Forum: Construction noise rules don't give enough protection to neighbours

Construction equipment seen around HDB flats in Kim Keat Avenue, on Jan 14, 2020.
Construction equipment seen around HDB flats in Kim Keat Avenue, on Jan 14, 2020.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

I refer to Ms Tan Lay Hong's letter (Help needed for residents living with prolonged construction noise, Dec 21, 2019) and the National Environment Agency's (NEA) reply (NEA seeks to ensure compliance with construction noise regulations, ST Online, Dec 28, 2019).

I fully understand Ms Tan's plight and do not think NEA's reply is of any help to her.

I, too, live in a terraced house. In the last two years, two of my neighbours, living a few doors away, did major reconstruction work to their houses, one after the other. The prolonged noise was difficult to bear.

In November last year, my immediate neighbour commenced major house reconstruction work. For the last three months, for eight to 10 hours a day, the drilling, hacking and other noise generated have been deafening and almost unbearable, and vibration from the activities caused items in my house to fall off the shelves.

On many days, my wife and I - who are retired - have to get out of our home to escape the noise during the day. This incurs extra expenses on our part.

We have also been psychologically affected and become more irritable as a result. I have personal projects that I cannot do at home because of the noise and vibration.

We understand that the whole reconstruction will take a year to complete.

Some homes have young children, some have schoolgoing children, others have retirees, housewives, domestic helpers or, like Ms Tan, those who need quiet to survive the day.

Current regulations are not sufficient to protect neighbours from such severe noise pollution and vibration.

Can NEA review the current regulations for the good of those who might face the same plight in the future?

Low Mun Kit

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 20, 2020, with the headline 'Construction noise rules don't give enough protection to neighbours'. Print Edition | Subscribe