Rules we employ when installing sound systems in residential areas:
I think in residential areas we as sound suppliers/engineers need to be (and be seen as being) responsible when delivering sound for events especially if outside.
The noise control guys will be called out after a certain number of complaints from nearby residents – this can vary for some areas than others and how intense the compliant.
As I see it if we take sound level readings on the edge of the building or marquee and also the venue boundary edges every hour from the start of the event and note these down we have solid proof and a point from which to discuss. Without these readings sound volume/noise has no significant relevance and certainly no means by which to hold a discussion.
If the noise guys come to an event we can produce these readings, turn it down to a volume they are happy with and should they come back we can read it again and show them that it hasn’t changed since they were there last. I don’t know of anybody that does this but it’s just something I like to do. It also shows to the client that we care about their event as much as they do and want it to finish at the time as planned.
I currently have only ever had noise control called out 3~4 times and never had to stop a gig early or had gear confiscated.
How long does it take to set up?
This is a difficult one to answer without first having a few questions answered.
What is the access to the performance area like with respect to the car park or loading bay? In some cases it can take as much as an hour just to get equipment unloaded and moved from the loading area to the stage.
Once loaded in I like to allow 90mins for a simple DJ set up to 3~4 hours for an awards evening for 800 people.
Once the main sound system is set up what other elements are involved (ie. Entertainment, Multimedia Presentations etc) and these need to be tested/sound checked/ rehearsed before guests arrive.
The rule of thumb here is: Prior Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance... leave nothing untested so you and your client can relax and enjoy watching the event unfold without unexpected "challenges". After all isn't that what they pay for?