Marina Bay noise too much for some

She chose to live in the heart of Raffles Place to be near her workplace but Ms Mia Watanabe did not bargain for the pounding of nearby construction that came with her rented three-bedroom apartment at The Sail at Marina Bay.

The expatriate lawyer moved in last December with her husband and says the construction noise from surrounding sites begins at about 9am daily. Now on maternity leave, Ms Watanabe said the noise carries on until about 9pm at night, weekends included.

The rumble and drone of machinery can be heard from her 55th floor unit and is so loud that she now avoids using the swimming pool on the eighth floor.

“It is extremely loud, making the outdoor pool area pretty much unusable,” she said.

Ms Watanabe is not the only resident in the Marina Bay area perturbed by the noise. From January to July this year, nearly 50 complaints were lodged by residents of The Sail and Marina Bay Residences with the National Environment Agency (NEA).

The NEA received 25 instances of feedback from seven residents of The Sail and 23 complaints from eight residents of Marina Bay Residences.

Three nearby construction projects are behind the din: The development of the Marina Bay Suites condominium, building demolition work at 50 Robinson Road and construction of the Marina Coastal Expressway, according to the NEA.

The noise emitted by these projects are within permissible limits, it said.

Noise limits permissible for construction sites from 7am to 7pm from Mondays to Saturdays are 75 decibels – roughly equivalent to the sound of a loud radio – with the maximum of 90 decibels permitted for up to five minutes. From 7pm to 10pm, the limit is 65 decibels, with a maximum of 70 decibels allowed for up to five minutes. From 10pm to 7am, only noise up to 55 decibels for five minutes is allowed. The limits are more stringent for Sundays and public holidays.

Long or repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss.

Most of the complaints were lodged by residents after 10pm, said NEA. Asked what action it was taking, an NEA spokesperson said its officers have been visiting construction sites in the area to “check that they are not carrying out noisy work after 10pm”.

The NEA has also asked the contractors to refrain from noisy activities after that time and requested other government agencies to “advise their contractors not to carry out noisy work at night”.

The NEA has also tightened permissible noise limits over the years. A review was done in 2007 and regulations amended twice in the past two years, with a no-work rule imposed on Saturday nights and Sunday mornings for sites beginning work from Sept 1 last year.

Sites that start work from Sept 1 this year will have to abide by the no-work rule for the whole of Sundays and public holidays, said the spokesperson.

Some Marina Bay residents have, however, got used to the “buzz” of the area. A tenant at The Sail, who only wanted to be known as Selina, said: “I don’t really mind the noise. It’s just a general hum, like the whole of Singapore.”

Source : Today – 11 Aug 2011

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