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How to Navigate Construction Noise Laws in Los Angeles

Posted by Echo Barrier on Aug 3, 2021 10:12:49 AM


Already high noise levels in major urban U.S. cities can increase significantly when construction projects are underway or when a large event or festival is in town. In a city like Los Angeles, with its dense population, busy entertainment industry, and continuous commercial and residential real-estate development, excessive noise is commonplace.

Understanding the noise laws is crucial if you want to avoid site shutdown, monetary fines or even a misdemeaner charge that can result in up to six months in County Jail, or both.

In Los Angeles, general noise guidelines are in place between the daytime hours of 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Except in some situations, loud noises connected with construction equipment are practically forbidden at night, and violations can result in serious penalties.

More stringent noise ordinances are becoming more common in L.A. because areas zoned for various uses are moving closer to one another. For example, an industrial plant may be located in an area that is also zoned for residential purposes requiring more restrictive noise laws.

The City of Los Angeles, with the second largest population in the U.S., consents that excessive noise will happen during the day. The efforts to control noise are focused primarily during the evening hours through the early morning. For this reason, contractors are looking for ways to mitigate excessive noise levels so they can extend the working day in an effort to meet deadlines.

What are the construction-specific noise ordinance laws in Los Angeles?


For noise involving mechanical equipment that is operating for longer periods of time (like a generator at a construction site), the ordinances are enforced through The Department of Building and Safety. Other fixed noise sources include residential, agricultural, industrial and commercial machinery and equipment, pumps, fans, compressors, air conditioners and refrigeration equipment.

According to the Los Angeles County, CA Code of Ordinances, the following chart shows the maximum noise levels by decibel for Mobile Equipment at Residential Structures

According to the Los Angeles County, CA Code of Ordinances, the following chart shows the maximum noise levels by decibel for Stationary Equipment at Residential Structures


For mobile equipment used at business structures, the maximum noise levels for nonscheduled, intermittent, short-term operation is 85dBA daily for all hours, including Sundays and legal holidays.

Read the full Los Angeles County Code of Ordinances.

What are the event-specific noise ordinance laws in Los Angeles?

Los Angeles is a city with many concerts, special events, and festivals. Prohibition and regulations for amplified equipment is found in Sec. 115.02. of the city noise ordinance, which states that operation of a loudspeaker or sound amplifying equipment has the following provisions:

  1. No sound amplifying equipment can be installed, operated, or used for commercial purposes at any time within 500 feet of residential zones.
  2. Within 300 feet of residential zones, sound amplifying equipment for noncommercial purposes is prohibited between 4:30 p.m. and 9 a.m. (except for school and church functions).
  3. In all zones, operation of sound amplifying equipment is not allowed for commercial purposes within 500 feet of any residential zone between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.
  4. In all other zones, except within 500 feet of any residential zone, sound amplifying equipment for noncommercial use is not allowed between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.
  5. Music, human speech, or both, are the only sounds permitted.
  6. Sound from sound amplifying equipment should not be audible at a distance of more than 200 feet from the sound equipment.

How are noise laws in Los Angeles enforced, and how can they be mitigated?

The Los Angeles Police Department has a special Noise Enforcement Team that is trained for aggressive enforcement of noise ordinance guidelines, especially on any complaints after the first one. The team is equipped with devices to measure and effectively monitor noise levels. After being put on notice, contractors will be required to install mitigating measures.

Echo Barrier provides a lightweight, high-performance acoustic screen whenever temporary, portable noise mitigation is needed. It is quickly and easily mounted on temporary fencing, scaffolding, or any load-bearing structure.

Echo Barrier temporary acoustic barriers are capable of massively mitigating noise from equipment like power tools protecting the public and workers. Watch Echo Barrier reduce the noise from this rotary hammer by 26 dB.


Navigating Noise Laws in the United States

Most American cities and states have specific noise laws that include harsh consequences if you break them. For more information, please read these informative articles:

Chicago Construction Noise Laws

Construction Noise Laws In Texas - What You Should Know Before Starting

Construction Noise Laws in Austin – What Does the Law Say

Construction Noise Laws in Florida


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