Maintain Building Systems at Appropriate Noise Levels
Periodically check that any noise-producing building systems, such as air circulation devices, don't exceed unreasonable noise levels. N.Y.C. Administrative Code Section 27-218 provides that no person shall cause or permit “unreasonable noise,” which is defined in the Building Code as any excessive or unusually loud sound that disturbs the peace or comfort of a reasonable person of normal sensitivities, or injures or endangers health or damages property. Unreasonable noise includes any noise over 10 decibels between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.
In one recent case, the Department of Buildings (DOB) issued a violation notice to an owner for causing or permitting unreasonable noise between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. The DOB's inspector took sound-level readings in a bedroom of a tenant's apartment and found that the ambient level measured 35 decibels. Total and calculated source sound levels were 47 decibels. The noise came from a shaft inside a closet, and the source of the noise was exhaust fans. At a hearing, the administrative law judge ruled against the owner and fined it $350 [Rudd Realty Management: ECB App. No. 1101247 (2/16/12)].