Amenity of the neighbourhood

Child care worker with kids

As a general rule, a home business must not create any additional disruption for neighbouring residents other than what would ordinarily be expected from residential premises.

This can include, but is not limited to, the following considerations:

Putting up a sign

It is a good idea to have a sign for your home business so that potential customers and clients can identify it.

The sign can display the name of the person or business, the type of business, the address, the telephone number, the hours of operation, and a logo. It must not include any advertising of goods, products or services.

A home business can display only one of the following three types of business signs:

1. Building signs: If you choose to display a building sign for your home business, the building sign must:

  • not be more than 2.5m2 in area
  • be mounted flat against an exterior wall or parapet
  • not protrude more than 300mm from the face of the wall or parapet
  • not be located higher than the parapet or eaves of the building, or 15m above ground level, whichever is the lower

2. Wall signs: If you choose to display a wall sign for your home business, the wall sign must:

  • be flat mounted or painted on the exterior wall of an existing building, boundary fence or wall
  • be attached to the building in which the business identified in the sign is located
  • not be more than 1m2 in area in a residential zone
  • not project beyond the parapet or eaves of the building to which it is attached
  • not be more than 2.5m above ground level

3. Window signs: If you choose to display a window sign for your home business, the window sign must:

  • be inside any window of an existing building
  • not cover more than 20% of the surface of the window in which it is displayed or 6m2, whichever is the lesser
  • not be illuminated

Further considerations in relation to signage include:

  • Getting written consent to display the sign if the sign is displayed on land that is not owned by the business
  • Installing and maintaining the sign safely, complying with the manufacturer’s specifications, the Building Code of Australia and the Australian Standards ‘AS/NZS 1170.0:2002’ and ‘AS/NZS 1170.2:2011’
  • Ensuring that the sign is not illuminated within a residential zone
  • Ensuring that, if the sign is illuminated in a business or industrial zone, that it is not animated, flashing or moving, that all the illumination is within the frame of the sign, that it is illuminated only from 7am to 10pm, and that it complies with ‘AS 4282-1997’
  • Getting consent from your Council or Roads and Maritime Services if the sign is located over a public road.

Car parking and traffic impacts

Your business should not materially impact local parking or traffic, and customers, employees and/or deliveries to your business should not illegally park or obstruct traffic flow. Check with your local Council regarding any specific car parking requirements, especially if your home business gets regular ongoing client visitors, deliveries or has employees. Some Council in metropolitan areas may require you to submit a Traffic Management Plan that outlines how you are managing traffic risks in your workplace.

Energy use

When planning to set-up a home business specialised in the entertainment industry (e.g. video/music production), it is important to consider the additional cost of energy-consuming equipment as well as the limitations of power usage in residential areas.

To save on your energy bill (electricity and gas), the Energy Made Easy website lets you compare all electricity and gas retailers' offers available in your area. You can also compare your electricity usage with other households in your area, and find out ways to be more energy efficient.

Waste

If your business will produce waste or pollution of any kind you need to ensure that this waste or pollution will be disposed of legally and appropriately. This could include, but is not limited to, water, grease, chemicals, rubbish or smell. The disposal method must meet all council, legislative and environmental requirements. For more information refer to ABLIS, NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and your local Council’s website.

If you require an additional waste bin, many Councils will allow you to apply for additional bins or larger bins for a fee. A commercial waste removal service may be required in some circumstances for waste produced in excess of normal residential use.

Management of animals

Home businesses involving care facility for animals, such as a breeding or boarding establishment, or a pet grooming or bathing establishment, are required to comply with the Animal Welfare Code of Practice under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 NSW.

Noise management

Some Councils have specific noise limitations for home businesses operating in residential areas. Generally neighbourhood noise, including both sound and vibration, is regulated under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act). Council can assist in balancing the needs of a home business and controlling potential noise effects to reasonable levels. Negotiating restricted times and considering solutions to reduce noise (soundproofing, padding) are preferred options, as well as being mindful of the neighbours at all times.

Table: Time restrictions when noise from residential premises should not be heard inside a neighbour’s residence. (Source: NSW Environment Protection Authority)

Noise source – from residential premises Time restrictions when noise should not be heard in a habitable room* in a neighbour’s residenceContact

Power tools and equipment (powered garden tools – e.g. lawn mowers and leaf blowers – electric or pneumatic tools, chainsaws, circular saws, gas or air compressors and swimming pool or spa pumps)

Before 8 am and after 8 pm on Sundays and public holidays

Before 7 am and after 8 pm on any other day

Local council or police

Musical instruments and electrically amplified sound equipment (e.g. radios, TVs, tape recorders, CD and DVD players, and home theatre systems)

Before 8 am and after midnight on any Friday, Saturday or the day immediately before a public holiday

Before 8 am and after 10 pm on any other day

Local council or police

Air conditioners and heat pump water heaters

Before 8 am and after 10 pm on weekends and public holidays

Before 7 am and after 10 pm on any other day

Local council or police

Motor vehicles (except when entering or leaving residential premises)

Before 8 am and after 8 pm on weekends and public holidays

Before 7 am and after 8 pm on any other day

Local council or police

Refrigeration units fitted to motor vehicles

Before 8 am and after 8 pm on weekends and public holidays

Before 7 am and after 8 pm on any other day

Local council or police

*Habitable room means any room other than a garage, storage area, bathroom, laundry, toilet or pantry.
†This applies whether or not the vehicle is located on residential premises.
Outside these hours, Councils and police can still place restrictions if these articles are causing ‘offensive noise’.