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Building on land near airports and flightpaths

This information has been prepared to assist in understanding the regulations and guidelines regarding building on land near airports and flightpaths.

Building within and beyond airport boundaries

Some buildings around airports and within airports can interfere with the operation of those airport’s facilities. Airport operators have arrangements in place to ensure that development beyond the boundary of the airport does not adversely impact upon aviation operations.

A key protection measure that relevant authorities have in place is an Obstacle Limitation Surface (OLS), which defines the airspace surrounding an airport that must be protected from obstacles (buildings and cranes) to ensure that aircraft flying in good weather during the initial and final stages of the flight do so safely. A map indicating the boundaries of the OLS is produced by airport operators to keep the public informed of this information.

Protection of the airspace around airports is managed by Commonwealth legislation and jointly managed by airport operators, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.

Relevant Commonwealth legislation includes:

Impact of aircraft noise on proposals

It’s important to also be aware of the effects of aircraft noise when building. Most council plans have prescribed conditions regarding this noise source that apply to land in the Australian Noise Exposure Forecast system (ANEF) contour 20 or greater. 

In most cases, councils are required to take into consideration impact of aircraft noise when assessing proposals for the construction of new buildings or when carrying out substantial alterations/additions to existing buildings. Council will consider the location of the development in relation to the criteria set out in AS 2021:2015 Acoustics – Aircraft

Noise Intrusion – Building Siting and Construction.

For further information refer to the following authorities:

To find out more, contact HIA’s Planning and Environment team.

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