem then don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ll be happy to have a chat!