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Renovating Under A Flight Path in Sydney

One of the conveniences of living in Sydney is having an airport so close to the city.

However, there is a price to pay for many residents: aircraft noise.

Even taking into account the fact that new aircraft are designed with better aerodynamics and quieter engines, if you live close to, or under, a flight path, the noise can become an unwelcome part of everyday life.

Airport planners – and even changes of wind direction – ensure that no one area is flown over all the time.

However, when it’s your ‘turn’ on a given night, most affected families are familiar with having the remote control to hand to make sure they can hear their favourite TV show when a plane flies over!

Aircraft Noise and Building Work

If you live in one of these areas, what you might NOT know is that aircraft noise must be considered when planning building work, including renovations like extensions and additions.

Australian Standards (AS 2021:2015) were drawn up to ensure that affected buildings are safe and acceptable to live in.

These standards can govern things like the design of your building and the materials that you will need to use in the construction work.

So, for example, you may be forced to use thicker walls or double glazing to ensure your home passes the requirements.

Aircraft Noise Exposure Forecast Zones

The standards use the Aircraft Noise Exposure Forecast (ANEF) system to calculate noise in different areas near airports, and this is in turn used to control land use planning for both Sydney and Bankstown airports.

The ANEF Zones for residential homes are:

  • Less than 20 ANEF: considered an ‘Acceptable’ zone which means there is usually no need for the building construction to provide protection specifically against aircraft noise.
  • 20 to 25 ANEF: ‘Conditionally Acceptable’ usually meaning building construction may be undertaken provided external walls, windows/doors and roof/ceiling are constructed in accordance with AS 2021 and you use materials which meet or exceed minimum acoustic requirements to attenuate aircraft noise to an acceptable level inside each room.
  • Greater than 25 ANEF: considered ‘Unacceptable’. However AS 2021 states that a relevant planning authority (such as your Local Council) may approve development provided the materials used and construction achieves the required Aircraft Noise Reduction as outlined in AS 2021.

Sydney’s Aircraft Noise Zones

If you are now wondering which area you are living in, the Sydney Airport Corporation Limited has published ANEF zones in the Sydney Airport Master Plan and this ANEF map of the area near Sydney Airport shows the contour lines that separate each of the zones.

In practical terms, if you are considering building work on your home and your property falls within an ANEF zone you will most likely require a detailed Aircraft Noise Assessment Report to be prepared by an accredited Acoustic Engineer.

This must be carried out prior to the submission of a building application such as a Development Application (to Council) or a Complying Development Application (to a Private Building Certifier).

The report will confirm which particular ANEF zone your property falls into and, as a consequence, provide recommendations for the materials to be used in the planned construction work.

It can also detail any special construction requirements to achieve acceptable noise levels within bedrooms, living areas, other habitable spaces, bathrooms, toilets and even laundries.

This report allows the builder to ensure the building work, including the materials used, meets the AS 2012 Standard for your particular ANEF zone.

Considering Building Work? Next Steps

If your home is in an ANEF zone and you are considering home alterations, it is worth contacting the team at Addbuild Additions to discuss your situation in more detail.

As a designer and builder of quality additions and extensions for 40 years in Sydney, Addbuild has many years of experience working with clients in aircraft noise corridors near Sydney and Bankstown airports.

Our technical team is familiar with the materials and building techniques required at each ANEF level, and we also partner with an accredited Acoustic Engineer who can prepare your Aircraft Noise Report.

Addbuild clients can therefore be confident that their addition or extension will meet the internal noise reduction levels required by the AS 2021 standard.

As Sydney’s leading builder specialising in designing and building extensions and additions, we have the extensive experience that comes with managing well over 1,500 home projects.

Contact us by calling (02) 8765 1555 or by using our online form.

Addbuild gratefully acknowledges the contribution of Telemetrix Pty Ltd to this article. Telemetrix is a specialist acoustic and vibration engineering design consultancy. For more information on Telemetrix’s service offering visit telemetrix.com.au

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