Respite, relocation and noise management for residents during construction
Residents living close to Metro Tunnel construction activities may be affected by noise and vibration above existing levels. Noise and vibration impacts will vary depending on the location of the property, the type of construction activity and duration of works.
In delivering the Metro Tunnel, we want to minimise and manage the inconvenience and impacts of construction on local communities and the environment.
Managing potential impacts on residents
Community members close to Metro Tunnel works are protected by the requirements of the Environmental Performance Requirements (EPRs) that were developed as part of the extensive Environment Effects Statement planning approvals process to safeguard the amenity of residents and businesses.
The EPRs set standards that govern the levels of noise, dust and vibration associated with construction of the Metro Tunnel. Compliance with these standards will be monitored by RPV and an independent auditor.
The Metro Tunnel contractors will be required to demonstrate that it has plans in place to ensure compliance and will be required to take steps to manage any areas of non-compliance.
In the context of noise, the EPRs require noisy activities to be carried out in such a way as to keep the sound emissions as low as practicable.
The EPRs are set out in the Metro Tunnel Environmental Management Framework, available on the Planning Approvals page.
Guideline airborne noise levels (external)
Construction activities will need to be managed to meet the Airborne Construction Noise Guideline Targets, as set out in the EPRs.
Table 1 sets out the triggers for providing management measures specified in the Residential Impact Mitigation Guidelines that apply to construction. The full Guidelines can be viewed on the Planning Approvals section of the Metro Tunnel website.
Note that the guideline noise levels apply outside the façade of a residence, which means that noise inside the residence will typically be lower. The guideline levels for less commonly occurring ground-borne noise are also available on our website.
|Time period||Guideline noise level|
Normal working hours
A noise management level of 10dB(A) above background noise* level applies. For works exceeding 75dB(A) respite periods may be required to restrict the hours that very noisy activities can occur.
10dB(A) above background noise* level in residential premises for the first 18 months, 5dB(A) above background noise levels in residential premises thereafter.
Noise is to be inaudible within a habitable room of any residential premises.
*Background noise is the average level of pre-existing noise measured over a 15 minute period.
What are Unavoidable Works?
From time to time, certain activities may need to be undertaken outside Normal Working Hours and are called ‘Unavoidable Works’. These activities may create noise levels that are considered undesirable.
As a contractor requirement, noise from construction activities at night should not be heard by residents within bedrooms and living rooms. Unavoidable Works are defined in the EPRs and are an exception because they are:
- Works that need to be undertaken without a break in program, such as concrete pouring.
- Delivery of essential, oversized plant or equipment.
- Time sensitive maintenance or repair of public infrastructure.
- Rail occupations or works that would cause a significant traffic hazard.
- Tunnelling works underground and the activities to support tunnelling.
- Emergency works required due to unforeseen circumstances.
Residents may also be eligible for an offer of alternative accommodation, where the total airborne noise created due to Unavoidable Works at night meets both of the following criteria, when measured outside and one metre in front of an exposed door or window to a habitable room in any façade of a residence:
- Noise exceeds either 65dB(A) in total, or 10dB(A) above pre-existing ambient noise level (whichever is higher).
Time and duration:
- The noise is experienced between 10pm and 7am on any day of the week.
- The noise occurs on at least 10 days in any 15 consecutive days or 40 days in any six consecutive months.
How will I know if I am eligible for respite or relocation?
The contractor will determine an eligibility zone based on the program of works and anticipated impacts on residents in the vicinity of construction activities. The contractor will then notify residents in that eligibility zone by the following means:
- Email and letterbox notifications.
- Telephone calls.
- Door knocking residents, where possible.
What if I am not notified but believe that I should be offered respite or relocation?
Residents who are particularly sensitive to airborne noise or vibration impacts are able to request respite or relocation, after receiving a works notification or when the works are being undertaken.
In such circumstances, residents can call the Metro Tunnel Information line on 1800 105 105. Requests will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.