Dealing with Building Noise

April 2016

When Toronto Raptors had problems communicating with each other during team practices, they learned that reverberations in the facility were causing the problem. Sound-absorbing treatments were the solution. The same solution can apply to noise problems in condo buildings.

Noise is the result of everyday activities including doors banging, drilling, music, yelling, parties and floor stomping.

In a condo building where hundreds of people reside, noise can become incessant and unmanageable. Yet each condo resident is entitled to peaceful enjoyment of their home.

What to do when noise is a problem

  • Document the duration and type of noises
  • Seek independent verification – have the concierge or security hear the noise from your suite
  •  Inform the condo manager in writing of the problem

The board of directors, through the management office, has a duty to stop unreasonable noise. Noise is often controlled through condo rules prohibiting certain actions such as construction during evening hours or use of certain sound absorption materials beneath or on top of floors.

Yet rules can be difficult to enforce, particularly when the source of noise is unknown or unverified.

Wall construction and building requirements may not be enough to keep out noise. Sound absorbing materials in floors and on walls is helpful but not always sufficient. This means that noise may sound like it is next door or a floor above but may have travelled from elsewhere in a building.

Some condo buyers have their condo suite inspected prior to purchase to ensure they will not become victims of excessive noise.

Acoustic companies, engineering companies specializing in the detection and mitigation of noise, can help identify and resolve excessive noise problems. Such companies assist when some buildings are initially designed. They can also advise on noise issues in an existing building.

When the source of noise can’t be identified, an acoustic company can test for the source of noise and determine if it is within acceptable norms. When the noise is deemed excessive, they can advise on how to deal with it.

Wherever people live total silence is usually not possible. Acoustic specialists can help to ensure noise levels are within acceptable levels.


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