Noise Control for Nightclubs, Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes

By Bruno Caligara

The NYC DEP regulates the amount of sound and vibration being transmitted between commercial establishments and their adjoining neighbors. While residential sound transmission is the responsibility of the DOB, The New York City Noise Code – rules and regulations for these commercial establishment – is regulated by the DEP.

Amplified noise from commercial establishments may have extremely strong low frequency components – think of thumping bass – which are the most difficult to control.  Establishments that anticipate contributing to sound pollution should discuss acoustical design with a professional acoustical consultant in the early design stages. This early planning step can preempt problems that may result from complaints after the construction is completed and the establishment is open for business.

The permitted noise levels from such establishments may not exceed 42 decibels, as measured from inside nearby residences and 7 decibels over the ambient sound level measured on a street or public right of way, 15 feet from the source.  Bass sounds may not exceed 6dB(c) above the ambient sound if the ambient sound is greater than 62dB(c).

Early planning is always key to prevent issues and saving money.