If somebody were to mention the word "pollution" to you, the chances are that your mind would first of all turn to smoke, carbon and emissions. Over the last decade or so, it's certainly been a buzzword as people get more concerned with the air that they breathe. However, pollution also extends to the amount of noise that pervades society these days, and noise pollution can be a particularly big problem in the bigger cities across Australia. As a business owner considering your "bricks and mortar" operation in one of these cities, have you figured in this risk?
Owning a business comes with a raft of responsibilities. You need to look out for the well-being of everybody who your business impacts, whether they are staff, visitors or neighbours. A number of laws are in place to make sure that you pay attention here and some of these laws relate to the amount of noise that your business may create.
Getting an Assessment
If the very nature of your project is guaranteed to create some level of noise, then you need to assess your exposure by bringing in an acoustic consultant. Whether this type of pollution is caused by excessive decibel levels, or by low-frequency vibration, it could still affect others and requires the consultant to conduct a noise impact assessment.
Receptors and Requirements
You may never have heard of the term "noise sensitive receptor" before, but this is one of the areas the consultant will look into for you. You may be surprised where these "receptors" are, but it's best to be clear before you proceed. You may also find that a local council will insist on an assessment before they will give you the permission you need to go forward. If you happen to live in a particularly sensitive area, prior complaints about similar businesses may need to be taken into account.
Consultants will have a look at your existing operation (if any) and will then predict a number of different models over and above this baseline. This may require quite a lot of effort and a certain amount of time to complete, so it's best to start well in advance of your projected opening date.
It's always a good idea to have a consultation with an acoustic specialist when you're at the drawing board stage. You may have to significantly modify your plans and should be in possession of as much information as possible in advance.