MA Noise Laws

Interior Noise Code:

Massachusetts enforces a mandatory statewide building code to regulate both airborne (measured as STC) and structure-borne (measured as IIC) noises in the interior of residential buildings. All new construction must abide by these ordinances to be considered compliant with the code.

The provision relative to noise, 780 CMR 1214.0, reads as follows:

780 CMR 1214.0 SOUND TRANSMISSION CONTROL IN RESIDENTIAL BUILDINGS 

1214.1 Scope: 780 CMR 1214.0 shall apply to all common interior walls, partitions and floor/ceiling assemblies between adjacent dwelling units or between dwelling units and adjacent public areas such as halls, corridors, stairs or service areas in all occupancies in Use Group R.

1214.2 Air-borne noise: Walls, partitions and floor/ceiling assemblies separating dwelling units from each other or from public or service areas shall have a sound transmission class (STC) of not less than 45 for air-borne noise when tested in accordance with ASTM E90 listed in Appendix A. This requirement shall not apply to dwelling unit entrance doors; however, such doors shall be tight fitting to the frame and sill.

1214.3 Structure-borne sound: Floor/ceiling assemblies between dwelling units or between a dwelling unit and a public or service area within the structure shall have an impact insulation class (IIC) rating of not less than 45 when tested in accordance with ASTM E492 listed in Appendix A. 

Exterior Noise Codes:

Massachusetts also enforces an exterior noise ordinance, measured in decibels (dB). While this ordinance provides a minimum compulsory requirement across the state, individual towns and cities implement their own noise ordinances in addition to the state-mandated law.

The ordinance for exterior noise, M.G.L. Chapter 111, Section 142A-M, reads as follows:

A noise source will be considered to be violating the Department’s noise regulation (310 CMR 7.10) if the source: 

1. Increases the broadband sound level by more than 10dB(A) above ambient, or 

2. Produce a “puretone” condition – when any octave band center frequency sound pressure level exceeds the two adjacent center frequency sound pressure levels by 3 decibels or more. 

These criteria are measured both at the property line and at the nearest inhabited residence. “Ambient” is defined as the background A-weighted sound level that is exceeded 90% of the time, measured during equipment operating hours. “Ambient” may also be established by other means with consent of the Department.

Ordinances Listed by City/Town:

Boston MA: Between the hours of 11:00PM and 7:00AM decible levels must be no higher than 50dBA. At all other times, decible levels shall be louder than 70dBA. Click Here To View The Law.

Billerica MA: Different laws for different type of areas. Residential law: 60dBA from 7:00AM to 10:00PM, and 50dBA from 10:00PM to 7:00AM. Click Here To View The Law.

Braintree MA: During the daytime, the max decible levels can not exceed 60dBA. At all ofther times, it can not exceed 50dBA. Click Here To View The Law.

Cambridge MA: Different laws for different type of areas. Residential law: 60dBA from 7:00AM to 6:00PM, and 50dBA at all other times. Cambridge also specifies the max dBA at specific octive levels. Click Here To View The Law.

Everett MA: Between the house of 6:00PM and 7:00AM sound must be no greater than 50dBA at property line. Click Here To View The Law.

Newton MA: Noise levels shal be no more than 10dBA above the background noise level at property line. Click Here To View The Law.

Marborough MA: Different laws for different land classification. Residential law: 53 dBA in the day time, and 43dBA at all other times. Marborough also specifies the max dBA at specific octive levels, along with different dBA levels in different land classification. Click Here To View The Law.

Somerville MA: Depending on the duration of the noise, Somerville has different thresholds of maxiumin decible levels. Somerville classifies the duration of noise in three groups; less than 10 minutes, between 10 minutes and 2 hours long, and in excess of 2 hours long. With those groups, between the hours of 7:00AM and 6:00PM, the max dB levels are 75, 70, 60 respectfully. For the time periods of 6:00PM and 10:00PM the max decible levels are 70, 60, and 50 respectfully. Finally for the hours between 10:00PM and 7:00AM, the max decibles would be 60, 50, 40 respectfully. Click Here To View The Law.

Quincy MA: During the hours of 8:00AM to 5:00PM Monday - Friday, and 9:00AM to 5:00PM for weekends and holidays, the law states that the max decibles is 75dBA. For hours after 5:00PM, the max decibles would be 65dBA. Click Here To View The Law.

Waltham MA: Noise levels shal be no more than 10dBA above the background noise level at property line. Click Here To View The Law.