Construction noise limits under review to take into account WFH arrangements

15 Oct 2020

This comes as some residents in Clementi had expressed concern on the noise coming from nearby construction developments during the examination season.

Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment Desmond Tan said an ongoing review of construction noise limits will take into account the post-COVID-19 situation within residential areas while still ensuring that projects are completed on time and within budget, reported Channel News Asia (CNA).

He made the statement in response to Member of Parliament for Jurong GRC Tan Wu Meng’s question on when was the last review of construction limits and related penalties.

“My ministry regularly reviews the construction noise limits and penalty regime,” he said in Parliament on Wednesday (14 October) as quoted by CNA.

Tan revealed that the last review on penalties was made in 2014.

“For instance, NEA tightened the noise controls and implemented the no-work rule in 2011 to prohibit work activities at construction sites located within 150m of residential premises and noise-sensitive premises such as hospitals and nursing homes on Sundays as well as on public holidays,” he said. 

Tan Wu Meng also asked whether the COVID-19 environment, which sees Singaporeans learning and working from home, will also be considered in the current review.

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This comes as some residents in Clementi had expressed concern on the noise coming from nearby construction developments during the examination season, he said.

The Minister of State assured that these factors will be taken into account during the review, along with the “costs as well as duration of the construction”.

“We will take into account the current as well as future conditions, and we have to work closely with the built environment and industry to ensure that whatever penalty regime as well as noise limits that are imposed have to protect public health, and at the same time ensure that our construction work continues to be completed within the time frame and costs stipulated,” he explained.

Tan Wu Meng also queried on whether the penalties may involve economic levers on offending construction firms. At present, offending contractors can be fined up to $40,000.

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The Minister of State noted that the present penalties have been in lowering the number of complaints as well as enforcement over the years.

In fact, the number of noise-related complaints per 1,000 construction sites dropped to around 1.6 in 2019 from 2.7 in 2012, while the number of enforcement actions fell to 1.6 to 0.8 over the same period, he said.

“However, we will continue to look at how this penalty regime will have an impact on construction noise, and in particular, repeated offenders or construction sites that have been given the same warning over and over again,” added Tan.

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