Singapore Expats Forum

Noise from HDB Neighbor (Would Condos be different?)

Discuss about life in Singapore. Ask about cost of living, housing, travel, etiquette & lifestyle. Share experience & advice with Singaporeans & expat staying in Singapore.

Sponsored by:
Image
AE Logistics - Singapore Movers

byseeksconseil
Member
Member
Posts: 26
Joined: Sat, 15 Dec 2012

Postby byseeksconseil » Sun, 16 Dec 2012 3:37 pm

Actually, the noise that disturbs me most right now IS their walking (and running).

Contrary to general perceptions, walking barefooted is NOT silent – many people (such as those in this case) (unconsciously) "slam" their heels on the floor when walking barefooted, producing a huge impact on the floor. If they wear slippers (like I do), the heels cannot directly impact the floor and therefore there is little if any footsteps noise.

I wear slippers and my walk is silent. But If I switch to waking barefooted, with my heels impacting the floor, I can feel and hear the vibration caused by my walking, and so can the people below me – even worse I believe.

But the furniture dragging is annoying as hell too. I am not sure if the neighbor is willing to take up the suggestion though.



sundaymorningstaple wrote:You really haven't investigated how condos are built here then, obviously. Their construction isn't much different than HDB's. The big difference is most condo come with Aircon preinstalled and a fair number have wall to wall carpeting or wooden floors which when laid over a substrate the way they are designed to be here that will usually reduce the knockon effect of hard objects being dragged around. (usually the floors are of a wooden parquet type of affair rather than a strip wooden floor like in the west so are fastened to some sort of substrate rather than directly to the concrete floor - like tiles and marble/granite are). Most noise isn't from walking jumping of children as most Asians wear no footwear in the home.

One thing that really helps are the special funiture pads made of the hard silicone that slides very easily and silently. Wooden chairs are bloody noisy without them.

byseeksconseil
Member
Member
Posts: 26
Joined: Sat, 15 Dec 2012

Postby byseeksconseil » Sun, 16 Dec 2012 3:39 pm

I don't mind water running down the pipes at all. The sound of water flowing is quite soothing to me actually. But the heavy vibration produced by elephant-like walking, and the noise of furniture being dragged are the opposite.



Wd40 wrote:I have lived in condo room before. Biggest difference I see in addition to what you have mentioned are better ceiling heights, electrical wiring and plumbing pipes concealed inside the walls, so you dont hear water running down the pipe in your bathroom when someone from the floor above you flushes the toilet.

User avatar
x9200
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9320
Joined: Mon, 07 Sep 2009
Location: Singapore

Postby x9200 » Sun, 16 Dec 2012 6:35 pm

byseeksconseil wrote:Actually, the noise that disturbs me most right now IS their walking (and running).

Contrary to general perceptions, walking barefooted is NOT silent – many people (such as those in this case) (unconsciously) "slam" their heels on the floor when walking barefooted, producing a huge impact on the floor. If they wear slippers (like I do), the heels cannot directly impact the floor and therefore there is little if any footsteps noise.

I wear slippers and my walk is silent. But If I switch to waking barefooted, with my heels impacting the floor, I can feel and hear the vibration caused by my walking, and so can the people below me – even worse I believe.

I am rather heavy weight and I walk barefoot all the time and don't feel these vibrations. I live in a condo but maybe this is also the way people walk? Frankly, whether barefoot or in slippers these are normal ways people move within their apartments so you may also face this basic possibility that this is the way it is here or you are somehow oversensitive. I lived in Singapore in 2 difference condos (with some neighbours above) and don't recall having such issues. Moving furniture, dropping some objects - yes, but heavy walking, not really.

User avatar
JR8
Immortal
Immortal
Posts: 16514
Joined: Wed, 24 Mar 2010
Location: K. Puki Manis

Postby JR8 » Sun, 16 Dec 2012 8:10 pm

Wd40 wrote:I think it's something to do with poor acoustics design in hdb.
I don't think you can do anything about it if the noise is in the day time. I mean come on if my kid wants to play in my house, I wouldn't let anyone interfere with it. Thats our right.

No it's not! Everyone has a right to Quiet Enjoyment, aka Peaceable Occupation. The flip-side is that you have an obligation to behave in a neighbourly manner.

But if this happens in the night and disturbs your sleep, then you have a case here.

And what if you work nights? I.e that's your contention summarily debunked.

Otherwise I would say find a condo for yourself.

I'd say go and speak to HDB about it.

User avatar
x9200
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9320
Joined: Mon, 07 Sep 2009
Location: Singapore

Postby x9200 » Sun, 16 Dec 2012 9:09 pm

JR8 wrote:
Wd40 wrote:I think it's something to do with poor acoustics design in hdb.
I don't think you can do anything about it if the noise is in the day time. I mean come on if my kid wants to play in my house, I wouldn't let anyone interfere with it. Thats our right.

No it's not! Everyone has a right to Quiet Enjoyment, aka Peaceable Occupation. The flip-side is that you have an obligation to behave in a neighbourly manner.

But if this happens in the night and disturbs your sleep, then you have a case here.

And what if you work nights? I.e that's your contention summarily debunked.

Otherwise I would say find a condo for yourself.

I'd say go and speak to HDB about it.

I think it was SMS who mentioned here a number of times how hopeless is to solve any kind of noise related issues in HDB. Even for much more drastic cases nobody is going to do anything and that includes the police.

For one point you responded above - IMO it is natural and commonly accepted that during daytime the noise level is higher. You have no obligation to keep quiet to the level of satisfaction of your neighbors. It has to be to the level acceptable by more or less defined average. It is always about the average not the individuals. If you work at night I am afraid you should not expect the whole neighborhood to stand still just because you are sleeping during the daytime. People will still flush toilets, vacuum clean and do other standard noisy things. Of course if someone generates excessive noise over longer period of time it is a different story but a kid playing typical way (not hammering the floor for 1h) and dropping something on the floor once for a while is IMO not an antisocial behaviour.

User avatar
JR8
Immortal
Immortal
Posts: 16514
Joined: Wed, 24 Mar 2010
Location: K. Puki Manis

Postby JR8 » Sun, 16 Dec 2012 10:29 pm

byseeksconseil wrote:Hi, yes. I did talk to the family, twice (I think I mentioned this in one sentence in the post - but it was a long post so I can imagine how that can be skipped over).

Sorry it seems that I missed it on my first read. In my experience people are often oblivious if they are causing a noise nuisance. This is why before approaching them you have to take take a few deep breaths, let go of any pent-up frustration, so when you knock on their door you can do it calmly and with a friendly smile on your face. Yes I know it's very very hard :). But visiting them and being angry will probably achieve nothing, and could even make it worse as they seek to 'get their own back' on you.

I've had to do this a few times where I lived (London) below a ballet choreographer who would practice step/jump routines maybe 100 times in a row in her lounge. Another time a household of young professionals (London) who had door-closers on every door that were over-tightened, so between say 7-8.30am each morning you'd have doors slamming maybe 50+ times, so heavily that things in my apartment would shake. An irony was that if I so much as put some music on after c8pm they'd be up like a shot hammering on my front door.

In Singapore, I had a neighbour who on weekends would come home at c2am and start playing saxophone (!!). I had a theory that perhaps he played in a club or similar. The condo management office inter-faced on that one. Just this past two weeks we've been having a problem with the family upstairs, where their toddler is bouncing a marble or similar on the stone tile floors.... 'Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap tap, tap tapa tapa tappppp' over and over and over. Trust me I've had visions of going up and grabbing the child by the flipping throat and stuffing his marble down it! I've tried yelling, hitting the ceiling with a broom-stick, speaking to their nanny... not much has changed... Grrr.... I feel your pain!


But there has not been much improvement.

The first time, the father was trying to deny there was any noise from them ("Noise? Not really.", he said).

This is the thing, it is easy for someone to take it as a personal criticism from a complete stranger, so automatically respond defensively. Ask yourself though, how could he possibly know what is sounds like in your flat.


The second time, the father blamed it on his 6-year-old son and said he did not want to see me any more.

Age is no excuse, it is the parent's responsibility. Naturally you can expect say a baby to cry at times, that's life. But heavy foot-steps can be reduced to a point of not causing a nuisance.


The son was contributing to the problem by running and moving furniture. But I feel that the rest of the family were heavy walkers as well.

Yes some people just are naturally heavy walkers. I would go and speak to HDB about it. In such matters it can be cathartic to discuss it with other's who have some jurisdiction/expertise.



User avatar
nakatago
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 8333
Joined: Tue, 01 Sep 2009
Location: Sister Margaret’s School for Wayward Children
Contact:

Postby nakatago » Sun, 16 Dec 2012 10:47 pm

From my experience, people in Singapore are forgiving of feet-related noise BEFORE 10 pm. After that, if they're not passive-aggressive, they will go up to your unit, knock on your door and ask you to take it down a notch or several.

Also, note the layout (most buildings will have the same layouts). Some noise can be ignore if over the common areas or the kitchen. But those above your bedroom, better take a deep breath and head to the staircase up.

User avatar
Wd40
Director
Director
Posts: 3936
Joined: Tue, 04 Dec 2012
Location: SIndiapore

Postby Wd40 » Sun, 16 Dec 2012 11:10 pm

x9200 wrote:
JR8 wrote:
Wd40 wrote:I think it's something to do with poor acoustics design in hdb.
I don't think you can do anything about it if the noise is in the day time. I mean come on if my kid wants to play in my house, I wouldn't let anyone interfere with it. Thats our right.

No it's not! Everyone has a right to Quiet Enjoyment, aka Peaceable Occupation. The flip-side is that you have an obligation to behave in a neighbourly manner.

But if this happens in the night and disturbs your sleep, then you have a case here.

And what if you work nights? I.e that's your contention summarily debunked.

Otherwise I would say find a condo for yourself.

I'd say go and speak to HDB about it.

I think it was SMS who mentioned here a number of times how hopeless is to solve any kind of noise related issues in HDB. Even for much more drastic cases nobody is going to do anything and that includes the police.

For one point you responded above - IMO it is natural and commonly accepted that during daytime the noise level is higher. You have no obligation to keep quiet to the level of satisfaction of your neighbors. It has to be to the level acceptable by more or less defined average. It is always about the average not the individuals. If you work at night I am afraid you should not expect the whole neighborhood to stand still just because you are sleeping during the daytime. People will still flush toilets, vacuum clean and do other standard noisy things. Of course if someone generates excessive noise over longer period of time it is a different story but a kid playing typical way (not hammering the floor for 1h) and dropping something on the floor once for a while is IMO not an antisocial behaviour.


+1
My exact thoughts on the issue. Just that you put it in a really nice way.

sabaisabai
Member
Member
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun, 16 Dec 2012

Re: Noise from HDB Neighbor (Would Condos be different?)

Postby sabaisabai » Sun, 16 Dec 2012 11:30 pm

byseeksconseil wrote:Hi,

I realize that there is another thread on this page about noisy neighbors. But I think my questions are a little different. So I am starting my own.

I came (back) to Singapore in October and moved into an HDB unit last month (renting the entire flat myself). I am having noise issues with the family living above me (4 of them). First of all, they walk with very heavy footsteps (like elephants). Second, I hear furniture being dragged throughout the day.

I feel disturbed and find it difficult to deal with. I have talked to the family twice. But there has been little improvement. I am thinking of the next two steps. 1) Approach HDB for help (I know there is mediation available - I see it on the HDB website) 2) If mediation is not successful, I will move out (probably) to a condo unit (or rather, just a bedroom in a condo unit).

My specific questions are the following:

1) Is it ok for me (the tenant) to approach HDB about the noise problem? Or, would it be more effective if the landlord does it?

The upstairs family owns their unit. I am renting mine. My agent says that it would be better for the landlord to handle the matter for me. My landlord says she is willing to do that, but at the same time, she says she would only be relaying messages, and that things might get confusing. Therefore, she says it would be more effective if I approach HDB myself, which I don't mind actually.

What do you think?

2) If I move into a condo unit, would the footsteps noise problem disappear?

I read from somewhere that some HDB units are made from cheap materials (HDB walls would float on water, I read). Therefore, I was wondering if condos are made from sturdier materials and therefore can absorb footstep noises better.

Indeed, before I moved into this HDB flat last month, I was living in a condo room as temporary accommodation. I did not hear a thing from above when I was living there, footsteps or otherwise. Of course this could mean a lot of things (maybe nobody was living above at the time?). But one possibility is that the materials in condos are better in terms of noise insulation.

What do you think?

I said earlier that I came back to Singapore. In fact, several years ago, I stayed in Singapore for 3 years as a student. For 1 year, I was living in a condo unit; For the remaining 2, I was living in an HDB flat. I did not hear anything from my neighbors above. I am quite surprised that I am hearing footsteps from the family above this time, considering that the floors here are made of concrete (unlike those in the US, for instance, where floors are made from wood – those are really bad).

Lastly,

3) If I have to break the lease, would my agent be obligated to return the agent fees to me?

The lease does not say anything about it, neither does the document which I signed with my agent. The receipt they gave me for the agent fee says it is not refundable. But I would like to know more about the the common practice.

Thanks a lot!


I have never heard footsteps in a condo.

The flats have floors stuffed with cardboard.

You can hear your neighbours fart if they leave their doors open in a HDB.

User avatar
sundaymorningstaple
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 35180
Joined: Thu, 11 Nov 2004
Location: Still Fishing!
Contact:

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 16 Dec 2012 11:53 pm

Damn, I'll be glad when the kids get back in school and the children get off Dad's computer. salbaisabai, are you going to actually post anything with some thought behind it, or do you just get your jollies seeing your nick in print?

By your posts, I'd say you are just a complete waste of Oxygen.

User avatar
JR8
Immortal
Immortal
Posts: 16514
Joined: Wed, 24 Mar 2010
Location: K. Puki Manis

Postby JR8 » Mon, 17 Dec 2012 1:33 am

X9 [Black font]:
I think it was SMS who mentioned here a number of times how hopeless is to solve any kind of noise related issues in HDB. Even for much more drastic cases nobody is going to do anything and that includes the police.

JR8 [Blue font]:
Hmmm I wonder why. Noisy neighbours can be like Chinese Water Torture, it can really get right into your soul! The last place we rented, a condo in SG, had a clause limiting noise audible by neighbours between the hours of c11pm-8am. I’m not sure how that’s unenforceable. Security did act when I reported a problem.

For one point you responded above - IMO it is natural and commonly accepted that during daytime the noise level is higher.
Higher, agreed. But not high enough to be causing a nuisance.

You have no obligation to keep quiet to the level of satisfaction of your neighbors.

I don’t think I said that did I? I said you have a right to peaceable occupation. That doesn’t mean silent, rather it means not unreasonably noisy.


It has to be to the level acceptable by more or less defined average. It is always about the average not the individuals.

In the UK the Noise Enforcement Team will visit, and stand in your property with a noise-meter. If the noise registers above xDB they will visit the neighbours there and then to discuss the matter, and give them a warning.

If you work at night I am afraid you should not expect the whole neighborhood to stand still just because you are sleeping during the daytime.

You are taking it to an extreme that I have not suggested. During the day permitted noise levels are higher, but there are still enforceable thresholds.

People will still flush toilets, vacuum clean and do other standard noisy things. Of course if someone generates excessive noise over longer period of time it is a different story but a kid playing typical way (not hammering the floor for 1h) and dropping something on the floor once for a while is IMO not an antisocial behaviour.

I can’t say that I’ve been disturbed by a neighbour flushing a toilet or vacuuming. It all comes down to circumstances. Bouncing marbles on the floor above our bedroom at c7.30am – I wouldn’t call that reasonable, once or twice maybe, but not every day for weeks. It could play at the other end of the apartment, or wait until later to start. Would it really be the end of the world if it used a tennis ball rather than a glass marble/ball-bearing? It all comes down to give and take, but unfortunately we’re the only party on the receiving end.

Have a look here how it works in London...
http://www.westminster.gov.uk/services/ ... n/toptips/
The tabs on parties and music + tv will give you a flavour for how the right to quiet enjoyment works in the UK.

User avatar
x9200
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9320
Joined: Mon, 07 Sep 2009
Location: Singapore

Postby x9200 » Mon, 17 Dec 2012 9:16 am

JR8 wrote:X9 [Black font]:
I think it was SMS who mentioned here a number of times how hopeless is to solve any kind of noise related issues in HDB. Even for much more drastic cases nobody is going to do anything and that includes the police.

JR8 [Blue font]:
Hmmm I wonder why. Noisy neighbours can be like Chinese Water Torture, it can really get right into your soul! The last place we rented, a condo in SG, had a clause limiting noise audible by neighbours between the hours of c11pm-8am. I’m not sure how that’s unenforceable. Security did act when I reported a problem.

I think with the condos it is easier to enforce something mainly for the reason you mentioned: the security and also in terms of response time. You call the security, they arrive in 5 min, they listen, go upstairs and later report to the management. I don't think HDB can come even close to it. A different question is what if this is a really difficult owner. EU has a law allowing to deal with such owners and in the worst case scenario the court can decide to sell the apartment on public auction and evict the owner. I doubt anything like this is here.

For one point you responded above - IMO it is natural and commonly accepted that during daytime the noise level is higher.
Higher, agreed. But not high enough to be causing a nuisance.

You have no obligation to keep quiet to the level of satisfaction of your neighbors.

I don’t think I said that did I? I said you have a right to peaceable occupation. That doesn’t mean silent, rather it means not unreasonably noisy.

No you did not, but WD40 also did not say his kids had right to play making any level of noise so you must have some assumption this or that way. Me in turn waned to point out that actually we don't know hat kind of noise level we are talking about as per the OP problem and I think it is false to assume it is always an excessive noise what can be the annoyance to the neighbours.
Talking about Chinese Water Torture. I was living for a few years in Holland renting a flat in a public housing and having, I think, a gay couple right above my flat and it was not only that I could have heard a single step when somebody walked upstairs but their sex life in the middle of the night was also pretty loud. This was the only flat I ever lived where I actually felt the floor vibrating when I was walking so something to do with the construction too. I managed to get their sex life under control using a broom stick but the resonating floor was just something typical of this building so I ended up using ear plugs.


It has to be to the level acceptable by more or less defined average. It is always about the average not the individuals.

In the UK the Noise Enforcement Team will visit, and stand in your property with a noise-meter. If the noise registers above xDB they will visit the neighbours there and then to discuss the matter, and give them a warning.

So how would they handle the case you described below (the marble ball bouncing)?

If you work at night I am afraid you should not expect the whole neighborhood to stand still just because you are sleeping during the daytime.

You are taking it to an extreme that I have not suggested. During the day permitted noise levels are higher, but there are still enforceable thresholds.

Yes, but again, this seems to be your assumption that we are talking about an extensive levels of noise while this is not necessarily the case.

People will still flush toilets, vacuum clean and do other standard noisy things. Of course if someone generates excessive noise over longer period of time it is a different story but a kid playing typical way (not hammering the floor for 1h) and dropping something on the floor once for a while is IMO not an antisocial behaviour.

I can’t say that I’ve been disturbed by a neighbour flushing a toilet or vacuuming. It all comes down to circumstances. Bouncing marbles on the floor above our bedroom at c7.30am – I wouldn’t call that reasonable, once or twice maybe, but not every day for weeks. It could play at the other end of the apartment, or wait until later to start. Would it really be the end of the world if it used a tennis ball rather than a glass marble/ball-bearing? It all comes down to give and take, but unfortunately we’re the only party on the receiving end.

Of course not. I would definitely consider it as an excessive noise, but I would not what I mentioned earlier, if something drops on the floor once for a while or some furniture gets moved with the same frequency etc.

Have a look here how it works in London...
http://www.westminster.gov.uk/services/ ... n/toptips/
The tabs on parties and music + tv will give you a flavour for how the right to quiet enjoyment works in the UK.

User avatar
nutnut
Manager
Manager
Posts: 1853
Joined: Thu, 24 Nov 2011
Location: The Mainland....

Postby nutnut » Mon, 17 Dec 2012 10:48 am

I am a heavy walker (I'm pretty big!) and I have noisy children, I encourage my children to be lively, It's their perogative at a young age to be lively and noisy!

During the day, I am of the opinion that anyone living above or below me can put up with the additional noise, likewise, I put up with the noise of the guy above me scoming in at 11+pm, it really doesn't bother me, I hear it and try and put myself in his shoes, in the evening, my kids go to bed at a proper time, so shouldn't be an issue.

Maybe you need to stop being so over sensitive? I'd understand if it was music or inconsiderate noise, but, really, what do you expect people to do about their walking around? :S

nutnut
nutnut

detach8
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon, 07 Mar 2011

Postby detach8 » Mon, 17 Dec 2012 3:26 pm

Guys, I've had the same problem for the past 3 years.

Talking, calling HDB, MP, police, etc. all did not help at all.


I've created a movement, so please extend your support to this facebook page

http://www.facebook.com/SingaporeNoisyNeighbours

It would be much appreciated.

I think that's the only way forward - getting a large enough crowd to make noise so the government will acknowledge the problem.

User avatar
ScoobyDoes
Manager
Manager
Posts: 1665
Joined: Wed, 29 Nov 2006
Location: A More Lucky Spot

Postby ScoobyDoes » Mon, 17 Dec 2012 4:04 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:You really haven't investigated how condos are built here then, obviously. Their construction isn't much different than HDB's. The big difference is most condo come with Aircon preinstalled and a fair number have wall to wall carpeting or wooden floors which when laid over a substrate the way they are designed to be here that will usually reduce the knockon effect of hard objects being dragged around. (usually the floors are of a wooden parquet type of affair rather than a strip wooden floor like in the west so are fastened to some sort of substrate rather than directly to the concrete floor - like tiles and marble/granite are).



After a few of condos now in the 5-15yr range, I have yet to find one where the parquet isn't just cemented to the floor. Maybe in the good-ol-days when quality and space was respected and no shortcuts there would be some sort of deadening layer but I haven't found it yet.

You're right that there is not a huge difference between mass market condos and HDB in terms of build quality. What makes them different is parking, facilities, security and let's say the fitting of a bathroom and kitchen.

Old HDB had all the electrical wiring and plumbing exposed but this is gone now too.

We decided now to move to the top floor of an older condo so we're pleased now we don't hear the footsteps from above. Unfortunately we've got bloody birds nesting in the rafters along with some crickets. The birds in the morning are all at it from the moment there is even a thought of dawn...... so in short you're screwed in any case, alcohol and sleeping pills are your best friends :P
'When Lewis Hamilton wins a race he has to thank Vodafone whereas in my day I used to chase the crumpet. I know which era I'd rather race in.'

SIR Stirling Moss OBE


  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to “Staying, Living in Singapore”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests