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Environmental Health

Noise Complaints

Noise from fixed mechanical sources

Environmental Health Section investigates complaints regarding fixed mechanical noise sources such as: rooftop air conditioning, restaurant ventilation systems, and motors and compressors. District inspectors will take noise measurements to see if they exceed the allowable levels.  If the noise levels are not compliant, inspectors will require the property owner of the noise source to make sure they are compliant.  This may involve1)  altering times that the machinery is allowed to be turned on, 2) relocating equipment , 3) constructing noise suppression measure or 4) other measures.

To Report a Complaint about fixed mechanical noise source: Contact: 252-3800


The fixed noise standards are based upon the zoning of the impacted property and the time of day the noise occurs. The law was written in 1972, however, all zoning categories in San Francisco were changed in 1986. To properly understand the standards set forth Section 2909 one must use a zoning concordance to relate present zoning categories to those in use in 1972. 

The Police Department is responsible for all noises associated with:

  • music
  • parties
  • noisy people
  • radio
  • television, and
  • barking dogs

The police can be contacted at their non-emergency dispatch number (415) 553-0123, 24 hours a day. The Police Department responds to most barking dog complaints in San Francisco unless there is evidence of animal abuse. All cases of animal abuse should be directed to Animal Care and Control at 554-6364.

The Building Department is responsible for noise associated with:

  • Work that takes place under a building permit.
  • Construction noise is generally permitted in San Francisco between the hours of 7A.M. to 8P.M. seven days per week.
  • Work that occurs outside this time period requires a special permit to work at night (Section 2908, San Francisco Police Code).

 The telephone number for the Department of Building Inspection is 558-6096. Complaints regarding construction noise should be directed to the building inspector assigned to the jobsite.

The Department of Public Works, Street Division is responsible for:

  • construction and/or excavation in the City streets.

The telephone number for the Street Division is 415-554-5816